Just a warning here--one of the primary reasons I started this blog was as an additional coping mechanism to deal with some of my trials. Today, I feel a bit of a rant coming on.
You have been warned.
But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am an introvert through and through. Although I can operate very well as an extrovert in some ways (I love public speaking, teaching, and sharing my thoughts in classroom settings, etc.), reaching out to other people is very challenging to me.
No, wait. That doesn't quite sum it up. Let's see if I can explain better.
When I reach out to someone else, hoping to form a deeper bond with them, I literally feel like I am carving a piece of my soul out and putting it on a platter, just hoping someone--often a particular someone or two--will accept my offering. What some people do casually, I do with extreme deliberateness. Although I have wanted to have trust in mankind, and particularly in men, painful experience has led me not to trust others. My mother's ex-husband is the sort that I would rather open up to a homeless person on the street before I ever trust him again. My older brother recently caused a falling out that virtually punished me more than anyone else, and with absolutely no provocation. The last time I had what I would consider to be a best friend (junior high school), our friendship ended when I started noticing that money had gone missing throughout the house.
And so now, as a full-grown adult, I try my hand again to see if there are indeed other dependable people out there.
Boy, am I disappointed to what has become of our culture.
This past Tuesday: considering that I had scarcely seen or heard from Joseph lately, I figured that, perhaps if I texted him earlier in the day when he would theoretically be less busy, I might successfully spend some time with him and the other guys we used to hang out with. I do this with much trepidation and hesitancy--I don't want to bother him.
But then I think to myself, "If he's truly my friend, this shouldn't bother him."
Do you think I ever heard from him? No?
Maybe you're catching on to things. I'd like to think I am.
That didn't settle well with me the rest of the day. So I think to myself, "Hmm...tomorrow I have most of the day to myself. I should arrange for a game night at my place and invite the ward on the ward page."
So I go about doing that. My lethal mistake? Having that much faith in Facebook.
It absolutely baffles how fickle a thing social media is. It favors those who are popular, and shuns those that aren't. It avoids the profound while avidly pursuing the superficial.
But what am I saying? That is the curse our society bears as a whole.
Wednesday: so I get done with my necessary business of the day. In the hours preceding the appointed time, I go through the house and straighten everything up. Gosh, I even cleaned the litter box in the first time for months, since little Sunset usually goes outside.
It's 6:57. I don't expect hordes to show up at seven. My greatest hope is for two or three people to come--my post did get a few likes, after all. Hopefully if I keep my expectations low enough, I won't be too terribly disappointed. I start watching a bit of anime to keep me from becoming too antsy.
7:03 comes and passes.
It's eight o'clock.
Not a soul showed up.
No one texted me to say they were on their way.
It was then that something snapped inside of me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to vanish. I felt completely humiliated, putting such a vulnerable part of me out there just to be totally ignored and rejected.
I finally decided I have had enough of going through this in this ward. Perhaps I might have just shrugged it off had it not been the third, fourth or fifth time this had happened. But the message was clear: if I was to make an effort to become friends with people that wouldn't give me the cold shoulder, it wasn't going to be in this ward.
So I've decided to start attending the local Spanish ward, starting a week from now. They do speak the Celestial language, after all.
I have had some misgivings. I thought to myself before I started writing, "Well, this is something that is wrong with our society and culture at large. It wouldn't be fair for me to chalk it up to my ward having its own problems."
But then I realized that Rachel So-and-so, Joseph, David This-or-that, and others have done exactly the same thing I did, but with abundant success.
It's not like nobody in the ward knows me. I have had quite a few at my house in the past. I haven't missed more than a composite two or three meetings out of the block in the whole 2-1/2+ years I have been attending the singles' ward. I have held a number of different callings, all of which I have fulfilled to the best of my ability, and I participate significantly in every classroom discussion that I am present for.
I have thought for some time that I simply have a difficult time relating to others my age. But I am starting to think much differently.
Other people my age have a difficult time relating to me.
