I was originally going to title this post Popular and talk about how I’d never been popular, about how I’d never belonged. And then, B and I were having an argument. About what, you might ask. We still are too. We were having an argument but we were on the same side of the argument. I’m blaming it on hormones. I’ve been so hormonal this week that I think I may be going crazy. Anyway, thanks to that argument, I’ve come to realize something about myself. It’s not something that I really like about me, but I have to face it in order to move past it.
I mentioned on Monday that I was thinking of quitting the Spring Fever Challenge. I was justifying it to myself by the fact that I wasn’t getting that much traffic or any comments, in spite of being one of the earlier ones to link up most weeks. Also in spite of me visiting other blogs and commenting. To those who found me through it and are commenting, I do appreciate you coming by and commenting, a lot. I placed my disgruntled feelings on not being popular, but I’m starting to realize that popularity isn’t the problem.
The problem is that I never feel like I belong. Ever. As early as I can remember, my (not really) friends were kicking me to the curb for things that had nothing to do with them. From an unethical social worker who told her daughter she couldn’t spend time with me that resulted in my being slapped (at the tender age of 7 or 8 and by the girl I considered at the time to be a best friend) to when I was 16 and broke up with my boyfriend and I lost all of my friends. Why? Because he belonged and what few friends were mine to begin with had become his and they didn’t want to lose out on that circle.
This was compounded by never feeling like I belonged in my family. Not my immediate family. My Mom and I are best of friends, my Dad is wrapped around my pinky finger, and my siblings and I get along the way siblings do – we may fight, but we’ll always be there for each other. But my extended family? I’m not good at keeping my mouth shut and blending in. I’m too liberal for my Dad’s more conservative family and too conservative for my Mom’s more liberal relatives. And I refuse to change my opinions just because someone else tells me that I should.
It goes deeper than that. And the issues are more complex. In simple terms, I was shown at a young age that my family did not matter to certain extended relatives, at all. We were cruelly left out – from family dinners, from gifts at Christmas. My grandparents didn’t show up for my highschool graduation because they “forgot.” But that’s okay, they’ve never even remotely acknowledged my marriage either. No phone call. No card. No, “Congratulations Sweetheart.”
Because of this disruption of my social circles at critical times in my youth and a continual message of not belonging from my extended family, I’ve taken certain refuge and comfort in not belonging. It means that sometimes I wait for the opportunity to not belong. I’m not comfortable with belonging. Or being wanted. Because in my heart, I don’t deserve to be wanted. I don’t deserve to belong. If I did, then why would all these people cast me off? Why would they all think I’m not worthy of belonging.
As a result, I’m constantly on the outside of groups. I spent two years in Houston trying so hard to fit in. And I was constantly rebuffed. Again, I’d be the only person in our 30+ member group to not get invited to a party. I was the only person who’s number was consistently “lost” when something fun was happening. I spent 4 years in Waco trying to fit in. (Don’t ask me why, I know now that they were crazy.) And I fit in just fine there, as long as there was studying to be done. I had teachers asking me to run the study sessions because I was blowing their grading curves. But the minute something fun was happening? No one returned my calls (not quite true, but that is why Sunny and Shiny are such special people to me).
I’ve always felt semi-invisible. Out of sight, out of mind? That’s me. I’m the one everyone wants around when shit is going down. I’m level-headed, I tend to take charge and make sure everything happens. If there’s work to be done, a problem to be solved, or something special to be planned for someone else, than I’m the person called upon. But if I need help? If I just want to hang out? If there was a party/dinner/casual gathering? There was never anyone. I never belonged.
It’s hard to put that behind me. I feel like the lesson has been reinforced so many times that my expectation is to not belong. More than that, I’m afraid to belong. I’m worried that everyone will change their mind eventually. That they’ll realize that I’m me and they won’t want anything to do with me anymore.
But I’m also realizing that this fear is crippling me. That I’m letting my past shape my present and my future. I don’t want to do this anymore. I know that I can’t just wave a wand and magically not feel this way anymore. But I am going to try and face it head on, so that I can fight against it.
Because, as my husband just told me, “This shit stops here.”
I have found my home. I have found my rock in these tempestuous waters.
I can belong. I do belong. Even if only to God, myself, and my husband, that is still a start. But I do know that it’s more than that, I do have friends, to whom I’ll always belong. And I’m so grateful for everyone of you. You have no idea.