When I was young I used to sit outside in the evening hours with my back to my house as I watched the traffic go by on the road. The headlights would flash by, and I'd watch the taillights as they got smaller, and smaller in the distance. People in their cars with places to go, and people to see. I didn't know them, and they didn't know me. They couldn't even see me from where I was sitting. I wasn't visible from the road. I liked to try to guess where they might be going. Maybe to the store, or to run an errand. Maybe to a party, or to visit friends. The possibilities were endless. The one thing for sure it seemed in that moment to me was that they had a purpose. They had somewhere to be, somewhere to go, and likely someone to connect with. That is where them, and I differed. As I sat there, alone, and isolated as I had so many times before I didn't have anywhere to be, or anyone to connect with. I longed to be someone who did. The isolation that I felt day after day was crushing. It had been that way as long as I could remember until I was 18, and met my husband.
That kind of invisibility distorts a child's view of their self I had always been wonderful at entertaining myself for hours on end, and seldom get bored, if ever. I don't think I ever needed companionship of others to entertain me. I think if anything I needed it to validate my being, my sense of belonging to the human race. Since I rarely got that as a child I tend to view every rejection, or transgression by another as a blow to my ability to belong, to assimilate. I see it as a failure on my part to adequately either avoid the upset, or avoid being upset over a minor issue. Either I am doing something wrong, or I am irrationally expecting the other person to behave differently than they are, thus I shouldn't be upset about whatever it is I'm upset about. Of course, this is not how emotions work. I can't police them that way. If my feelings keep popping up saying they are hurt, or I am feeling angry over a transgression then those feelings are like little red flags. I can keep pushing them down, but they're going to keep coming back, and it's quite likely it could happen in a destructive way if I'm not careful. I always like to rationalize with my feelings. I like to tell myself that I am overreacting. I want my feelings to listen to me, because it's often not convenient to address them. Addressing them means addressing discomfort, and awkwardness. It's so often that in relationships, especially friendships, I would decide that any transgressions by others toward me could be overlooked, because if I put forth boundaries I might lose all my friends. It has been my contention that so-so friends are better than no friends.
I'm beginning to feel like maybe that's not true.