I am once again participating in Five Minute Friday. Lisa-Jo is on vacation, so it is being hosted this week by Crystal Stine! The topic for the week is “Belong” – the rules are always the same. Five minutes of writing with no editing and no second guessing. So, here goes:
I love the feeling of belonging. I guess you could say I long to belong. I have always felt this way to a certain extent. I don’t know if it is a reaction to my mom’s seeming resistant to “belonging” to anything. She didn’t like organizations. She didn’t get involved in groups. And even when I was on teams when I was younger, she would choose the more solo efforts required of parents rather than getting involved in group planning, etc. Part of it may have been my dad’s alcoholism. Part of it was probably her constant doubting/judging of herself. But, there was definitely a resistance there. So, maybe my want/need to belong was a sort of rebellious action.
In high school, I ran for student government despite being one of lower status on the high school social scales. I was a successful athlete, so I had some recognition despite the fact I didn’t really dress right and my hair was always short and somewhat lacking in style due my 4 – 6 hours of swimming everyday (I was on the swim team, diving team, gymnastics team – I didn’t have time or money to have fancy hair or clothes). But, I ran for an uncontested office and won. I also participated in our county’s Jr. Miss competition and won and was able to compete for the State title. Again, not exactly where I “belonged,” but I loved it. It seemed like it opened up a whole new space for me. A space where I was part of a group. I was “approved”. I did social things due to my participation in these groups. It was fun. It was social. And I loved it. I decided that even when I didn’t quite feel like I belonged somewhere, I could still be a part of something.
I am still fighting that battle. I join mom’s groups. I went to my church’s women’s retreat despite not knowing another person at the church yet. I volunteered at VBX and loved it. And I’m sure I will be involved in my daughter’s school next year. I don’t always feel like I “belong,” but it is still good to be part of something bigger than myself.
That pretty much looks like my life feels right now. Big piles of sticky, grimy, muddy mess. It feels like each day I’m just slogging through, trying to get to a temporary dry patch. And lately, I’ve been expecting to find a dry patch and, instead, just find more muddy puddles. So, I’m feeling pretty exhausted. I’m feeling like the work it takes to get from one dry patch to the next is harder than the dry patches are big. Life just seems like trial after trial with not much in between to make those trials seem worth it. I know I’m just in a low spot right now and I need to find higher ground and wash my boots off with clean water – or better yet, take them off because I’m out of the mud. But, it is really hard to find that higher ground right now.
I didn’t realize it had been 16 days since Iast wrote on here. It makes me realize how much time just passes by while I’m struggling to keep my feet moving. It really does sometimes feel like a week has gone by and I don’t know what I’ve done or accomplished. Some weeks, I feel like I’ve accomplished a ton, but I still don’t feel “good” about things necessarily. I just feel like I’ve got some things done. I don’t feel like life is “good” or “fun” or even relaxing or peaceful. It is tough and anxiety-filled and disappointments with a good thing tossed in here and there.
But, I keep reading blogs and I see these beautiful little sparks of goodness and happiness and bliss. And I think how much I wish I could find that in my life and not just on my screen through someone else’s life. So, I’m rededicating myself to blogging. I have a direction – self-improvement. And I now realize how desperate I am for that in my life. Improving myself. Improving my financial situation. Improving my relationships. Improving my work performance. Improving my parenting. Just becoming a better person living a happier life and making others happier while doing it. Seems simple enough, but I get so bogged down in the day-to-day slog that I can’t get to a point where I feel like I can maintain that motivation to be better, do better and find happiness.
I imagine there are others out there who feel this way as well, but sometimes it feels like you are the only one. The only one who wakes up every morning thinking something is going to go right only to find that something else goes wrong. The only one who seems stuck in a life of mediocrity and chaos and dirt and brokenness. The only one who feels guilty about not being able to be more – more of a mom, more of a wife, more of a daughter, more of a sister, more of a friend. The only one who can’t get it together to make a meal on a regular basis because it feels like its just for herself and her four year old and the four year old probably won’t eat much of it anyways, so peanut butter and jelly just seems easier. The only one who gets asked how old her granddaughter is (who is really her daughter) multiple times in one week and feels as old as she probably looks to those people. The only one who can’t seem to figure out who she is or what she really wants from life and instead just goes through, day by day, doing some of the things on her to-do list, but not getting to many more. I know I’m not the only one, but it still feels pretty lonely while you’re there, slogging through.
