Feelings, Health, Poetry, Relationships

ever feel as if you don’t belong?


November 18, 2022: “Did you post that poem?” Christine asked me over Zoom today.

“No,” I replied. “I’m still thinking about it.”

I wrote ‘on the outside’ in early October and read it to Christine in our last session two weeks ago. But I was reticent about making it public.

Admitting you feel lonely (or like an outsider) often makes matters worse. Instead of reaching out, people pull away. It’s as if loneliness were contagious and they think they might catch it from you. Or that there’s something wrong with you and you need to be fixed. I don’t need to be fixed.

Some people pity you. Others give you advice. Some do both, when actually you don’t want or need either. Going public is a risky business. If you say you are lonely, you may end up feeling even lonelier than you were to begin with! It makes you more vulnerable than you already are. It takes a lot of courage.

“I didn’t think you had posted it,” Christine said. “I looked on your blog and I couldn’t see it.”


“Yeah. Three separate clients this week used the same words you did: ‘I feel like I’m on the outside looking in.’ I was going to show them the poem, but there it wasn’t.”

She laughed. I did too. We share a lot of laughter during our bi-weekly sessions. The teary bits are my purview.

“These clients are living completely different circumstances and are in different stages of life. But they used the exact words you did.”

Of course she didn’t go into detail; she’s a professional. Confidentiality is a given.

That said, I had told Christine she could freely share links to any of my posts that she thought might be useful to other clients and that I didn’t mind being identified. There’s no shame in needing help and even less in reaching out to get it. I see that as a strength.

Christine would never tell me what to do. That’s not a therapist’s job. But she knows I’m incorrigibly helpful (working on it LOL!) and if I thought my piece of writing might make others feel less alone it would be difficult for me not to put it out there.

So here it is:

on the outside

Listen here:

Read here:

on the outside

i will never be a part of you
there’s no place i belong
it doesn’t matter what i do
it’s always somehow wrong

i talk too much or not enough
my humour’s not amusing
everything I say or do
is open season for accusing

“why can’t you be like this or that
and follow social norms?
the applecart gets so upset
each time you don’t conform!”

i wish i could, i try my best
but parts seem to be missing
leaving me a target easy
for boos and taunts and hissing

i’m always on the outside
forever looking in
wishing i could be with you
that we were loving kin

like the little match girl
who froze out in the cold
i dream of one day being wrapped
in the warmth of someone’s hold

i’m so alone, i want to fit,
but i just can’t seem to be
anyone but the self you see:
a broken, faulty me

somedays i wish to change
the way i am inside
to mend myself, to be okay
in yours and others’ eyes

but brokenness is part of me
it might be part of you
if it is, then we should all
give those parts their due

don’t judge me because i’m lonely
i’m not some hateful thing
all i want like anyone
is on some star to swing

but i’m always on the outside
forever looking in
wishing i could be with you
that we were next of kin


If this piece resonates with you, take heart. You’re in good company.

Realize too, that loneliness is not — or at least it doesn’t have to be — a permanent and/or all-consuming state. I also feel grateful, joyful, happy, connected and positive much of the time. Sometimes it’s a matter of reframing what was and what is into what you wish it to be.


© 2022 Susan Macaulay . I invite you to share my poetry and posts widely, but please do not reprint, reblog or copy and paste them in their entirety without my permission. Thank you.

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deep loneliness runs through me like a river

See me?

see the me that’s me