I feel left out. I feel like I have to compromise who and what I am to play their game (join, join, join, no matter what the outcome). I prefer to maintain my autonomy and let my gestures be from me and not from an amorphous political group. But I feel left out.
So I’m looking at WHY I feel left out. I’ve never been a part of that group. Never. I’ve been wooed and solicited by them as individuals, and even by women who are not a part of the group. I suppose I took some sort of proprietary interest in the group through others. But I am no more a part of this group of women than I am a part of my mother’s church.
So there must be a part of me that WANTS to be a part of them. And that stuff goes back to junior high! when I was the weirdo on the outside, the girl with the strange pantyhose, too tall, too homely, too moody and too foreign to fit in with the cheerleaders, the popular girls, the ones who were always at the top of all the lists.
But such is the incubation of the artist, I think. Even then I was ahead of the curve and not afraid to express what I saw coming, in spite of the guffaws and the naysayers. When trends eventually emerged and they remembered that I was wearing those strange hose a year ahead of them all, they looked at me with something that looked like fear. I didn’t like that part of it, but they began to treat me differently. They began to ask my opinion of things, and when I answered they listened.
I suppose it all comes down to trusting my instincts, believing my inner voice, the body of work I’ve done around romances gone wrong, when my instincts were derailed and my voice was silenced. That guidance is just as strong as it ever was. But as an addict, I constantly look for affirmation from other sources: people, food, sex, drugs, etc.
So the incubation continues. As the Big Book says, it’s a lifetime pursuit.
My mother’s mental health is having physical consequences. I imagine she’s taken her victimhood to all who will listen. This includes complaints about her ungrateful children. But I cannot control what her allies think about me. They do not know me. And I have to allow my mother to continue in her stubborn way until she hits bottom. And that may take a very long time.
For you, the picture is slightly different, because you care about what your friend’s allies think. And herein lies your conflict.
It’s hard to take care of yourself when all around you think you’re wrong, selfish, lazy, ungrateful. It’s very, very hard. But you only get one life, and you can decide whether you want to live it for other people or for yourself.
As recovering addicts, we grow sometimes at a rate that far outstrips what those around us can perceive. My mother readily admits that, for her, I’m still 12. It seems to me that what you’re trying to do is to gently remind others that “I was THAT THEN, but I’m THIS NOW,” and you’re right, that may or may not be possible.
I think you must look to the individual friendships you’ve made in that group, and determine those as your anchor points. Now is a good time to test those friendships, and i don’t mean defiantly, but just as a natural course of life. We must test our relationships. It’s how they become stronger. And we really don’t have a choice in the matter, because life is essentially one big testing ground.
You and I struggle with the notion of and the nature of the Group because we are well-defined individuals. And we need to stop using attributes such as outsider, weirdo, oddball when we refer to ourselves. It’s that kind of pejorative thinking that sends us spiraling.
For myself, I think it stems from the obsession of wanting it all. For many, many years my rift with a single individual would cast a pall on the entire network. I could not enjoy the love coming to me from an entire roomful of people if a single person was shooting daggers.
God has healed me of so much of that. I can look at them now and think, they are so not worth my consideration. Sometimes I even forget to have a conscious thought; I just sort of glance at them and move on.
I have learned to cherish the few friendships I have that are meaningful, and I am learning to be content outside of the norm. I think I’ve reached the next step in my realization around my social anxiety, and that is the silent but stern command to conform and comply that seems so prevalent with some of the women in your thread. It’s the message from my childhood church and the matriarchy there. It paralyzed women like my mother who so desperately needed to belong, herself being, in essence, motherless. So she forever tried to make me acceptable in their eyes, as I was a liability to that acceptance, much as X is to Y as a “failed child”. Y’s route is as much victim as X’s and Z’s and my mother’s: rally ’round your allies and invoke their agreement that you are right and she is wrong.