Monday, January 22, 2007

I Am An Alien

americcan gov render of an alien

I feel like I don't belong.

In mid-December we moved to a small Saskatchewan town, with a population of about 400 people (town and surrounding area). I was raised in small-town Saskatchewan, in a community of a similar size as where we moved to. There are many similarities between the two towns and so I thought that moving here would be sort of like "moving back to my hometown." It is in some ways, but it isn't in a lot of ways. The demographic similarities and statistical data are similar, but I still feel like an Alien.

"Alien" can be defined as follows: stranger; anyone who does not belong in the environment in which they are found.

Yes, that sums it up in a nutshell. I feel like I don't belong in the environment in which I currently am in. Don't get me wrong. I love our house and the acreage and the peace and serenity that brings. I'm not sorry that we moved here. But I miss having a sense of "belonging" like I did in the other town we lived in. I know we've only been living here for a month, but there are times I feel like an alien, and it mostly stems from my experiences on school skating days.

School skating days have happened 3 times this month, and parents are encouraged to attend so that they can help tie skates and give assistance to the kids out on the ice if they need it. My boys need assistance, because they haven't had much experience skating. However, they are loving it. And I'm glad for that!

But what happens at the skating rink prior to the arrival of all the kids is what's really bugging me. The first day I was there, I was the one who had to make "small talk" with the other moms. I introduced myself to everyone, but only one person gave me her name back. Like, they all know who I am, but I've got no idea who they all are, and it feels like it's going to be that way forever! The next two times of going to the skating rink, I didn't say a word to anyone. No one made an effort to even make eye contact with me or even say "Hello." So, I just stood there like a bump on a log, waiting for my precious boys to charge through the door so that I could have my security and sense of belonging back. Once I saw their smiling faces I felt better and then I could focus on them and not have to worry about why no one was speaking to me.

Because of the town's small size, everyone knows the circumstances surrounding the purchase of our acreage and why it was sold (the prior owners had a marriage break-up), and everyone knows we bought the "Smith" acreage, but that's about all they say once they find out my name. I don't want to discuss the details of the marriage break-up. I don't want to discuss history. I just want to become friends (or at least acquaintaces) with the current residents of the town and surrounding area. I want to be included in conversations. I want to be known and respected. I want to feel like I belong here. But that isn't happening. I know all of my expectations won't be met overnight. But it seems like I haven't even made a single ounce of progress in the area of meeting new people or making new friends, and I don't feel welcome here.

I do realize that living in the country doesn't help. If we lived in town I probably would have at least had one conversation with my neighbors by now. But I go to help at school skating week after week, not making any progress in the friendship area. People don't seem to be reaching out. It's strange. In looking back over my encounters with other people in this town, I've always had to make the first contact. Well, I'm getting tired of it! It's not in my nature to just "barge" my way into a social circle. If I were 10 - 15 years younger, I probably would. But I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago. I used to be a lot more outgoing. But somewhere along the way I lost my confidence to be that way and seem to be a lot more self-aware now when entering a new social realm.

Why do I feel like I'm back in elementary or high school again, trying to earn the favor of the popular group? I hate feeling like this. What's wrong with me? Is it my appearance? Is it my kids? Is it my clothes? Is it my house? Why won't anyone reach out?

Oh, I wish there was some answer to this dilemma. I think I've already set myself up for defeat, and I've concluded that I'm not even going to try. I do know 2 women here (not that well, but well enough that I know their names), and they live on farms near us. But I guess I was kind of waiting for them to make the first move as far as connecting. Since that's not happening, I'll have to just make the effort to at least call them up for coffee.

I just feel horrible about myself right now and I'm not in a good emotional space, so I'll need to try when I'm feeling better about myself and life in general. Okay, now that I've let that all out, I feel a bit better. But I think I'm going to just let this rest for a while and appreciate the anonymity I currently have add up all the pros of living where we do.

But I still don't like being an Alien.


jillarae said...

Try to keep yourself a secret for as long as you can, you will soon be asked to serve on every committee you can imagine. All of your wonderful talents are just lurking behind your alien facade, waiting to be used by all those you meet. It is tough in a small town to break in, remember how you already had all your friends when you lived in a small town. They are not used to change, and you are a change. Reach out and keep reaching out Kim, you are so worth knowing. Plug yourself in and you will be rewarded. Perhaps there is someone needing you in that town... I'll keep you in my prayers.

Kimmy said...

Thanks, Jilla.
I was thinking maybe it's my hair that's the problem. Perhaps blondes are intimidating. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Becky said...

Awwww. That sucks. I felt that way about Yorkton for a long time. (I still do a little actually. Native Yorktoners are just a group unto themselves, and I will never really be one of them.)

What helped me most was joining the community theatre group here. Almost all of my friends are from that group. The other ones are from my church. So I guess my advice is to join something, anything, and hope the everyone else isn't as clicky as the moms at your kids skating thing.

I'll pray for you whenever I'm feeling lonely here.


Kimmy said...

Thanks, Becky. I appreciate your care and concern. HUGS back!

jillarae said...

yup, you are right, you are just too dang blonde and beautiful!!

Kim said...

Can I ever relate to this one. I actually tried calling you after I read it. I have just entered the hockey mom world over here and I too feel like I'm in highschool again some days. I'd love to chat with you, give me a call.