Sunday, April 14, 2013
Thoughts on Subverting the Norm--layer 7: outsider
A major pattern throughout my life has been "feeling like an outsider." Very few people have ever outright HATED me, but I've never been popular. I've never been someone who fits in. Since Kindergarten. I can remember the other girls in class not playing with me and wondering why. And later on I managed to internalize that "why" and make it something that was more my fault. (The classic feminine response--whereas the classic masculine response is to externalize their pain.) I rationalized that I must be intentionally withholding myself; I scanned the environment, perceived I was different, and needed to protect myself by censoring certain parts of myself when I was in that particular environment.
There was always something I needed to censor myself for. I'm the only girl not allowed to play with Barbies. I'm a Pentecostal in a non-Pentecostal environment. I'm a female in a mostly male environment. I'm the only one who doesn't understand all these pop-culture references. I'm the only one who can't afford to go out partying all the time. I'm the only college-educated person. I'm the only undergrad. I'm the only parent who has chosen Attachment Parenting. I'm the only skeptic ...on and on... I have never found a group that was close enough to my identities to allow me to feel fully safe. It's just something I've learned to live with. (The closest I got, in all fairness, was The Mustard Seed Christian Fellowship in Lawrence, KS.)
The way I usually respond to this feeling of non belonging is by trying to be of service. In an odd way, helping others is one technique for distancing oneself from them. Being the humble servant allows you to hide, even though everyone can see you serving. (My Sun is in the 6th house). (And I'm a practical person anyway, I get antsy when I'm not being productive. But that's another story...)
About a week before the Subverting the Norm conference, I began to get really anxious. "What have I done? Signed up for a stupid conference at the height of the semester's busy season? I must have been crazy. This is ridiculous. A huge waste of time and money, and nothing will come of it. Another dead end, I'm sure of it. Oh well. Too late now. I'll just have to swallow my disappointment, accept the emptiness of life once again, and move on." I was getting buyer's remorse... in advance!
My dreams and my intuition told me, though, that what was really happening was I was stirring up all those old painful places of rejection again. I've gained enough wisdom in life to know that this is a good thing, even though it's hard. In one sense, what was really going on was, my heart decided it needed to be triggered, to try to reenact my wounds, but with a better ending this time. For this, all I needed was a conference, any conference, it didn't matter the content. A Large Group of People that could potentially reject me and make me feel marginalized and worthless, but hopefully this time I could forge my way through creating new reactions and feelings. (I've reenacted this attempt many, many times in my life... so part of me was really skeptical that anything would be different this time. But my life has been going through SO much transformation lately, I dared to have a tiny sliver of hope that maybe... something would happen this time...)
To be continued!