Am I the only adult who does this? Around me it seems like there's a scramble of people to be relevant in each others' lives, or even more alien and weird, the ease and grace of simply staying important in each others' lives. How this happens I have no idea. I can only answer for myself, and I am very bad at keeping people in my life.
Is it something I hate about myself? In ways. It breaks my heart. I miss people. I cry over lost friends and family. I don't enjoy it, but I feel it's necessary and I very rarely step in to do anything to prevent the pushing away. So is this one of those "things I need to work on 2016" resolutions? No. I guess explaining myself is the best I can do at this time in my life. So, here's why I push people away.
1. I feel that I'm worthless and me going away is for the other person's good. If my strange personality and tendency to disappear is a flower, this axiom is the sunshine--it's the core influence and backing reason behind which all other reasons stand. I am a high maintenance friend. I have abandonment issues. I live in the past--my own. I'm an introvert and don't like hanging out. My bad outweighs my good where my interpersonal relationships are concerned, and this feeling pervades even the lasting friendships I have. In other words, even if I haven't driven you out of my life yet, I still truly believe that it would be better for you if I did. This core belief really cements things when I am having trouble deciding whether or not to continue a friendship.
2. I have to work so hard to fit in (and I fail at doing so.) Visiting a friend's childhood home or siblings brings me so much inner turmoil. Listening to friends talk about their family is ridiculously hard for me. Even things like containing my emotions and relating to others is a constant struggle. I guess this is selfish of me, but it's the truth. I can't relate to people's hobbies they had as kids, or their parents' discipline styles, or their camp stories or church stories or girl's nights out. When I spend time getting to know people all that sticks out (usually to both of us) is how drastically different I am, and the comparisons pile up. "What high school did you go to?" "Uh, I went to four..." The only people I genuinely relate to are other foster alumni, and when we get together the miserable stories we tell, though sometimes cathartic, further separate me from the normalcy I fight so hard to mimic.
3. I get tired of the shocked looks. This is probably another selfish one, but I can only hear "wow, oh my god that's so crazy" "oh I'm so sorry, that's horrible" or "YOUR DAD HID PLUTONIUM IN A SWAMP?" so many times before I just get exhausted. It is simple human curiosity, and getting to know people requires knowing some less-than-glamorous aspects of their past, but where others might normally see a few monkeys in vests, with me they get the full sideshow complete with bearded lady and terrifying clowns and broken Ferris wheel. I am just one mesmerizing science experiment and nobody knows how or why my parents did this or that. Why my foster parents did this or that. It doesn't help that I'm a stereotype from the south--my cousin and uncle both molested me. "Well why didn't you tell your parents?" "Because I told my mom and she warned me not to tell anybody and said my dad would kill them" (fair point, he would have) I can't tell you how sick and tired I get of telling even one or two of these stories to every person who wants to "get to know me better." And yet what am I supposed to do, lie?
4. I am an introvert and never keep up appearances. I recently shared a quote: "life could be wonderful if people would leave you alone." -Charlie Chaplin I'm not sure if I'm an introvert because I'm so damaged, or if I just always was that way, maybe it's a mixture of both, but even on my best and most social days I can only handle a good hour of communicating in person before I feel exhausted and just over it...and this is with people I care about more than anything in the world. I'm happier on my own, I can deal with my life and its problems better on my own, I seek out joy on my own, and my friends justly feel left out or snubbed because I ...well, leave them out and snub them. Who wants to be friends with the village hermit? Who wants to be friends with someone they might see once every six months, or if you're in Tennessee, once every year or two years or five years? Again, I have no right to have people in my life when I'm this way.
5. People let you down. The epitome of this post's whining, but there you go. I know that the blogging world is full of positive polly's but that ain't me. People will let you down. They'll break your heart, they will misunderstand you and they will abuse or use you, or turn their back on you, or just plain forget about you. I've seen the worst of humanity from the get-go of my life (sup Dad) and I know just how fragile these "unbreakable bonds" are. How many marriages end in disappointment, divorce? What about parents and kids who can't stand each other? If those powerful and biological bonds, meant to withstand the test of time, fail every moment of every day, what hope should I have for people who aren't related to me, don't know or understand my past, don't grasp what abandonment does to me--a seemingly cocky and independent powerful woman--what hope do I have that people won't let me down? I think my standards are very skewed because I overcompensate for my lost family with my "made" family, and holding them to those standards has disappointed me for most of my adult life. So I just don't do it anymore, and what happens when you don't hold people to any standard, is that you push them away or disappear from their life. Either gradually or suddenly. I'm not blaming those people who have let me down and honestly, I don't hold grudges. See number one--I don't feel that I'm worth it anyway.
And I guess that about sums it all up.
All photos were taken at the old Saltair site on the Great Salt Lake.