As another year sneaks closer to an end, I feel like it’s time for me to write a new blog post. The hardest part of updating this blog is always starting to write it, so I’m just going to start. I’m going to leave it rough and unpolished. I’m going to publish it unedited and then I’m going to forgive myself for my mistakes. And, hopefully, this is a process that I can fully embrace in the new year.
Sometimes I feel like I’m just pressing my face against the window of my family members’ lives, yearning to feel the warmth of knowing them. If I can’t even forge a bond with my own blood relatives, it’s really no wonder that I struggle to build and maintain friendships. I watch my cousins live their lives on social media and grieve the loss of knowing them, having relationships with them, being someone that they could call and talk to about things. It’s an odd thing to feel grief when you haven’t really lost anything. You can’t lose something you never had.
I have never been close to my family. My sisters, for whatever reason, have never been had any desire to know and speak to me like a friend. I used to imagine that we would get over whatever walls stand between us with age, but as the years tick by, it’s clear that this just isn’t something that is going to happen. I have close to (if not more than) fifty first cousins. They all seem to have very close relationships to their own siblings, so it baffles me even more that I could be so different from all of the people related to me.
Which begs the question: What is wrong with me that I can’t bond with people?
If you’ve wandered here from my Twitter, you probably don’t know much about me. Here’s the thing, though: You probably know more about me than most of my family do. I am a private person. I keep my personal life and feelings guarded closely to myself and I always have. It prevents anyone from ever getting as close as I want them to be. I don’t know why, I don’t know how to stop, I don’t know if I’ll ever learn how to feel like a human is meant to feel. All I know is that I grieve for these relationships I don’t allow myself to have and don’t know how to pursue.
I know that this guarded approach stems from a deep paranoia of being judged. I am so afraid of being disliked, judged, misperceived – I never give anyone the opportunity to do anything at all. The funny thing is that I probably could reach out to any of my family and they would be warm and loving toward me, but I don’t know how to let that guard down. I don’t know how to allow people to really know me, so how can anyone truly love me?
So, I avoid Facebook because I don’t want to show my family any pieces of my life. I stay on Twitter where talking to strangers comes easier, as long as they remain at a distance and don’t ask too much of me. I chat about football because you’re allowed to tie your emotions up into sport without much judgment. And no one gets to know me. No one can ever say they know me. And that should make me feel safe, right?
Wrong. I am just left grieving the living, standing just outside the reach of their lives, not knowing how to get in.