Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Missing That Feeling of Belonging and Missing People

                                                [photo source]

Aspies hate change. I am on the top of that list. My idea of the happiest life would have been being born into a small village or nice small town and living there the rest of my life. One of my best friends from college, believes in reincarnation, I have openly witnessed the Christian gospel to her but this starts with her surmising. She says, "If you come back, wouldn't you want a life, where you live in a small village life-long and have close life long friends and family that never move away? I usually respond saying reincarnation is not true but that yes, that would be ideal. Yes, I know this would be some people's versions of hell, but we have added on the dictate that the families are loving and kind.

Too much moving ruined my life. My parents began it, and I continued it as an adult and it was always usually related to economic survival. The sociologists write about how economic trials affect a person practically but ignore some of the deeper issues. No one mentions the people you lose over the years, the ebbing away of relationships. I refuse to ever move again. It has to be this town or the old one for the rest of my life. I can't move away from any more local friends or the familiar again.

Being middle-aged and a stranger to so many sucks. I feel no sense of belonging or connection to a place and grieve this.  I had the feeling of belonging for a short time in my old town, but in some ways, I do not think I ever have recovered from that move 7 years ago, and when things economically collapsed there it made it worse. My old church and a volunteer organization I was involved with vanished, that made it even harder.  Even now I worry about things I have here, sliding away.

What goads me in some strange way, is my mother who really does not feel close attachments to anyone or the same sense of loss, was blessed with living her entire youth in a small community and being able to have visits and connections with everyone there for the rest of her life. She sees extended cousins to great-aunts without pause. She just saw the entire family network for the holidays. They come to her while no one visits me.  Funny how that works.

Despite great efforts to avoid this, I have joined the ranks of the "forgotten people". Some may point out, you went "no contact", so that's on you but the door was creaking shut on me from the other side just as much. My husband and I were discussing this, and he said, after his job lay-offs and we moved here which is the same distance from my mother's town as my old town but in a different direction, he noticed how I was cut off even more so. My mother actively worked to destroy relationships behind the scenes telling people lies.

One can't force people to be there, who do not want to be but it can bring some weird feelings. Some say its based on the overall break-up of society. My other long distance and disabled friends tell me their life is like this too. Even the healthy and active folks short on time, tell me how things do not seem the same as they used to be. Some accept it, some have given up, I met one of those people who told me with a straight face they have no friends at all.

Change to me always feels threatening. While there have been a couple good changes in my life such as when I played my own version of "Escape From New York" [insert name of another well-known giant American metro city here] to a small town in the middle of nowhere that brought me some years of happiness, there have been many changes that did not bring good things, but disappointment. Change for me has brought too many losses. I tell my best friends, "I have seen the back end of too many people." Some has been due to losing people to death but other factors have entered into it too. Sometimes it was torture when I was ostracized from my own family, hearing about my mother having the funds to visit every extended cousin and aunt or uncle, while I have not seen some people in years. I feel guilty too. A visit to my old town this fall was canceled due to health concerns, and money. It's like why do I have to work so hard to be present? Why do I have to lack the money and health to make it happen?

With time, and distance a person can become a stranger. Even with intense efforts, I sometimes struggle with the picturing myself as a "photo" that is being erased. Be careful reading 30 year old letters while cleaning out your bedroom and not crying over the lost people either to death, moving away, the march of time, or the machinations of narcissists.

I have not seen any relatives on my father's side of the family in 30 years.

I have not seen relatives on my mother's side of the family in 8 years [these are people I am in contact with]

I have not seen two nephews in 4 years.

I have not seen other nieces and nephews in 2 years.

I have not seen one good college friend since 1993 that I talk to weekly on the phone.

I have not seen my old town or my friends there since 2011.

Being a disabled person in American society, you do get forgotten about and shunted away, while some of us manage to make a few friends and ones who are good about visiting us, for many isolation is a serious problem that can take over one's life. Housebound? It can get serious some times. I feel like life is passing me by. I am invisible.

I put extraordinary effort into not giving in to it, and have a couple good friends that help me beyond just seeing these 4 walls, including one who picked me up to get coffee on a day it warmed up enough for me to escape outside two Saturdays ago. But it can be hard. You feel like a ghost in your life, I have laughed at my weeks being stuck in the apt unable to breathe in cold or too much heat, as like "doing time". I MISS a lot of people. It's like my lack of funds, and ability to travel, wiped too many people away. As I have written before modern American life, with its mobility and rest sucks for the poor, the working class and the disabled.

There's far too many people I miss. There's far too many people I have not seen in YEARS. What should I do about it? See them or pay my rent? I never wanted to become a stranger but I did.

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