I want more out of life. I want more out of myself. I want more out of my relationships. I just want more. But, I also want less. I want less trials and tribulations. I want less health problems in my family members. I want less on my to-do list. I want less money issues. I want less things cluttering up my life. I want less time on this computer and more time in my life. I want less things that mean little to me and more things that mean a ton to me.
So, I need to talk (type) it through. I need to be honest and open and really make an effort to MAKE changes not just talk about them. I need to do that in my blog and in my life. I need to look around me and figure out what I have, what I REALLY want and what I can leave behind. I need to sit down and really wrestle with who I am, who I want to be and how to navigate the trip. That is what I wanted this blog to be about, but I think I just lost the focus on CHANGE and instead just focused on TALK. So, although I’m exhausted, I realize that I need to jump in, right here, right now and start the change. But, I also realize that I need to recognize the things I do get done and when I do achieve changes in my life. And maybe this will be a good place for that as well. I don’t want to make it sound like it is all negative.
So…anyone else out there feeling the need to reinvest in change and improvement? Hop on board – let me know in comments what some of the things you are hoping to change. It is always nice to know you aren’t alone.
I included Social Saturdays in my blog lineup because I wanted to force myself to form a community where I live. A community of real, live people I see face-to-face on a regular basis. I have a ton of long-distance friends, but not so many in my own city, my own workplace, etc. I find it difficult to get and stay involved in group activities. It is especially difficult because of my schedule, but it is also difficult because being with people who I don’t know very well seems exhausting to me. I either feel constant anxiety about fitting in or I feel constant shame for not really caring about fitting in (depending on the group I’m with).
So, I have avoided social activities the past couple of weeks. I’ve had decent excuses, but I’ve missed multiple opportunities for being social with work mates and community groups. I definitely need to force myself to do some social things. I did go to church last week, but I don’t really talk to people there other than shaking hands at the beginning of the service. I plan to go tomorrow as well – and maybe I will force myself to talk to some people – at least ask them a question or comment on something while having coffee before or after the service. I have an opportunity to go to a crafting group tonight, but I’m a little short on money for the next couple of weeks and I already have huge babysitting expenses for next week because my husband is traveling for work during the middle of the week, so I don’t feel like I should spend even more money we don’t have to go out tonight. Plus, I have so much work to do around the house and for my jobs (see, good excuses).
I guess if nothing else, having this in my blog lineup forces me to recognize when I’ve been totally unsocial.
How do you all meet people and find people that either (1) don’t make you anxious about yourself and/or (2) you actually want to spend time with? There are some people who I think I would really enjoy spending time with, but those are never the people who are at these events I go to. I would like to think of myself as a social being, but I find myself acting more like a recluse most of the time.
I love this link party, so I thought I would participate. I have five minutes to write about lonely…
It is lonely sometimes even in a world where so many people are present at all times. But, sometimes that loneliness is self-driven. I often put myself in positions to feel lonely. This can be done simply by staying home when social opportunities present themselves. Sometimes I do that because I’m truly tired, but other times I stay home because I am feeling vulnerable. That vulnerability is not really helped by staying home, but it seems like a risk to go out and try to engage with others. Sometimes I make myself lonely by not sharing the truth about my life. I hide things from others because I feel like they can’t relate or like I should be able to deal with whatever it is on my own. This, I think, is a particularly difficult form of loneliness, because it is like being emotionally exiled (except it is a self-imposed exile, so I don’t know what that would be called. I have been in this form of emotional exile for a pretty long time now for different reasons.
Loneliness is not good, but being alone is sometimes helpful. I sometimes get over-exposed to people and need some alone time. So, I definitely don’t think that loneliness is the same as being alone. But, sometimes being alone does result in loneliness.
Wow…five minutes really flies when you are writing!
If you would like to participate in the Five Minute Friday link party, just click on the picture above and it will take you to the page. Thanks for reading!