Not to sound like a whiny victim (which means I'm about to sound like just that), but throughout my life, I've repeatedly struggled with getting and/or feeling left out, excluded, ostracized, overlooked, swept aside, ignored...You get the idea.
I don't generally see or hear very many people talking about the deep emotional scarring that comes with feeling like you don't belong anywhere. As a perpetual outcast, I feel the need to be a voice for all the other perpetual outcasts of the world...The outcasts who Google things like "I get left out of everything" at 2 in the morning while squinting at the results on their screen through red, puffy eyes...And then not finding anything better than a wikihow article that tells them to just get out and talk to people. (GEE, IF ONLY I HAD THOUGHT OF THAT.)
My ongoing experiences with exclusion go way back to elementary school. There was a girl in my class named LeeAnn (NAMEBOMB) and I really wanted to be her friend. That's it. I wanted to play kickball with her at recess and be invited to her secret club house meetings and talk about last night's math homework with her. I had a simple craving for her companionship, and I don't think I was weird or pushy about it at all. But alas, she confronted me one day and basically told me that she wanted to be my friend, but just didn't want me hanging around her all the time. Then she never spoke to me (or acted like a friend to me) again. BAM. RIGHT IN THE SELF-ESTEEM. And similar incidents have been taking place in my life ever since---being the third (or fourth or fifth or sixth) wheel while hanging out with a group of people, being the person who walks either in front of or behind two other people on the sidewalk, contributing something awesome or witty to a conversation only to get drowned out by someone cooler or ignored altogether, not getting invited to things...The list goes on and on and on.
The constant ostracization I've suffered has almost completely prevented me from trying to get close to people at all. If I get the slightest nugget of an inkling that someone doesn't want me in their life, I keep my distance. Or worse yet, I let resentment build up in my soul like a flesh-eating virus if I really wish they would like me and they don't seem to.
Being left out and forgotten hurts, even if you're not as ridiculously sensitive as me. No one wants to feel like the ugly duckling, waddling in the background and trying to keep up. It sucks. And it's okay for it to suck. I totally get it.
If you're currently suffering from a "nobody seems to like me" hangover, the following words of potential comfort are for you...From one fellow outcast to another:
~ Make room for the people in your life who DON'T treat you like you're nothing...even if you can only think of a couple. A couple of true friends are worth more than a million fake ones. Spend as much time with those people as you possibly can, and they will fill in the gaps that those other people will never be able to. Also, Internet friends totally count. But real life friends are better because they can hug you and hold your purse while you go into a bathroom stall that doesn't have a purse holder. (EVERY WOMEN'S BATHROOM STALL NEEDS A FREAKING PURSE HOLDER, AMIRIGHT?)
~ You have permission to bitch and moan a little, as long as you don't make bitching and moaning your trademark. I try really hard not to bitch because most people have better things to do than listen to someone bitch. But a true friend will let you bitch all you want and still validate your right to bitch about whatever you're bitching about. So the next time someone excludes you from something for the umpteenth time, feel free to bitch your little heart out. It's good for you.
~ It is okay to be angry, sad or lonely in the same way it would be okay to say "ouch" if someone punched you in the face. Being left out is like a metaphorical, emotional punch in the face anyway, so ignore all the bullshit articles and books that tell you to stay positive or choose joy when all you feel like doing is throwing darts at a picture of the person who repeatedly snubs your attempts at companionship. Do whatever YOU need to do to feel better. Go for a run until your lungs feel like they're about to explode. Write an angry letter and then delete it. Go out with a friend and vent about how horrible people can be to each other. Go to the beach by yourself and watch the waves. Eat a giant bowl of chocolate ice cream and watch re-runs of your favorite show. Grieving a friendship or relationship that never was and never will be is exactly the same as grieving a friendship or relationship that has died or faded. Feelings of rejection, anger, sadness and loneliness come along with both of those situations, do they not? So don't berate yourself for feeling whatever it is you feel. Your feelings are valid and acceptable.
~ You can always talk to me if you're suffering through anything that has been discussed in this post. I will understand. I will let you bitch to me. I might even bitch to you and tell you about all the stuff that inspired this post---stuff that I refuse to passively aggressively blog about because I don't want to be THAT person. Believe it or not, there are people out there who will understand you and include you, and I try really hard to be one of those people. YOU MATTER TO ME.
p.s. Happy birthday, America. xx