The Empty Spaces Inside Me

I seem to have lost my online friend. He no longer talks to me and I can’t blame him. I miss him a great deal, I feel like a limb has been lost.

Sometimes it is hard to come to terms with the fact that I am older and I am alone and will remain so.

Just when you think you have accepted being alone someone makes you feel like you might have some hope of sharing a bit of your life. Not necessarily with them, but because they find you decent or attractive you think “Maybe someone out there WOULD like me and be willing to put in the work.” When they stop paying attention to you that hope seems to die as well and the grieving process begins all over again. Luckily it doesn’t happen often to me.

It makes me feel overly dramatic and self centered, both things I abhor.

Last night I attended a meetup with others who have left the faith. I didn’t hold back much, and though it makes me look crazy I just let it all out in the open, my experience, what has happened to me, the effects. I didn’t want to let it out in pieces or wait for later. I want to listen more than I talk when I go to these things. I did not name names, though. It is SO EMBARRASSING to be myself, to have made the choices I made and to have to own it. I joke around a lot but there is so much shame under there. What kind of crazy person gets involved with the people and the movements that I do- by choice rather than by birth?

I really liked these people. They are not necessarily people who have lived like I have, they seem a bit sheltered, which makes me happy for them. Probably they have nice families who have looked out for them. It was weird to greet and leave them without the customary rituals common to our former religion, I might never become accustomed to foregoing that. I missed them immediately, as I walked away. I get attached quickly, often without reason. It makes me a great wife and in-law but it’s not much use with everyone else.

I left the children with a sitter, and I think this is the first time in 14 years that I have gone to meet up with strangers. It is certainly the first time I have left them with a sitter to do something that had nothing to do with them or their issues. The first in over nine years.

I will go again. I don’t know that I will be much help. I am not skilled with small talk or conversation, I do better in emergencies, better when working. Maybe they will put up with me, if I am lucky. Perhaps I will get better at social cues. It is hard to pick up cues from sensitive, educated people after so many years spent in isolation. Five years in American culture does not prepare one.

There were four other people there. That is how hard it is to leave the faith in this area. Their membership seems to be less than ten. Other chapters in other cities always show more.

I will never again automatically be treated like family by perfect strangers and never again will I do the same with others. There is no sisterhood for me, no shared faith, no comforting words. I am an outsider and it breaks my heart. Everything was easier when I belonged. When I belonged to a family, to a culture, to a community. I am not comfortable anywhere else and it is no more.

I can’t replace any of it. I don’t think there is any substitution.

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4 thoughts on “The Empty Spaces Inside Me

  1. I am sorry that your online friend is gone. I have lost so many friends both online and in real life. Years later I still wonder about them and miss them.

    Good for you that you went to the group and actually shared what happened to you! You may be right that the others did not go thru the same things as you, but regardless I am sure that there are some commonalities that you share with them. I think they will benefit from having you in the group, and I hope you will benefit from them as well.

    I have read about these groups and wished that I could attend one. I don’t really know where I stand in my beliefs as I neither want to abandon it all nor continue adhering as strictly as I have had to. I don’t know if there will ever be a peaceful place in my conscience. What I do want is the chance to talk openly with others who understand how the religion has damaged me without having to feel guilty for saying it. I have wanted to start my own blog for a long time, but I am so messed up, I wouldn’t know where to start.

    I am sure it is hard for you to not have that sense of belonging and community that you once had. However, maybe you are only missing the good without remembering the bad? For me, as often as I felt that warmth of sisterhood there were/are just as many times that I felt excluded and alone in the crowd.

    • Yes, there was a lot of bad that I often forget. I was not a real adherent, as I was a convert, I was ignorant of this or that we ought to say for this or that, I did not have all the verbage down, did not know so and so… Most of all I think the worst was loving and trusting people who did not return the favor.
      I wish you would start your blog up, I would love to read it. For where to start I would start where you are, it’s far easier.
      I would rather see myself progress and be able to track it than tell a story. My blog is more for me than for a general audience, and more for those like me than for people completely alien to my frame of reference. I would rather support than educate a person.
      I am very, very, messed up. As much as I thought I would be less so as time went on I have a sneaking suspicion that the opposite has occurred. They say some things don’t surface until you are safe and I could blame it on that, but I think it is me. I think messed up is my actual normal, since childhood. So you would have some company.
      The meetups would understand your point of view, I am sure. At our meeting it was mostly “how are you” types of conversation rather than the sort of deep topics I would get at DV groups, but I am sure each chapter is different. You could always test it out online in forums or etc… in fact I would encourage you to do so.
      I am so glad to hear from you, it always lifts me up to know you are there, I feel we have so much in common. Best wishes to you and yours, take good care of you.

      • Thank you for your kind words. I hope that maybe when my youngest starts KG in the fall I might be able to start really writing and possibly blogging. To write anything at all could be dangerous. Something that I say and think at one moment could be used against me.
        Not writing is also equally bad, I risk forgetting again all the things that it took me years to remember. I risk falling back into the lull of believing that if I’m patient and self- sacrificing enough everything will turn out wonderful. I am so grateful that I found your blog, along with a few others out there that help me feel like I am not alone and not crazy.

  2. It might help if you cover your internet tracks. If you are unfamiliar with that, look up Tor and also utilizing proxy servers- maybe you can blog without trace. I know that lull. Keep vigilant, nothing else works as well. I remember when I was still with my abuser I logged some of the more serious incidents down in Phoenician (alphabetic) or Japanese hiragana (phonetic) on paper. He was unable to translate it. It was painstaking but effective, though it would have been smarter of me to make up my own code. Hang in there, you are not alone. Not at all.

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