I was doing my Skills reading for today in light of getting one of the many things I have to do in the next 2-3 weeks out of the way. As I was reading that chapter, I was like, "Except for the tough luck I experienced so far in terms of leadership positions in OT, it's the first time in my life that I am in an 'in' group!" Simply put, I naturally have a lot of empathy with people in the out groups because I still at times think like them.
Here are some evidences and/or experiences of me being in "out" groups.
1. I am the only Chinese at my church! For a person who has been part of an "in" group at church for all my life prior to the relocation, it was a tough transition to accept! But, because I had the drive to be involved at the church, people from the "in" group began to realize how valuable I am to the church. So, I now have no regrets!
2. When I first met my young adult leader peers at a young adult retreat a little over 5 years ago. Like #1, I was the only Chinese (and perhaps the only Asian also). I was intimidated when I first met them. But, some of them invited me to join them, which made me very happy. Sure, the group experienced some 'turnover' over the years (some people left, but new people came in). But now I couldn't wait for these opportunities to meet them.
3. In the ministry that I am doing at the denomination level, my racial status and the church that I am attending will make me feel like I am in the "in" group in a sense, but "out" group in another sense. For Chinese ministry, the fact that I am a first generational Chinese says that I am in the "in" group. But, the church I am attending now makes me in the "out" group, especially because I am a first generational Chinese who attends a non-Chinese, non-Asian church even though I live within 15 miles of each of the 4 Chinese churches in my diocese. Otherwise, the reverse happens. I have learned to deal with it because I feel it's more important for me to remain joyful as I go to church every Sunday than care about people trying to make sense of why I did what I did.
4. My days as a Statistics Major in college. Even though I was in a very small department, I couldn't find any friends. I felt so lonely that I actually became emotionally withdrawn from making friends for the most part during my 4 years in undergrad... except for the fact that I got to "hang out" a bit with some people who played Texas Hold'em regularly at school about a day a week. Sadly, the Texas Hold'em stuff was my only attempt of trying to be in the "in" group. Looking back, I think most of these feelings stemmed from the fact that I didn't get into UC Irvine, which made me very dejected because it was the school I dearly wanted to go to undergrad. But then again, I might not be here writing this had that happened. So, it worked out.
All in all, I think that if I were to be a leader some day, I probably would be one that is extremely aware of "out" groups and would like to hear what they say. I guess if there's a blessing for being an introvert for all this time, this is one of them! Next stop- breaking one of these OT leadership doors open. I won't believe that I can't bust one open!