It just occurred to me that I’ve had an awkward and rather horrible time of it over the last couple of weeks, mostly because of work nightmares, but I’ve had some other rather serious things on my mind too. People have often said to me over the years “You’re so strong, I don’t know how you do it.” Well, I mostly don’t know how I do it either, to tell you the truth. Sometimes I think it’s because I just don’t know how to stop, because if I drop one ball, they’ll all come crashing down.
I think it’s time to withdraw and regroup for a while, and rethink a couple of commitments. I’m starting to think that the church thing maybe just ~isn’t~ for people like me, regardless of their purportedly liberal, open-minded, welcoming views. I’m just not a Church Lady. Those of you who know me well are probably pretty amused that I ever thought I could be. I don’t know why I even wanted to try. I’m a lifelong loner, people, and at my age, I just don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. Hear that drummer? Of course you don’t, silly, it’s mine.
I started going to church again back in January. I chose the Unitarian Fellowship because in conversations with my brother, and attendance at his congregation in Hamilton, I thought that maybe I’d find a community of like-minded people.
I’ve tried. They’re very nice people, really they are, but I don’t think it’s for me. In six months, I’ve tried to talk to people, which is very difficult for the poster child for Awkward Introverts. I’ve attended information sessions. I’ve asked questions. I’ve shared my own experiences. I spent the first few weeks crying quietly in the back. I got over that, but I’m still uncomfortable. I show up alone, I sit alone, I leave alone. Like any group, it’s hard to break in, particularly for a single person. It’s very family-oriented. They have a knitting group, which I thought might be interesting. They meet on a weekday afternoon. Well, some of us are at work during the week. They have study groups, covenant groups, choir groups – none of which I’ve been asked to attend.
I’m looking for answers, I’m looking for connections, I’m looking for support systems. I’m not finding any of those things. I’m finding it’s very cliquish, punctiliously politically correct, and somewhat intellectually elitist. I’m not an intellectual by anyone’s stretch of the imagination, and I have a weird and inappropriate sense of humour. People look at me very strangely there when I open my mouth. So, I’ve kind of stopped doing it. Every week, I make a point of going up to someone and saying something kind or supportive to them, offering sympathy or congratulations. Every. Freaking. Week.
In return, I get pretty much – sweet fuck all.
I’ve tried to participate in the singing. I hold hands with people I don’t know. I drink shitty coffee and join in spiral dances in the fucking parking lot. I listen. I try to connect. But it’s just not happening. I’m just not feeling it. I feel like a fraud, and very much an outsider.
Last week, at the year end service, they did an exercise that kind of pissed me off. Everyone was given post-it notes, and asked to write down little messages of thanks and recognition to each other, and wander around and stick them to the people in question. I wrote several myself. “I enjoy your gentle sense of humour.” “You have a gift for storytelling.” “Your music adds so much to services.”
So, here’s a whole room of people wandering around plastered in sticky notes. Except me. It was a little fucking humiliating, having my suspicions confirmed that my presence means absolutely nothing to anyone. It was very grade-six-gym-class.
Well, Unitarians, I’m out. Sorry. I can be a loner all by myself. It’s worked for me this far.
Back to the Church of the Lucky Aardvark (Our Lady of the Perpetual Cigar).