Birthdays for strangers


I don’t like going to parties. Never really have. Sometimes it is just easier being an anonymous and lonely traveller on the road of life..sitting in front of my computer … reading my cyberstory as I wish it could be written. The actual face-to-face encounters are always more unsettling than the script, leaving me insecure, uncertain of who I am supposed to be in time and space. Nowhere is this brought to earth more painfully for me than with my extended family. We grew up in different environments, with different parents. I lived with either my father, or in fostercare. Theirs is a history that I will never be able to share- summer holidays that I spent alone while they travelled with each other…another world..another emotional universe. But I lived my life trying to please an older sister- like I tried to please my father- saying things that I thought she wanted to hear, doing things that I thought would make her happy. Trying to be ‘encouraging, supportive’, while at the same time never revealing too much of my own fears. After all it’s the ‘brush off’ that is always the hardest to take. It’s the cold voice on the other end of the phone juxtaposed with Hallmark birthday superficiality. It’s never really knowing someone that you wish could have been your best friend. I look at old black and white photos and wonder…is this the same person? I sometimes reflect on how my early relationships have affected the way I engage with people today. I am still a slavish people-pleaser…afraid of doing something ‘wrong’..affected by the moodiness of coworkers. My sister grew up with a best friend, and remains connected to her to this day. In fact, she had several really close friends throughout school as I remember. She would fight with them, and still be friends later. I was too afraid of anger to risk knowing and being known like that. The only person that knows me completely, and has never rejected me- apart from God- is Greg (oh, and yes, Chris N., and Cathy S…and a few other dear friends.. like Robyn). I feel safe with him (and them) in a way that I will never feel safe around my sisters. I wish it could be different..I wish I could share in the relationship that they have with each other. But I am the stranger.

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