It’s been over a year since my last post. I really wanted to keep writing, but I could feel myself heading down a sad, dark path. I actually wrote 2 drafts (1 a year ago and 1 6 months ago), but they were so sad that I didn’t want to publish them. The first was about how sad I was at the 1 year anniversary of arriving in Virginia. The 2nd was explaining how much darker things had gotten.
I don’t really want to get into all the details, but there was a disagreement between my mother-in-law and myself around that 1 year mark. It caused a major split in our family that still hasn’t been repaired. Shortly thereafter, I had a final falling out with a not-quite-friend. While I suggested we just be civil with each other (since we shared a massive amount of mutual friends), she listed off all the things wrong with me and said she never wanted to be anywhere near me again. That was fine with me, but one of the things she said was that all of our mutual friends didn’t actually like me. Shortly thereafter, all of our mutual friends (save one) stopped talking to me for 4 months. It turned out that it was just a coincidence, but it was pretty devastating to be abandoned by everyone in the state all at the same time.
The whole thing made me very guarded about relationships, but it also served as a turning point. I spent the 1st year here trying desperately to blend in (and failing miserably). Once it seemed that everyone disliked me, I decided that I’d rather they dislike me for the real me. I mean, it seems like a lot of work to try and be someone you’re not just to please other people who aren’t pleased with you anyway! I went back to my crazy hair colors and outspoken personality. I stopped filtering myself (though, I still try to never intentionally be mean to people). Slowly, my friends started to come back. To be honest, though, I don’t trust many of those friendships. Before last fall, I would have considered 20 to 30 people my friends here. Now, I’m pretty happy to consider 5 or 6 my friends (with an even smaller group my “ride or die” ladies).
The hardest part was trying to keep it all together for the kids. They’re very smart and highly perceptive, so they knew things were weird. Friends who used to visit no longer came around. Family stopped inviting us to things. It was awkward, but they got through it. Actually, it served as a good lesson in being able to find joy without large groups of people. It made the kids more willing to play with new people at parks instead of sticking to their little group of friends. Seeing me be me again also seemed to make it easier for them to be themselves again, too. Their personalities returned and flourished. They’ve also become more understanding about people who are different. Hilariously, it means that they’re more tolerant about the mainstream beliefs of Virginia that are so foreign to us.
We’ve now been here for 2 years. I think we can all agree that the experiment of living in Ant’s hometown has come to an end. We’re looking forward to the next chapter of life, which will include the excitement of moving back across the country. And with that, I return to writing. 🙂