I’ve never been a person that feels like I “belong” to a group. I’ve had a few small groups of friends along the way, driven by the circumstances at the time (i.e. small group from high school, small group from college). But in reality, my friendships exist on a one-on-one basis. Six of them have stood the test of time. Even trying to bring some of this group together in a group setting doesn’t work very well. I find that I know them differently than they know each other and most know me in a slightly different way than the others do, as well. When topics of conversation have to be steered toward what is acceptable in front of the whole group…well…a lot of the most important things are “off the table”. More than long-standing friendships, I have random connections. A “ships passing in the night” type connection that typically arises based on an issue, a decision, a crisis. Someone’s relationship is falling apart, a major decision needs to be made, a long-standing dream is in question, or their past has come back for a visit. Sometimes people seek me out and sometimes I can see that they are struggling (whether they want me to or not) and I try to let them know that I’m here if they need someone to talk to or someone to listen to them. I’m not sure what makes me happier than to know that I have helped someone to feel less alone during an important time; that maybe I have made their world a bit better when it mattered the most. We may stay in touch or we may not, but the bond, I feel, lives on. I see this in the ways they think of me when life is good and calm again, and they want to tell me about it. They are in a new, happy relationship. They finally have the child they weren’t sure they’d ever have. I can also bring people together. I know people. I know where they will belong, even when I don’t also belong there. I watch the relationships develop and I feel good about helping people to connect to others they can relate to. Again, in my small way, trying to make the world a better place. So I guess this is where I accept that I am just “different” in my approach to the world. Being me means I won’t quite fit in anywhere. It feels a little lonely sometimes, but there’s no other option if I’m going to be true to myself and how I was programmed.
Sigh, so true.