February 08, 2010

The Outer Circle

So, I've been living in Georgia for....about 3 months now ( that's not counting the time that we spent in Texas for the holidays). Which, in the mega scheme of things, is not a terribly long time. But it has seemed like AGES. One reason time is crawling: No matter where the move is to, one of the hardest parts of changing location is trying to rebuild the friendship base.

And while, for the most part, I think I'm making progress on this front-I was starkly reminded several times this weekend that I'm not quite in the inner circle yet. Being "left out" is one of the nastiest feelings one can feel, but when you move to a new place it is GOING to happen to you. I promise.
But, the really good thing about all this, is that its left me pondering my priorities. I don't think I told you this, but right before I left Washington-I was taken out to lunch by a girl in the ministry there and then flatly told how I had made her feel left out for a year and a half. It was an awful slap in the face and I can't even tell you how much I cried about it. But, even though I was terribly hurt by the accusation, I felt strongly, at the time, that I was not completely in the wrong. I mean, it goes both ways, right?!? I cannot be held responsible for every single person feeling like they're accepted and wanted at every single party and social engagement, right?! I mean, who made me queen of the social scene?!?

However, here I am feeling very much like she apparently did for a year or so-and I see very clearly how she felt the way she felt. When those around you are comfortable with each other, comfortable with their routines, their coffee dates, their friends, their date nights...when all of that seems relatively stable and set in stone, it can be difficult for the outsider to get up enough gumption to force themselves into the picture. And we are left fighting a inner battle where part of you feels hurt and bitter towards those people leaving you out, and the other part of you realizes that part of YOUR job is to be friendly and kind to everyone-no matter how you're treated back.

Which brings me to your homework: I need you to go read this post written by my friend Tabitha ( ignore the part where she talks about me...that's not why I'm asking you to read it-focus on the end part)

Tabitha's sentiment is that while she herself is trying to get out there and make friends, she's going to instead focus on OTHER people who might be just as lonely, or maybe lonelier than herself! I love it!

And she put so beautifully into words what I had been mulling over all weekend! I never want to forget the feelings of loneliness and outofplaceness that I have felt every time I have moved-I don't want to forget, because I want to be the champion of others who are out of place themselves. Because, such people are everywhere. They are NOT just in the military environment ( although, they abound here.), but there are people feeling wallflower-esque at every church, school, club, gym, social event, and workplace. And so, even though I feel shy and uncertain right now, I will remember the principal that my Grandmother always lived by....

My Grandmother was pretty shy, but you never would have guessed it-she always had people around her, and she was the champion of the wallflowers-Why? Because, when she showed up somewhere, feeling as insecure as ever, she'd look around the room and find the person standing by themselves, the person who looked the most uncomfortable, and she'd go talk to them. I know that's probably not a new concept, but its something I've remembered since I was small, and I have used it more times than I can count-and it ALWAYS works. You end up stop thinking about your own comfort and start worrying about someone elses!

And so...While I have not yet made it into the "inner circle" here at Fort Benning, I have come to realize that the "outer circle" is much bigger and has room for many more friends-so here I am.


Abby Scorsonelli said...

likes this post. :)

Amy King said...

Hmm, I guess I don't experience exactly what you're talking about, but I do feel like my life is missing something when I get focused on me and mine during the school semester. When I was in Illinois, reaching out to people in the "outer circle" of society was something I had to do. And, right now I know that's something I have to do in Mississippi, too, but I've been too lazy and complacent in my "routine" to volunteer where I know I need to (there is ONE food pantry here--not much of a deliberation about where I should go to help).

Lyds said...

Great post Abbey. I can really identify with your sentiments. It's also difficult to not be impatient with the "getting to know people" and the "breaking into social circles" stage. It takes a lot of self-discipline to overlook other people's seeming withdrawal from you as you "interrupt" their routine - really those negative responses "same more about them than they say about you".