Everyone in my department got everyone else in the department a Christmas gift. Except for me, because I can’t even buy my own family Christmas presents for the second year in a row.
We discovered last night in the mail just how shitty my health insurance is, by way of a bill that left me shaking for an hour and barely able to sleep (resulting in my 8 day and counting headache extending to day 9 and bordering on a migraine…again).
Michael still can’t find a job (not for lack of desperate trying), and it’s been hinted to me at work that my chronic migraines and illness are “concerning”. Due to lots of other insecurities and instabilities at work wholly unrelated to me or my health, I’ve been looking for another job anyway. I, too, can find nothing.
And to add insult to injury, just a stupid little thing: we usually get out of work early the day before a holiday. But not today. And our normal work hours suck anyway - til 5:45pm.
I’m angry. I’m scared. Terrified is more like it. I’m at the end of my rope, but I still have to keep going. We can’t afford for me not to. And people keep telling me, “God will provide.” And I’m starting to have a really, really hard time believing that.
So, Michael and I spent Saturday afternoon with one of my coworkers and his wife and new baby girl. I was more than a little apprehensive, and after we left his house I realized why. I’m not used to having friends and hanging out with people in a normal environment.
I’m not entirely sure what happened over the past few years. I think it’s been a combination of things.
When I moved away to Bob Jones, very few people kept in touch with me - and, admittedly, I kept in touch with very few people. I was mourning most of my first semester, and doing absolutely everything in my power to simply make it through every day without running out onto North Pleasantburg Drive during rush hour. I didn’t reach out to people for help…in fact, I’m sure I pushed people away.
Then Michael and I started dating. Then we decided we wanted to get married. I think that started pushing people away, too - I was so wrapped up in him. And then I slept with him, and boy did the shit hit the fan once people found out. Both of us lost friends - best friends - because of that, and because we dared to still get married, even though “obviously we weren’t good for each other spiritually.” What, because we’re sexual beings? Because we loved and trusted each other more than any other person on the planet and wanted to be together? Yeah, yeah, I know. Premarital sex is a big deal. Big no-no. I agree. But it’s not the end of the world, and it’s certainly not a reason to abandon a friendship. And it’s certainly not something to rub my face in or allude that any and all problems I have for the rest of my life stem from those two decisions (sleeping with him and still marrying him).
And I know that simply getting married weeds out friends. I’ve been one of those friends before, so I sort of understand it. I remember feeling like I couldn’t relate to the person anymore because we were in such different walks of life now. I just wish I knew then what I know now - that yes, things are different after you get married, but for pity’s sake you’re still you. It’s not like I’m suddenly a completely different person in no way related to who I was before marriage, or even before I met Michael.
And really…really, I am grateful for the friends I have. I feel like I sound like a spoiled child sitting in a corner crying, “No one will play with me!” But…I feel so trapped in my loneliness sometimes that when I get a glimpse of normalcy - of what normal, healthy friendships full of respect and love are really like - it’s almost like a knife in my heart of what I’m missing so much of the time.
I’m not sure what I’m hoping to accomplish with this. Just getting it off my chest, I guess.
Also, if anyone else touches my stomach and asks if I’m pregnant, I’m amputing an arm and saying loudly and meanly, “No, I’m not pregnant - I’m just fat because I’m anemic and I’ve gained weight since I got married. Any other rude questions or assumptions you want to make?”
Ugh. This weekend has been both wonderful and horrendous.
Religion is dogmatic, unsympathetic, uncaring and condescending. Religion says that I am better than you. That I have all of the answers. Religion leaves no room for doubt and certainly no room for mistakes.
I love this. I wish I had written it. Thanks for writing it for me, Paul. I wish people at my previous university understood this.
I anticipate Paige laughing uproariously as she sees this.