What a difference a year makes! Nearly a year ago, I had a goal of getting out of the house and finding grown ups to socialize with to free me from my self-made housefrau hell.
Not only do I have regular ongoing activities full of grown-ups (by age only – we don’t always behave grown up), but I have a few ladies I would actually consider to be friends now. I just shake my head at how this happened, it was such an unbelievably hard thing to do, to put myself out there into a social world I know nothing about.
I have always felt like an outsider, in any group ever. As a child, I did not know why. As I got older and realized my family was different and had so many secrets to hide the abuse and trauma and drama. Then when the truth came out, all my high school friends abandoned me. Then in college, I carefully tried to make a few friends, but it seemed to never work out. But I was too busy to care much. And just kept myself busy to avoid caring. Then in my first job, my coworkers were not idealistic dreamers like me, they were mean. I could not stomach their cruelty and withdrew from them. And then so many years of depression kept me utterly alone. Just me and my babies, I did not feel like anyone loved me, my husband was so distant, and my babies so needy. It was draining.
So finally expressed all of these things to my therapist, years ago, and I took baby steps to get involved with the world. I joined groups. I volunteered in the community. I used my talents to help people. I found out people liked what I had to offer, and some people liked me even when I offered them nothing else but a smile. Those positive steps felt good, no great! And I wanted more. I joined another group as a musician, and now perform regularly with them. We started hanging out after performances, and I found out that grown ups are allowed to go out and drink and dance and laugh. I thought I was too old, and that “Good Moms” could not do that kind of stuff and still be a good mom. I came home high (on life, not drugs, though perhaps a bit tipsy on occasion) and kept adding more and more to my schedule until I now have something for me or the kids or both every night, every weekend. Always something to practice, something to look forward to. I love it.
And one of these friends gave the strength I needed to examine my marriage, months ago now. One particularly lovely lady saw my anguish, and told me I was loved. She told me I was one of the girls. I cried and cried and cried. That just felt so great. So I knew I at least had someone, and could take the risk of being honest with Hubby, and possibly losing him completely. Well, the honesty was exactly what our marriage needed, and jumpstarted our dying marriage. We are closer than we ever were, and I understand what marriage is for now. I’m starting to understand true love.
So it was with fear and excitement that I invited my new friends to a birthday gathering – for me. There were a few moments when I doubted anyone would show up – for me. But then they came in, one after the other, offering me hugs, squeals of happiness, birthday well wishes, and birthday gifts – for me. Then we proceeded to drink and dance until we could not dance any more, and our sides hurt from so much laughter. I did it. I have been accepted – and loved. I’m no longer invisible, no longer the black sheep. Now these friends do not know about my ugly past, but I no longer feel they need to know and accept my past to know and accept the real me. I don’t feel like I’m hiding, it just has never come up. I am not defined by my past, I am who I am, and apparently that is enough to be loved.And now I have to go cry out this joy, and thank God for my second chance in my life. Every little thing gonna be alright.
- We Kick Off Invisible Illness Awareness Week Monday, Sept 10 (chronicillnesspaindevotionals.wordpress.com)
- Invisible Me… (thedepressedmoose.com)