Sometimes I feel aimless. A wandering soul that can’t settle down to land on one place for long, or sometimes can’t even decide where to land at all. My only redemption and strength has been Jesus. The Holy Spirit is my ultimate comfort now. I am not saying that I don’t feel lonely anymore or that I don’t have fears, but I can rest in Him now.
My journey has been a strange path of loneliness in the midst of people. As a child I quietly struggled with anxiety and quietly dealt with it. I am not sure why or how it was onset. I moved with my family to Arizona when I was 12. My sister and I were the best and only friends we had for a while after moving here. Soon though, we began to have classes with other kids our age through co-ops and did things like go ice skating and have pool parties. We found a church family to be a part of and have remained part of that family for about nine years now. I remember being the new kid. I wore cowboy boots and jeans and my hat until I began to realize that the kids around me saw it as a bit odd. I was around “city kids” now. No more wrangling things around outside and getting a little dirty now and then. These kids were always dressed in style with clothes with well-known labels and they had cute haircuts. This was especially true in my youth group. Most of them went to the same Christian school and had common friends. There were lots of inside jokes that I didn’t understand and there was gossip about teachers who I didn’t know. I would literally stand on the outside of their circle and listen and wish that I could be a part of the conversation. Sometimes I’d get that stiff feeling of anxiety and fear in the middle of my stomach. I was desperate for community with someone. There was one time in particular where I tried to “break into” this circle of people and when I did, I said something that made no sense at all. Now I don’t kid around when I say it made no sense. I really said something as dumb/weird/odd as “the chickens flew through a castle”. They all looked at me in silence. And then I left.
It was a major moment in my life. I have had recurring dreams of this same scene played over and over again. I was so ashamed. I felt so inadequate and so out of place. I felt like I was not good enough to know how to communicate and survive in a place with peers my own age who were part of the normal, average, school kids crowd. There were things that were so common to them that I had never heard of. They talked about songs they liked, movies they had seen, and stuff on YouTube. It was all just stupid stuff that you yak about with your friends. On one hand, I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I knew that some things that they watched or did were below the standards I had set for myself. On the other hand, I felt like they looked at me like I was from a different species. I guess I was in a sense. I wanted to be a part of a group and I wanted to belong. But, I began to believe the lie that I was an outsider and always would be.
A few years later, my parents and I decided that I should try a college prep school close to where we live. I had been home-schooled up until this point in my life. I was just shy of 16. My “first day of school” was as a Sophomore. I spent a year and a half exceeding at my studies and going with the social flow. I wasn’t a social butterfly with my peers at all. I got along better with my teachers. I enjoyed talking to them and hearing what they had to say. Because I respected them and payed attention, I got called a kiss-ass on more than one occasion. I was so naive and so ignorant of the dog-eat-dog, catty mess of school cliques and politics. I was so trusting and just wanted to be approved of. I thought that if I did my best, I would be. I’d soon painfully find that that wasn’t true.