Why? I am indeed an old soul. I see things differently than others. But I really don't know. Is it because I eat food all the time? Because I don't go to school? Having an unusual career? Intimidating others with the variety of talents I have?
Friday: after the business of Thursday, I followed up in my efforts to talk to the bishop. I knew if nothing else, he deserved an explanation, considering that mine wasn't a calling that would be easily replaced. That, and I really wanted someone to talk to--this whole situation has deeply bothered me, and I thought it would be very therapeutic to sort out my emotions-gone-haywire with someone. I've always had a lot of respect for my bishop.
But he didn't really seem interested in talking with me. I was kind of expecting some sort of attempt to talk me into staying, but it seemed a higher priority to make sure the key I held to the chapel (pertaining to my calling) was returned. I decided to believe he was busy and, being preoccupied with other things, didn't think through our text exchange...
Today (Sunday): I am still in a bit of a bad mood after everything earlier in the week, but I still wake up early and diligently practice the musical number I was scheduled to play during Sacrament meeting. In Elders' Quorum, one of the counselors in the bishopric sat down next to me, and we had a hushed conversation while he casually asked me what was going on and tried to make me feel a little bad for leaving in a good-hearted way, which I appreciate. He also told me that the bishop was planning to release me today.
Whoa! I didn't want to make a scene in Sacrament meeting. I was already drawing attention to myself with a musical number. I tactfully requested that I be released next week.
Sacrament meeting: of course the first thing I do is look for a certain someone and, sure enough, even though there was no sign of him during the first two meetings, Joseph was sitting in a pew by himself. I didn't approach him.
I'll admit that I feel a bit of frustration when I see fellow ward members who are getting married. And here I am hardly knowing thing one about platonic relationships, let alone marriage! My final contribution to this ward is sandwiched between two engaged couples.
Before the Sacrament is administered, my bishop announces that there's an item of ward business. My stomach clenches for a moment. Didn't Brother Such-and-such talk to him? I think to myself.
Yes, he did. The item of ward business? The vacancy that my departure would leave was already filled.
It wasn't even 48 hours ago that I told him my intentions. I thought he would at least wait a week, at least talk to me in person.
I know this isn't what he had intended, but I was left feeling very much discarded, disposable, replaceable.
I will admit that my performance wasn't the best that I have done. My hands shook, and my mood made it a challenge, but I still did a good job. But although I didn't immediately dash out the door, I received no comment. No one told me I did a good job. It wouldn't have hurt so much if I wasn't already ultra-sensitive, but in this case, it was the final indicator:
I didn't belong in this ward anymore.
So I left. Who knows if I will ever step foot in that building again?
I have begun to seriously reflect if this is all an orchestration of the Lord's doing. Nothing short of this would cause me to consider attending another ward, so I wonder if it was meant to be that I started attending the local Spanish ward. Perhaps there is someone I'm destined to meet, some need I'm designed to fulfill. I can say that I am very much looking forward to revisiting the hispanic culture that I love.
I'm also curious to see what comes of those I will no longer see each week. I had had every intention of making a post on the ward's Facebook page, but then again, I realized that not many would care too deeply. Some, definitely. I know who they are. But not many. As I will for all intents and purposes vanish without a trace, some will think I am on my way out of the Church; some may conjecture that I have gone to live a life of debauchery and lasciviousness.
Ha! The idea makes me laugh! I will see if anyone so gravely misunderstood me as to think that.
I will see also if any of the connections I have indeed managed to make will survive. One girl I share a number of interests with seems to be a true friend. But I have come to realize that I very well may never see or hear from Joseph again. The test will be next Sunday, at approximately 11:20, when I will suddenly be released from the last of a number of callings, only for there not to be a trace of me to be found.
Will that elicit any responses, anyone reaching out? Maybe.
But probably not.
I really do hope I'm wrong.
But I'm probably not.
I guess I'll be trying my hand at the Spanish ward from hereon out.