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The Art and Paradox of Non-Belonging • 20 Strange Ways I Don't Belong

Some (choose to) experience entrepreneurship as a fun hobby or side hustle. Others (choose to) experience it as a soul-sucking, divorce-inducing, health-shattering status game.

For me, I experience entrepreneurship as a deeply spiritual quest, filled with agony and triumph, followed by deeper agony and greater triumph, and on and on and on... until one day, the agony is gone, the triumph stays, timelessness takes over, and spontaneous "poof's" of joy occur at random hours of the day.


Entrepreneurship as a spiritual quest has lead me to regularly ask, "How am I even still alive?!?", especially when my journal entries hold wounds such as: "Today, I failed to retire my parents in comfort by my 25th birthday."

1. The Universe made me introverted... in a society that won't/can't be quiet.

2. The Universe made me highly sensitive... in a (toxic) culture that prides itself on constant overwhelm.

3. The Universe made me a girl... in a culture that worships "little emperors" and drowns baby girls.

4. The Universe made me a woman... in a patriarchal and male-dominated world, where:

  • The more successful a man is, the more he’s liked. The more successful a woman is, the less she’s liked.
  • The more successful a man is, the more marriage prospects he has. The more successful a woman is, the less marriage prospects she has.

5. The Universe made me a multi-potentialite... in a society that demands specialization.

6. The Universe gave me an old soul... in a peer group addicted to make-up and diet magazines.

7. The Universe made me gifted... in a world unkind to genius (or incapable of handling it).

8. The Universe made me yellow skinned... in a society cruel to color.


It gets better...

9. The Universe made me too bubbly for the introverts, but not rah-rah-rah enough for the extroverts.

10. The Universe made me too passionately chatty for the HSPs (Highly Sensitive Persons), but not thick skinned enough for the kill-or-be killed business world.

11. The Universe made me too tomboy for the girls, but not girly enough for the boys.

12. The Universe made me too social for the geeks, but not hip enough for the cool kids.

13. The Universe made me too white (on the inside) for the "Hello Kitty" club, but not white enough for the world's elites.

14. The Universe made me too smart for my peers (smart shaming is a thing!), but not prodigy enough for a gifted program (I scored 131, just one point below the entrance requirement).

15. The Universe made me too successful for the "poor starving" artists/healers, but not successful enough for the millionaire club.

The spiritual teachers and leaders of the world say: you are enough, you are loved, you belong. Really, Universe?!? I doesn't look nor feel feel like it.


Google it, there is no "Non-belonging" club for non-conformists, X-men/X-women, rebels and misfits to belong to. And even if there was, the wound of not belonging is already so deep, so wide, and gushing so much blood that no non-belonger would sign up for the club.

So they/we/I end up walking through life feeling "too much" for this group, but "not enough" for that group, belonging nowhere. What insanity!

With soul maturation, I realized that I'd never belong anywhere if I didn't first belong to myself, ie if I didn't first find, join and welcome myself.

So I looked within:

16. The Universe planted sequoias of ambition in my psyche, but gave me a bleeding heart.

17. The Universe pumped adventure into my lungs, but clipped my canary wings.

18. The Universe encoded freedom into my soul, but shackled every limb with gender, filial piety, birth order, personality, cultural, and social chains.

19. The Universe birthed me as the ocean, but shoved me into a tiny human body on Earth School, sans the instruction manual on How to Be Cosmic Ocean in Teeny Tiny Living Space.

20. The Universe programmed me to love all people, but made me unable to withstand being around them (such insane and heavy pain-bodies).

You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.

My teacher Brené Brown's book "Braving the WIlderness" lead me to the above Maya Angelou quote. It helped me understand that the Universe didn't make me anything. The Universe (or God) didn't do anything to me.

It was all my ego's Victim, projecting it's sob story onto the cinema of my eyes, tainting how I see therefore walk through life. It took so much courage, to go into the depths of my psyche, to rip out this Victim, and show it truth.

The truth will set you free. But first it'll piss you off.

With infinite grace,

xo, Ella

(First Published Sep 11, 2018)



Having navigated 131 countries, 87 emotions, 46.5 traumas, and 16 careers, Ellany Lea inspires and guides phoenixes, overachievers, entrepreneurs and wayshowers to live fierce, fulfilled and free.