I have been trying to find ways to connect with people that aren’t focused on making friends. Group activities where I feel engaged relax me, rather than make me feel out of place.
So far, a racquet-ball game is the winner. It reminds me of childhood and college and I have so much fun.
I also tried a women’s spiritual group; a singing group; a cooking class–I got terrible food poisoning.
I belong to a book group and I used to go to a reading group, where we’d sit and read, but I prefer to read on my own. This year I discovered Liane Moriarty’s novels. Her quirky, flawed characters touched me and made me laugh. I felt I had several heartwarming friends. I also loved Sarah Selecky’s novel, Radiant Shimmering Light. Her heroine’s struggles to make friends reminded me of mine and I laughed a lot. Recently, I enjoyed Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated. I could relate to the challenges she had to be seen and heard in her family. I appreciated this quote: “My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.”
It has taken me years to speak up and own my truth. I was brave last week in a writing class (another attempt to to be with people without making friends). The instructor was more focused on others’ needs than mine. I spoke up. Not just once, but several times. I was my best ally that day. I advocated for me.
Sometimes finding ways to connect with people is really about connecting with myself.