I get this question now and then. I hear, “I am a burden to my family.” Or, “I’m just a drain on everyone.” Or, “I really don’t want to trouble anyone with my problems.”
Or what do when you find out rather suddenly, when you put two and two together and figure out those very nice folks really don’t want the likes of YOU hanging around? That they might be allowing you in, but they’re only doing this because they feel sorry for you, and would rather you weren’t there at all.
I’ve felt that way at many of the places I’ve been. Like I was the “charity case” being allowed in, but that I was not really wanted. Like I had nothing to contribute, really, but this was all tokenism, and maybe they’d include me, just to be “nice.”
I always felt that way when I was a young girl about the so-called “special education” program at our schools. At one point, I got rather vocal about it. I had a hard time explaining what I meant. I felt that that so-called “retarded” kids really needed to have a voice, not tokenism. Instead, it was like that “special ed” class was always on the fringe. I felt so sad about it. And then, I left my hometown and saw many sad things over a number of decades. I even knew folks my own age who had children who I suppose attended the equivalent of such classes.
I remember seeing rather sad situations many years ago. I’d meet someone, say a victim of domestic violence who was suddenly in need of a place to stay. She’d remember her dear friends, ones who had given her numbers and told her, “You can call anytime.” So she’d have that list. I’d watch her go down that list, one by one. It was the saddest thing I’d ever seen, and I didn’t want to tell her. “You’ve been screwed.” I never said a word. Because every single one of those friends turned their backs. I knew this was happening. That’s what occurs when a person is in a tight spot. Sure, those friends had spare rooms and warm beds, plenty of room to spare and probably wanted the company and help around the house. But they didn’t want a “person with problems” around, did they? They never called her back. I was heartbroken, and didn’t have the guts to say to her, “They aren’t your friends anymore.”
That was a long time ago. What I didn’t realize that a few decades later, a similar thing would happen to me. I would see my own friends and family turn their backs at the time I needed them most.
I have made so many attempts to join local groups in the Boston area and often felt on the fringe due to my social or economic status. I felt left out. I thought it was ironic to be among other educated people (I have a master’s degree) and hear folks discuss all sorts of academic topics and then make some snide comment about “people on welfare” or “those homeless people.” I would notice the exclusive language. When I spoke of poor folks, I said “we.” The others said, “those people.” This alone set me apart. I wondered why I would leave such gatherings in tears.
One day, my eyes were opened in a flash. I told myself, “Wait a minute. No one likes me here. There’s no point in my being here if I am not appreciated.” I swore I’d never go back. Why had it taken me so long to figure it all out?
I never really told anyone about that flash. When you recognize that lie. The big lie.
Not only YOU ARE NOT WANTED.
Not only YOU ARE NOT WANTED ANYMORE.
Not only YOU WERE NOT EVER WANTED
But WE WERE LYING ALL ALONG and JUST HUMORING YOU.
When people REALLY want to be friends with you, it’s obvious. They are your real friends not your friends once a week. Not e-mail only friends who flat out refuse to converse. Not friends who will refuse to have coffee with you and time after time make bogus excuses. Not friends who repeatedly won’t pick up the phone. Not friends who judge you based on what they’ve heard from others and won’t even see for themselves. Not people who hide from you when they see you in town because they are ashamed to be seen with you. What happened to me was tragic. It should not have happened.
So I asked myself at that point, “What should I do?” I tried to speak out about what had occurred. I knew it was all wrong. I knew others had been affected in a similar manner. I waited.
I did find many others in my situation, so I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew what I had been through was real, and everything was surely valid and not something I’d made up. It felt good to commune with others that had shared such things. However, to say to a group, “I was shit on, too,” didn’t feel all that great after a while. Those support groups seemed contradictory after a while. I didn’t know what to do.
Some folks make a business of being “broken.” Oh, they love to talk about how “broken” they are. They go to Broken Kiddie Camp and the like. I sure didn’t want that! All around me, all I see are broken gadgets, torn clothes, stuff that no longer works, and if I look in the trash bin, bits of a dish I accidentally dropped a while back and tossed. In fact, the only thing that ain’t broken is ME and my little dog Puzzle! What the heck is this “I am broken” thing about? I am the only thing NOT broken around! I am made to last!
You hear that many in my situation die. Not me. I am not dead. As for suicide, not that, either. I hardly ever consider doing myself in. Less and less these days. I suppose at this point far lower than the national average. Shall I be written in a statistics book as “healthy”? Anyway, joking aside, since hardly anyone gives a shit, and some literally would love to see me dead, I am determined to keep ’em waiting a good long time. So that means I had to get rather creative to think up some, er, alternative.
Stay posted. That’s all I can say.
See ya later….or I guess no one would like to see me? You all said that rather clearly, didn’t you? That wasn’t very nice…..