…and so it goes…
Three+ months away from the place I’ve always known as “home” has taught me a lot about myself and the ways that I interact with others. Sometimes, more often than not, this is more painful than I would have hoped. And sometimes, it’s like a door is opening up for me to step through into a different way of life. But it has all given me new insights into who I am and where I would like to be.
I haven’t ever known these things. I grew up as the oldest, type-A personality in a large family. I was the one who was going to go far. Well, things fell apart when I got to college. There are many reasons for this but most of it was that I realized there is an entire world out there for me to explore and I didn’t want to limit myself any longer. There used to be a time when I wanted to “grow up” to be a lawyer, a judge…even the President. Then I wanted to just get my degree in English and move on. Then it was the sciences…and English again. Now…I realize that what I need to do…the things that touch my soul and make me proud…are things like working with disadvantaged people, writing about them, working with them, helping them help themselves. My chosen field tends to be working with women in a somewhat controversial subject that I won’t go into here. But now that I’ve realized what it is that moves me, I want to pursue that role.
I’ve learned that it’s damned lonely being so far away from everything I’ve ever known in life…family, friends, my beloved dogs, and just the land and wide open skies of the American West. I miss these things. I miss them because I haven’t learned how to adjust or find a way of substituting for it all here. Great Britain is lovely…it’s spectacular. But it’s so lonely for me.
I’ve learned that shyness is difficult for other people to cope with…that no one ever really understands the depths that it can go to. For me, I am afraid of people. My shyness tends to manifest itself in many different ways and it’s so hard for people to understand. I actually hyperventilate in large crowds. I start to shake and cry and can’t even think of anything to say. It’s even more pronounced when I’m in the company of a group that has one thing in common and I haven’t a clue about that subject. I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know how to start conversations and it’s by luck at all that I even go out of the house to meetings. All of this comes from having been a gregarious person in my past life and having that turned against me when I tried to trust those people with the fact that I was being beaten. When they ran to my “partner”, laughing at me and calling me hysterical, I forgot how to trust and how to feel safe around others. I’ve forgotten how to be a friend.
I’ve learned that when someone says “I love you” it’s not necessarily the same way that you mean it. Everyone loves in different ways and you can’t go around expecting to be loved the way you need to be loved or the way you love because it just may not be out there.
I’ve learned that because I felt like I lost control of my life many years ago, I now seek out and hold on to little things that give me a sense of control. I need things to go my way with certain things in my life because it’s the only way that I can hold on to my sanity. Stupid things…things like having the dishes done when I want them done or having the house quiet when I need it quiet. Just little things. I’ve let go of many of them but some still haunt me.
Mostly, though, I’ve learned when to say it’s time to move on. I’ve learned that when I start to feel small or insignificant, it’s time for me to move on to a place that gives me more of what I need in my life. When I feel disconnected or don’t feel like I can give anymore to a place, I know it’s time for me to go.
It is that time now.
You have all been wonderful for me. I have enjoyed every second that I have spent with all of you. I just don’t feel like I’m a part of what is going on anymore. In many ways, I never did feel like a part of it all. This is all because of me and has no reflection on all of you. You are wonderful.