This last couple of days have been particularly hard for me. In addition to being cooped up inside for the second week in a row I’ve been going through some pretty heavy self-reflection.
I had a run in with my estranged father. He came across this blog and I was horrified. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was about it that really bothered me for a while. Once I’d thought about it though, I realised that it was because I don’t want him to see me like this; exposed, vulnerable, open because I don’t feel like he deserves it. Because I think he will hurt me if he knows what’s happening in my life.
We had a very strained relationship when I was growing up for several reasons; the most salient for me was the way he approached my chronic depression. My father doesn’t believe in psychology/psychiatry or indeed in depression and so when asked to participate in family counselling sessions to help me he was sarcastic and dismissive. He was effectively saying “pull yourself together, it’s all in your head and you just need to get over it.” Not super helpful sentiments in terms of my recovery.
After my parents separated a few years ago my contact with my father has been limited to emails for birthdays and Christmas and I was happy with that. Each time we had contact I remembered why I didn’t want to be around him. I came away from those interactions drained, my soul heavy and unable to relate to his outlook on life.
I have been looking at some of my habits, friendship groups and lifestyle choices for the last few years and seeing how destructive they are and in some ways how much they are not authentic to me anymore.
When I was at uni I had several different groups of friends; some of whom mixed and some of whom were not compatible with the others. Over the years I have let most of these slip by the wayside, reducing my social circles to just one. Without realising it that one circle had told me that I was different, that I didn’t deserve to have ‘normal’ friends, and that I had to stick in only that circle because it was the only one that could truly understand me. It was almost like having an abusive lover who wants you only to hang out with them.
Now I don’t want to imply that any single individual within that group was saying this, because they have always been open and welcoming. Merely that this is how I chose to interpret my membership to the group and my own identity within it. I no longer feel like that group is where I want to be, and that makes me sad in some ways but also relieved.
I have started the long and slow process of developing new groups of friends and new social circles. I am impatient though because building up friendships takes a lifetime and I don’t want to wait that long.
I’m also a little lazy and a little afraid. I don’t want to have to put myself out there, to be vulnerable to rejection by groups/people because I’m new. It’s emotionally draining to try to make in-roads into groups, most people my age have got pretty solid, well defined and long standing friendships. But it’s either that or become a lonely hermit, which is not really what I want. So I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and get out there and hope that people are welcoming and open to someone like me trying to find her way.
Next week my job is sending me to Adelaide for a training course so I will hopefully be able to get some photos of the city of churches to post here.