I want to disclaimer this last post of the series. And it will be in two parts. In talking about trusting my body, trusting my own voice, I was moving from a place where I questioned those things to a place where I’m finally listening to them. This first of two posts is about the opposite, and it is coming from a place of grief, confusion, anger, and sadness. But I need to share it.
I have lost trust in my community.
This is not just about the crazy stuff happening in our country, though it is a part of it. This is something that I haven’t really addressed for the past 10 years, mostly because I’ve blamed myself, that I wasn’t consistent enough, wasn’t giving enough, wasn’t thoughtful enough, grateful enough. That’s why I wake up on a random Saturday morning and see other people celebrating their years and decades long friendships with people who have been there for the ups and downs, and I just start crying.
It really hit hard when my second daughter’s 5 year stillbirth anniversary came and went and no one reached out. I get it. It’s a family anniversary of a sad milestone. Something I can journal about and talk to a therapist and reach out to loss mom groups and take that initiative myself, right?
It hurts because I grew up with the notion as a people pleaser that I needed to be there for people as a way to show them how to be there for me. What a difference it made to acknowledge anniversaries and pain in their life, and that if I did it consistently, the right way, and was there for people, then they would do the same and be there for me. If I could anticipate their needs, then they would anticipate mine in return. It’s a weird return on investment perspective that never seemed to work out in reality. And while I’m moving away from being a people pleaser and unlearning all these expectations, I don’t know how to build relationship with people outside of this model.
But it’s not just people. It’s organizations who portray a family-like or team-like atmosphere, but end up getting all caught up in the programs and the goals and the initiatives and lose sight of the people. The need for volunteers or for people to come to them instead of reaching out and building relationships beyond buildings. It’s making decisions that exclude or abandon whole groups of people. It’s the feeling of not belonging when you or someone you love walk through the doors.
I know what it’s like to not feel heard, not feel seen, not belong. Decisions being made without you in mind because you are a minority. After my first stillbirth, I realized how much I didn’t belong in the community I was a part of. I didn’t have kids, and I had to explain it to every new person I met. And there wasn’t a place for me, unless it was a place of service, while others were getting served. But the reality was that I was drained and I needed so much, but I wasn’t the right demographic. They didn’t know what to do with me, and they wanted me to figure it out.
And that’s what I did. I looked for other communities. And I found some. And I became a part of them, but after our kid was born, I realized that we no longer fit. We didn’t belong, again. So, I went back to the original communities thinking that now I could finally belong. But being marginalized and spending time with other people who have been hurt and marginalized changed me. I kept seeing groups of people getting left out again and again. And I knew I couldn’t stay.
But now, I’m really alone. It feels like people are too busy or I’m too much of a burden, that the timing is always off or I’m just not the kind of person people want to invest in. I feel like everyone is still Facebook friends with me, but they have all unfollowed me and I’m talking into the wind or the abyss.
Anytime I write about this pain, I immediately delete it. It sounds too angry. It sounds too bitter. People are going to get mad because I’m not being grateful for the things they have done in the past or I should speak up more or not be such a hard person to be around in the first place. That I did this to myself.
There is some truth to that. We are moving out of the neighborhood we have lived in for 12 years, moving into a new city where we really don’t know anyone. We left the church where we were members for almost 14 years, without any real plan or place to plug into. I lost a lot of friends during my pregnancy loss season and didn’t make many new mom friends (thanks COVID). And on top of all that, I am horribly inconsistent because I get overwhelmed easily and forget what day it is sometimes. But I’m tired of carrying this burden. I’m tired of feeling alone.
But if I’ve learned anything, I know we are never truly alone. Yes, I believe God is walking through this season with me, but I also believe that other people feel this way too. Or they have been there. I believe we are made for community, even those who are introverted and socially awkward. And I know that it will get better, that all will be revealed in God’s perfect timing. So, I choose to share this to show others their thoughts and emotions are not wrong, their pain and hurt is valid and real, and you are worthy of love. And maybe, just maybe, this confession will lead me to the community I long for.