I’ve been struggling through some pretty serious feelings of inferiority, and most recently, isolation. The combination is really challenging. I’ve always felt that I am completely average; that there really is nothing memorable about me. I’ve never felt that there is really anything about myself that stands out. When I meet people, and interact with them briefly, I expect that upon our next meeting, they will not have any idea that we’ve met before. I’m always surprised when we meet again, months later, and people do remember me, and are happy to see me. I’ve always been confused by that.
I’ve been doing craft shows for almost 2 years, and I’ve met some really amazing and talented people. I really admire them as human beings, and as artists. Again, I don’t find myself to be the same caliber of talent that these people are. I am not on the same level. I am so proud of my work, until I get to a show, and get my display set up. Then, I often feel like a preschooler displaying their crayon scribbling next to Monet or Seurat. I become embarrassed and withdrawn. As I said, though, I’ve met some truly incredible people, whom I am honored to know.
The lonely part of my being wants to get to know some of these artist, and establish friendships beyond our interactions at shows. The survivalist part of my being wants to shut them out. I have the type of personality that needs people. I need friends. I need that close knit group on individuals to interact with regularly. Living in a city where I have no family, or connections, it has proven to be very challenging to just get out of bed every morning. If I didn’t have my children to take care of every day, I probably wouldn’t function. I grew up with that close knit security I yearn for. I lived in the same house for 30 years. Went to school with the same kids from first grade, until we graduated from high school. We played together outside of school. many of us are still in contact today, twenty five years after graduation. I went to the same church for those 30 years. Had a close relationship with the youth group there, and still keep in contact today. I come from an extremely close family. My immediate family still spends a great deal of time together, as does my extended family. I feel a twinge of jealousy when I know they will be together. Holidays hurt the worst.
I’ve relocated 3 times in the past 12 years, and each time, I move farther from my comfort zone, farther from my support group. Farther from my family. Each time I move, I make new friends, and start getting close to people, and establishing that connection, then the boxes come out and I have to let go again. The feelings of isolation and loneliness set in, and I crawl back into my shell, afraid to make new connections.
Usually, that feeling lasts for a few months, then I get into the groove of everyday activities, put my guard down, and make connections. I’ve been in St Louis for 4 years, and that wall, that guard, is still up, and gets reinforced regularly. I’ve opened myself up to the opportunity to meet people who could be friends, but as soon as we start making that real connection, I shut down and walk away. With the very real possibility of my husband landing his dream job at any moment, and our family having to pack up and move again, I am terrified to open myself up to making friends with these people I am desperate to be friends with. I don’t want to have to say good-bye again. I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to have to continue those friendships on the computer. I want the people. I need the human contact.
Knowing that we will likely move farther from my family, makes me feel even more isolated. I feel like I will never see them again. I went from seeing my mother, sister, and her family on a weekly basis to once every few years. It’s like a part of me has died. I often feel that grieving feeling, that sense of loss. I know that when we do relocate, it will be to better our lives; to give our children a great, comfortable life. I have to constantly remind myself of that. This is an ongoing battle, that I will continue to fight until I learn to be okay, and know that it’s going to all work out for the best.