It's everywhere. There are moments when I feel I can barely breathe. Someday the rain will come and the fires will ease and I will inhale clean air once more. I don't know when that will happen. I hope it's soon.
I told Darrin I was looking forward to last weekend. My sister got married. For the first time in about four years, my entire family was together. Most of the in-laws made it. There were more than thirty of us gathered together.
I said I was ready to rejoin my family--to be a part of them. I felt my demons had been laid to rest and it was time for me to strengthen relationships.
And at first if felt nice. I was glad to be with my sisters and brothers and their families. They were happy to see me. But soon, very soon, I was invisible. I found myself avoiding the clusters of people, cutting short any attempted conversations someone might start with me. I sat in quiet corners, watching.
It felt as though the smoke from the forest fires had permeated my soul, creating a hazy screen between my family members and me. Darrin disappeared into the fray--he loves my family. DJ and Adam found their cousins and started a game of some sort. Tabitha went for walks with various girl cousins and played with my younger nieces and nephews.
There are good people in my family. I don't know why I don't fit.
There was a lot of noise. I don't like that, and maybe it's why I retreated.
I think, though, there is still some resentment floating about inside me. It seems unfair that all my sisters are tall and blond and beautiful--I'm not. It seems unfair that I'm not a part of their circle unless I'm entertaining. I listened as they traded stories and life details with one another. I was not asked about my life. It seems unfair that there is no interest nor concern about me. It's not that I need to talk; rather, I just would like to know there was someone in my family who wonders about me occasionally.
I know. All that stuff in the above paragraph is self-centered. But I think everyone has moments like that. People have often told me how lucky I am to have such a large, family circle. I don't feel lucky. I feel lonely. And part of me believes they're all missing out, because I'm an okay person and they don't know me. They don't want to know me.
I guess I hoped that after all these years of therapy, one of two things would happen:
1. I would learn how to become someone of worth and interest to my siblings and parents
2. I would learn how to stop caring that I don't really matter to them.
Neither happened. No one questions why I don't often attend reunions. No one really notices when I'm there. I don't want a parade, but it would be nice to talk quietly with someone, to find out what's happening in their world and let them know the things that go on in mine.
My oldest sister left the family gathering first. As she walked by me she stopped and said, "Oh! We didn't get to talk much. You should call me!" And then she left.
We didn't get to talk much.
For three days I attempted to talk with her. She did not wish to be engaged by me.
I should call her...
But the phone works both ways. Perhaps she could call me?
I decided I'd had enough. I gathered Darrin and the kids and said we needed to leave. I hugged each sibling, in-law, niece, nephew...
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it's not yet time for me to have family relationships. Maybe I don't know how. Maybe I'm just someone who functions better in a work environment. Maybe I want too much from my family. Maybe I really am the black sheep and I won't ever fit in. Maybe it's time for me to find a hobby or something.
I do not understand why I fail at family stuff.