Hi there, everyone! It’s time to get back on track with the true goal of Soulful Saturday, and a friend gave me a great idea for a topic: loneliness and belonging. This is a broad topic, but I’ll narrow it down the best I can. This may or may not get a bit long, so my apologies if it goes too much in either direction. Now, let’s begin, shall we?
From the time I was very small, I knew the feeling of loneliness. My father often worked insane hours, and my mother was neglectful and would barely do anything with me at all. Sure, she’d let me watch TV with her- but that meant I had to constantly be watching sports to be with her. She’d play a game with me here or there, but it was always only one game she happened to like. Basically, spending time with my mother often meant giving in to her whims and demands. But that was okay, to me- I thought it was normal. I thought that was just how you avoided being alone.
I moved a fair bit in my childhood. I went to three grade schools, two middle schools and three high schools. Not all of these schools were because of moving, mind you- but many were. And either way, with each new school came a whole new battle to find my place. I was certainly not a sporty type, so I couldn’t really push myself into the athletic circles that exist in most schools. I wasn’t particularly bright either- I wasn’t bad in school mostly, but I wasn’t a genius either. What was my role in those places?
I’d like to share with you a story from my youth before continuing on about my journey. You see, in fourth grade, I had thought I made many friends in both my class and around school. I normally only had male friends in my early years, to be honest- I may not have been into the aggression they sometimes shared amongst each other, but it was mostly guys who liked video games like I did- or at least, the ones that’d admit to it. Anyway… A girl in my class, who was friendly with my neighbor and best buddy at the time, decided to be my friend. She took me into her friend group, and I thought I’d finally found a home away from home in this circle of kind and open people.
Then, when I found out I was moving, she broke a bombshell on me: she never saw me as a friend. She just felt bad for me, being mostly alone and all. To her, I was a charity project. And though my family told me she may just have been processing my leaving badly… I could tell somehow that it wasn’t the case.
I have severe social anxiety, and anxiety in general. It was so bad that I once threw up seeing a group of five people at a birthday party. When you grow up in a house where you have to fend for yourself and feed yourself, you get used to being alone. Sure, I had my dad after mom left. And, after he stopped working due to disability, I had plenty of affection given to me even if at first I couldn’t quite accept it (but that’s a story for another time!). He helped me feel less alone in the world, especially after the many times I’ve been heart broken like in fourth grade.
My ability to feel I belong tends to be garbage, something I assume is part of why my diagnosis of Borderline Personality makes so much sense. I’ve been toyed with enough that I can barely trust people. I can be surrounded by friends, yet feel like I’m a stranger to them all. I tend to try to push them away the closer they get- it’s almost like I want to be alone… But I really don’t.
It’s taken a long time for me to find a place where I feel I’m in the right place. I often see myself as a puzzle- a puzzle missing a ton of pieces. I don’t really know how it clicked in my head that places like Books and Quills’ Writers’ Haven were a place I could feel at home. My boyfriend’s family always makes me feel like I’m a part of their home when I visit, and I’ve grown to accept that feeling.
I’m still far from perfect. I have my days where I just don’t feel like I fit in even in places I normally do. A single conversation that I can’t contribute to can cause me to feel alone in the world for a moment- but, with time and a lot of self talk, I manage to get past that pain, even if it takes a while. Because I know these people care about me- they’re practically my family. I may not have succeeded in seeing myself not as the black sheep yet, but… I keep trying. And that’s all I can do- try my best to be an active part of the community, and pray my authenticity doesn’t drive more people away from me. Yes, I try my best to be myself with everyone, even those I fear losing.
I think that’s enough for today, my friends. I’ll be honest, this was a hard post to write, and it’s probably only slightly cracking the surface. Perhaps, another day, I can continue to share the times I’ve felt out of place along with the places I feel at home… And maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn some tips that can help some of you find that place too, if you need it.
As one last note though, as I think of it… Perhaps this is why I spread myself thin so often. By trying to do all sorts of things, I meet all sorts of people. Heck, I’m even trying to get into youtubing. Tell me that’s not a cry for attention knowing all this about me. I only realized it now… But I still plan to cry for it, even if it’s just superficial… Because I already started. I’d like to finish at least one thing I’ve started, you know?
Now, for my usual ending… Have you ever felt like you were alone in the world? Have you found your place to belong? In either case, please share your stories and tips with me and everyone else! It’s important to help each other!