Saturday, October 21, 2006
NOT FITTING IN...
I attended a church social function last night. It was on the Stake level and so there were many people in attendance that I did not know. Typically, large groups in social settings, even as comfortable as a church setting, make me very uncomfortable.
I sat and observed instead of engaging the activity. I observed many folks totally comfortable with themselves, relating as normal members of the Church relate jovially and socially with each other. I particularly noticed the men. I looked at them and studied them and felt so distant and apart from them. They seemed so comfortable with themselves. I did not.
It's always been this way. When I was a youth, I didn't fit into the straight-guy world. I didn't relate with the guys in cub scouts or scouting. My mutual YM/YW years were torturous. I didn't do things that other guys seemed to be able to do so naturally. I observed them effortlessly playing sports, particularly basketball (I detest basketball). I observed them be athletic and strong (I was the neighborhood weakling). I observed them acting goofy and stupid as only boys can (I was too nerdy to be stupid). I observed them flirting with girls (I didn't relate with girls in a flirty way - though many confided in me about other guys). I observed them showing off (I never showed off).
So, I declared myself a misfit from an early age.
Now don't get me wrong... I'm very comfortable with crowds of all types including public speaking, giving talks in Church, teaching lessons to large groups, engaging planning commissions and city councils with the presentations of my designs, etc., But, in each of these instances, I'm the teacher, I'm the speaker, I'm the presenter. Smaller groups are a lot less nerve-racking, but I can do large groups as well.
But socially interacting and mingling and interacting takes effort. It's a chore. I instantly feel like I'm damaged goods - and I don't fit in to the world around me. It becomes uncomfortable, even unbearable.
I hate open houses where one mingles. YUCK! I hate striking up conversations with people that I know really don't care a minute later. Social niceties and all... including in business and church settings. Even being raised in this environment, I detest it.
Again, I feel I don't belong. I guess I feel I don't belong in a lot of circles. That's why I like to help in the kitchen when I meal is being prepared, or clean up, etc. It gives me something to do other than stand around wondering what to do or who to talk to.
I feel inferior! I feel flawed! Now, I know we are all flawed - but by my age, aren't we supposed to be overcoming these flaws and becoming more and more comfortable with who we are, not worrying about such things? not having such inhibitions?
I've never "fit in" with the straight-guy world. And because I've forced myself to adapt to a world where I see myself as a "misfit", as an outsider looking in, it has never gotten easier with the passage of time.
There have been times when I did feel like I was comfortable with who I was - maybe three instances:
1. When I was an MTC teacher and zone coordinator over many missionaries that I loved and cherished and fed from.
2. When I was in a bishopric, serving in an old ward - my best friends being kissing-and-hugging-octagenarian widows.
3. When I was a Young Men leader, serving young men and living the life of a young man that I never had as a youth, and finally being loved and accepted.
I find myself reaching out to the blogsphere to try to "fit in" again. Instead of trying to fit in with straight-guys, I'm seeking gay mormon men who may better understand me and my feelings and quirks. But even here, I find that I'm not a very good fit...
1. I don't have a story of my youth where I was molested, in any form of that word, nor any story of trauma to support the reason for my "confusion". Sometimes, I wish I did have such a story - I've racked my brain trying to figure out if I have a suppressed memory somewhere, and I come up empty.
2. I didn't come out to myself until just a couple of years ago, well into my adulthood - my struggle with this issue is young and fresh, but my age is old and should be mature and wise - but I find myself not very wise and even childlike in such issues. Though I've wrestled all my life with this struggle, it hasn't been one of self-recognition until recently.
3. I have been married over 20 years and have young adult children. This puts me at odds with my struggles being out of sync with my current situation, and with the situation of most readers of this blog.
I'm not sure where I fit in. I work alone most of the time. I keep to myself most of the time.
I don't know why I'm rambling like this... Just felt out-of-place and out-of-sync last night. I feel out-of-place and out-of-sync with the fellow blog world as well.
I've spent my whole life not belonging to the world I live in. I still don't know how to "fit in".