There is something unsettling about being the new kid on the block. I have some deep seated fear of being wrong, or different or standing out – in a bad way. When I was a kid I would worry that maybe school really didn’t start today or maybe the clocks really didn’t go back or forward over the weekend and I would be late or I was wearing the wrong uniform ( in our Catholic elementary and high school, there were different uniforms for different times of the year ). I am sure that I could provide hours of analysis for some very bored psychologist or psychiatrist – and we haven’t even brought up the fear of dying by suffocation, yet.
Anyway, I must preface this with the fact that I have met some very welcoming people and made some very wonderful friends since we moved, but I still can feel like an outsider. How long does it take for one to feel that they “fit” in? I was invited to a home party event this evening and there were familiar faces and everyone, even the unfamiliar were extremely friendly, but when people start talking about “so and so” or “this family” or “that person”, I can feel very, very out of the loop. I don’t know who they are talking about, I cannot share in their amusement or astonishment or concern or anger. I have no idea and certainly no right to judge or even comment on that which I don’t know. So, I sit. Quietly. I take it all in, smile when appropriate, nod when necessary and wonder to myself – when will I be one of “them”? One who will know exactly who Jane Doe is when they mention her name and how wonderful she is at this or how sad it is that she is no longer doing that? With each new journey in life, there are challenges and for me, this is one of them. I guess that deep down, I need to feel like I belong – again, a psychotherapist’s dream, I am sure – and while I am working on it and I have some truly wonderful people to help me along the way, I am not there yet. It is hard to walk away from the comfort of knowing mostly everyone and everything – something that I just felt like I had accomplished after 15 years of living in the same town in NJ – familiar faces in church, in the grocery store, at the school. I guess that here I am so much more fortunate, as these people welcome you with open arms, open doors and open hearts. Different from NJ, better. I just have to get over my own insecurities and realize that making friends and acquaintances is a lifelong project, not something to be mastered quickly.