Sunday, October 9, 2011

From the outside, looking in

As long as I can remember, I have always been an outsider.  Not just felt like it.  Actually BEEN that one on the outside, looking in, wishing to be part of whatever is going on. 

I grew up in a church community (if you've read much of my story you'll know) where our whole family were outsiders.  Of the 400+ people in the congregation, my parents and *1* other person had college degrees.  I  grew up knowing that we were destined to not stay there, but to go on to college, and do other things with our lives besides farming and service jobs. 

I grew up on one of the first recognized organic endeavors in the Southeast.  NO ONE else considered not dumping Sevin-dust all over the vegetables growing in the garden.  NO ONE else considered grass-raised beef and chickens to be a good thing.  NO ONE considered hand milking a cow, and drinking non-pasturized, whole milk.  I am grateful (EVER SO) that I grew up with that heritage...but it also made us even more different...and subject to even more cruelty from children...and their parents who should have known better.

We were DIFFERENT.  Very. VERY. PAINFULLY. Different. 

Then I grew up.  Left for college.  I had gone to a church-based school from 1st grade through 12th grade.  My graduating class was 7 - of which 4 were graduating a year they could get married, and got on with "real life".  Sigh.  Of our graduating class, 4 of us have college degrees.  One has his doctorate.  One is working on a Master's degree. 

I digress. 

College came, and I was DIFFERENT.  My brother and I were freshmen together.  People thought we were twins (No.).  People didn't understand the clothes I wore (Dresses and head covering).  I was dealing with the opposite of most of the kids there...this WAS a Bible college, after all, and there were dress standards, and rules for everything, including a curfew.  Many of my classmates were dealing with extreme cases of culture shock.  I was too, but opposite of theirs.  Compared to what I grew up with, this was lenient.  This was FUN!  But I still felt like I was standing on the outside, looking in. 

I'm married now...almost 19 years!  Some days I still feel like an impostor. 

I'm an adult. 

We own 2 cars.

We own a house.

We have 6 children. 

My husband is in the Navy, and I have an ID card to prove it. 

I'm a student yet again...graduate level now. This time, I don't fit because I'm not a 20-something, fresh out of college, looking for a mate, a job, and finding my way through life.  Now, I'm a 40-something, surrounded by LOTS of little lives who are dependent on me, who look to me for guidance. 

Some days, a LOT of days, I still feel like I am an outsider.  I almost wonder how long it will take before people discover that I *don't* really know what I am doing, and they take away my "mom-card", or my adult-card. 

I have never felt totally accepted by anyone. 
I have rarely felt loved. 

I don't know what it will take for me to feel accepted, to feel like an insider, to feel loved.  I KNOW my husband loves me.  I KNOW my kids love me.  Aside from that, what happens?  I think *I* am afraid to love, afraid to be vulnerable, afraid to act like I know anything for fear of being proven (in front of the whole world!) wrong. 

In my head, I know the Scriptures.  I know God talks about how incredibly much He loves us to have sacrificed His Son for us(John 3:16,17).  I even saw The Passion of the Christ, and wept along as Jesus was whipped and beaten and killed for me.  I cannot imagine watching my son go through such torture for anyone, much less for people who despised Him. 

Despite all of that, I feel unloved.  I feel like I don't belong.  I feel like the permanent outsider, always destined to be made fun of, to be on the outside fringe of acceptability, to be misunderstood.  I still live with the taunts from childhood playing like endless tapes inside my head.  I live with the names I was called, and the pain of not being unconditionally accepted by those who should have loved me without limit.  My pain mirrors what must have been their pain of living with much of the same. 

Because of the pain, I struggle.  I struggle with being the mom God wants me to be, that my children need me to be.  I struggle feeling like I have no friends.  I KNOW that I do...people to care for me, and pray for me, and check on me, and come for coffee, and give me great big tremendous hugs at church on Sunday morning.  I *STILL* do not feel loved.  I wonder if I've done enough.  If I've proven myself good enough to be their friend.  If they'll drop me...take away my "friend-card." 

There's more...always more. 
I don't like struggling. 
I don't like the depression that comes because I know I'll never be good enough. 
I'm tired. 
I'm lonely.
I'm ready to be past this. 

Then I try to talk to people.  I try to get the pain off my chest.  And when I start talking, I see people's eyes glaze over...or they run the other way, screaming.  They can't deal with the pain that I bleed all over them.  At least, that's what I imagine.  I've been told too many times not to.  To STOP telling others about my pain.  The message I get is that people only want to hear positive things, so if I can't say only positive things, I need to keep it all to myself. 

Until I explode.  The problem with exploding is that the people I love have to deal with the shrapnel. 

So then I try talking to someone paid to listen to me...counselors, therapists.  And I start feeling better.  I am convinced that I don't need them any more, I can face life on my own again.  I have healthy strategies in place to deal with the old pain.  Or maybe it's not a good fit, and I need to find someone who IS a better fit, but I have no time, no energy, no motivation...and I sit and wallow in my pain.  Either way, the results are the same:  I am in pain, and alone again...proving, yet again, my feelings of being unloved and unlovable. 


I'm rambling.  There is too much in my head, and too much to do, and I really don't have my thoughts all put together yet.  Someday I'll try to come back and finish the thought.
Tonight, I must sleep. 

1 comment:

Tara Anderson said...

You ARE me, at least. :) I wish we could really sit down and have a good chat. I think one problem with moving constantly is that you're always the "new" person. Even after 3+ years here I feel "new" compared to so many others that go WAY back and have years worth of history. But the good news is that this world is NOT our home, and ultimately it's not where we really belong. Following God will take you against the normal flows of society...but the journey will be worth it!