Professing * Reflecting

Monday, August 07, 2006

So here's the thing . . .

I think I have figured out what the persistent anxiety is all about but I do not know how to blog about it. I feel a little embarrassed, because I think it's very old childhood and family stuff that I feel I should be able to shake. I need to get it out, though, so here goes.

Since I returned from my family visit to the Deep Red, I have been feeling a profound sense of not belonging. This all started in the Deep Red with the onslaught of questions, which are explicit or implicit in every single conversation:

Why do you live there?
Why don't you live here?
Why don't you "settle down"?
Why don't you get married?
Why don't you have kids?
Why don't you come "home"?

Yes, this is as maddening as it sounds. And most unsettling is that on a basic emotional level it reads to me simply as, "You don't belong here with us and we're calling you on it." To complicate things, when I return here--to my home of many more years than any "home" during my vagabond childhood--I feel guilty for being here. My father pressures me constantly to come "home." He is constantly worried about me being "alone." When I point out that I have good friends here, he immediately turns this against me to say that I "do not realize the importance of family." So for the past few weeks I have been wondering why I feel like such an outsider, no matter who I am with at the time. It happened on my birthday when I was surrounded by some of the best friends I have known in my life. It happened at the beach with Paloma and My Two Dads. It made more sense that I would feel less at ease with More Fun. Even though we were introduced by a longtime mutual friend and had instant rapport, we have not known each other for very long. Plus I was meeting a lot of new people from the rock-and-roll circus. Still though, I was much more self-conscious than I normally would be. That's the thing. I am feeling intensely and constantly self-conscious, like everyone thinks I am freak for whatever reason--for not being in a relationship, for not having a baby, for fill in the fucking blank.

But it makes sense, doesn't it? Given the pressure from my family? The guilt? Then there's the childhood piece. We moved around so much that I was always shifting in and out of peer groups. I was good at making friends and had close friends, but then we would move. Because we lived in mostly small towns, my friends were from long-standing, tight-knit circles of friends they had known all of their lives. They were warm and wonderful, though. I have no nightmare stories of being shunned by cliques, which is pretty extraordinary. But I guess I was a bit of a floater, and I guess I always felt like a little like an outsider. It occurred to me that I felt like an outsider yesterday at lunch, even though the people I was with were not any closer to one another than I was to them and had not known each other longer than I had known them. But I felt like I should be in a long-term relationship like Longtime Ex is. I felt like I should have a baby like Downeast BFF does. And I felt like they were somehow judging me, even though I know that they were not.

It really feels like old old stuff is coming to the surface. I feel embarrassed, because I feel like I am thinking and sounding like an adolescent girl in expressing all of this. My ex-shrink taught me how to deal with the family stuff (past and present) but I think it might be time for a refresher course. I think maybe all of this is coming up now because I have taken away all of my screens--the cigarettes, the medication, and at least when I was writing for all of July, the alcohol. I am not saying it's a bad thing, recognizing the problems and dealing with them head-on. But I do feel frightened, like somehow I am not the same or that nothing will ever be the same.

OK, thanks for indulging me in such maudlin thoughts. I am going to run now to clear my head. By the way, I am happy to report that I ran my normal route of 2.66 miles yesterday, which I know because of the awesome Gmaps Pedometer (thanks, PowerProf).



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