Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Girl

I wonder when I'll stop feeling like I'm a guest in someone else's home.

Sometimes I'll find myself chanting things aloud: This is my house, this is my house, this is my house... this is my town, this is my town, this is my town...

This is my life...

I'm here.
I'm doing it. 'It' being something different and weird and unknown. It's just happening. I think that if my life was confined to existing in my house and getting around town (and spending money), I'd be okay. The hard part comes in finding community, looking for a job (so I can spend money), attending classes which require a whole lot of reading and self-discipline... essentially creating a new life for myself. Everything so far has seemed pretty emotionally effortless. Diving in deeper is what scares me.

I think this going to be especially hard in relationships. At this point in my life I sort of feel like I have enough good friends. I don't need anymore. I want to extend effort in maintaining the friendships that I already have...not exert energy in trying to make new ones. It's exhausting to think about the repetitive conversations that I'll have over and over again as I get to know new people. Some part of me just wants to know the people I already know, to find comfort in the fact that I don't have to give background for why I am the way that I am, to be in silence with others and not have it be awkward.

I know...
I know It's not feasible and it's not actually what I want. It just feels easier to be an elusive hermit who goes to class, goes to work, goes to church....and then hides out the rest of the time.

But, in reality there's a part of me that's excited about new friendships and investing in new people and vice versa. It's just hard to think about reaching the same level of friendship that I already have with others... and I think I want to expedite the process. I want to immediately have friends. Good friends.

I recognized just tonight that I can't expect these things to happen on their own, either. I have to be willing to put forth effort. I think when we are the 'new person' we have this expectation that others should come to us, others should reach out to us, others should include us...but a lot of times we're unwilling to make the same effort ourselves.

I was talking to a girl who is in the same program as me and was thinking, 'It'd be really nice to talk to her more about all of this stuff and maybe get to know her more. I hope she'd be willing to hang out with me.' And in that, I realized I had this expectation that she should be making this effort to help me out in my transition to school. Upon such a realization, I decided that was ridiculous and that she probably had a lot going on, and so I began to ask her how busy her life was in the next few weeks which immediately took us to a mutual agreement that we should hang out. Just like that! Give and take.

Perhaps she's cool enough that she would have initiated hanging out with the new girl on her own, but I think it's always helpful when both parties are willing to make an effort.

It's something to consider if you're ever the new person. Whether that's in a class, or at church, or at a job, or in a family, or wherever. To be willing to put yourself out there, to initiate connection beyond casual get-togethers, to truly be interested in other people's lives without expecting them to take you in and take care of your needs. I think it's good. And I think I'm going to have to do a whole lot more of it, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel sometimes. I honestly think it will be an important way to develop true, meaningful friendships.

And, shoot, if you see a new kid around...don't hesitate to eat lunch with them, invite them to join you for something, take time to make them feel like they matter...

It's easy to feel lost and alone when you're the new girl, but it doesn't have to be where you remain.

Choose to engage.

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