Every room I sit in I have trouble feeling like I belong.
I want to say I have always felt this way, but I don’t know if that would be true.
I spent a lot of my life making sure my rooms were overly crowded so it would be easier for me to ignore that feeling. But when I journeyed into motherhood I became isolated, so I was forced to feel this concept more deeply and examine it to its core. I have a hard time making friends and an even harder time keeping friends and it makes me feel really lonely some days.
Over the years I could feel the walls closing in around me and I could see the floors shrinking beneath my feet. My rooms stopped being crowded and now I struggle to fill them at all. Some days it’s just me sitting on the floor staring into a mirror asking why I can't be better at making friends. Asking why none of the friends I've had wanted to keep being my friend. Asking how I can supplement friends in life with other things.
In junior high there was a group of us that clung together so tightly. There was always someone to lean on and your shoulders were always being leaned on by somebody else, too. By the time we got to high school there were less of us. By the time we went off to college there were even fewer. I have partaken in many bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, dress fittings, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and graduations and when I got to the point in my own life where I was having all of these things happen to me my invite list was almost non-existent. I started to not get invited to things. I started to not feel included.
I spent more time than I would ever admit feeling resentful towards the people who stopped showing up when I needed them to the most. Truthfully I still have days where I find myself feeling that way. It’s a hard thing to shake.
I remember having a conversation with my sister-in-law about this weird phenomenon where new moms self-sabotage. Or at least we accredit it to that. We both felt like when we were pregnant our friends were nowhere to be found. I remember specifically when I was pregnant with Slade venting about this to her and her saying, “Ohhh…so you’re at that point in your pregnancy. Don’t worry. It’s just your mind playing tricks on you.”
Which is true. Don’t get me wrong. I was a basket case. But why does this have to happen? It’s strange that the higher the stakes and the more vulnerable and scary life is, the less human beings naturally want to be there for each other. When you’re young and there's no consequences for your actions you have an army around you. When you get older and just need someone to hold your hand and ask if you're doing ok you end up standing on the hill all alone holding a white flag asking life to just give you a break. I had more friends in my life when I was able to go to the bar and drink every night than I did in the trenches of my postpartum depression.
I worry that I won’t ever find my army. My tribe.
I thought motherhood would be different. I thought it would be a lot of wine nights with girlfriends and we would always have obnoxious cheese trays wherever we went.
I thought it would be Slade having a bunch of little best friends running around with him that had sleepovers at our houses when they were too tired to go home.
I thought I’d have those friends that were Slade’s honorary Aunts and Uncles, who may not have been blood related, but showed up for everything.
I thought I’d have people to double date with.
Someday I pictured us all sitting together at Slade’s wrestling matches cheering him on together and feeling like this big, happy family. I didn’t have much family besides my mom, dad and brothers growing up so those friends that became family were really important to me.
I thought I’d just have people in general. People to do life with.
It doesn’t even happen all at once. There was never some dramatic fight scene where we battled it out and one of us got stabbed in the back with a knife. They were more like a slow burn that eventually smoldered and that's been the hardest part. Just being left in the dark wondering, “Are we still friends?” And then never getting that answer you're looking for whether that lack of confrontation is attributed to pride, schedules, geographical location, or whatever it may be. It’s a strange feeling.
I wish I could say I've learned some type of lesson from feeling this way. I haven’t.
I wish I could say I'm hopeful someday I'll find my people. I’m not.
Maybe that’s the pessimist in me, I don’t really know. I can tell you, though, I truly do hold out hope that I’ll find my people someday.
I guess the takeaway is this:
There’s not always something wrong with you. Your friends aren’t always assholes who just maliciously decide to stop inviting you places, either. There doesn’t always have to be some climax that has come to a resolution with you being pulled in different directions. Sometimes we just keep our rooms full of people who have no intention of decorating it with us. They’re just there to keep their rooms full as well. When life shifts and you start decorating your room to benefit your family you start to filter out the crowd and not everyone stays. That’s ok. It’s lonely and it’s sad, but it's ok. Or at least it will be eventually.
I hope someday I will fill my room again and this time I will fill it with people who want the same things out of friendship that I do. Love. Support. Laughter. A shoulder.