Another event I didn’t know of.
This past Saturday there was another planned family event that no one told me about. It was my uncle’s engagement party. But he’s not that old he’s only 28 or near that age.
When my dad told me about the party I kind of didn’t want to go. I love my family but I’m always the odd one out and I never feel like I fit in because all of my cousins are older and I never know what to say to them. Anxiety doesn’t stop with family…
Actually, this is the environment I got my “shy” label from. This side of the family always saw me as quiet. But I was only like 7 when they gave me a label, they never even gave me a chance. Now, that label is over my head whenever they see me.
This is one of the reasons I didn’t wanna go. They never give me a chance. And I’m always gonna be a shy, little girl in their eyes.
As I said before, I love my family, but this was one of the worst nights of my life. I had SO much anxiety. I felt so uncomfortable and out of place. I felt like a stranger in my own family.
An actual stranger. One of my aunts had a baby that I didn’t even know about. And the uncle who was getting engaged? He has a brother and his brother is already married and has a kid. I didn’t even know this.
I thought the idea that no one told me anything was me being a lil dramatic but no. No one really tells me anything.
My anxiety was so off the charts, I don’t know how I didn’t break in the middle of the party. The only thing I ever did was sit at a table and conversate with some aunts and uncles who sat at the table but not much.
Maybe you’re wondering how I could just sit at a table while I was in a room of my extended family. I don’t know either. My anxiety is just… I don’t know. I honestly don’t understand how people can socialize. I had no idea what to say to anyone, what was I gonna talk about with people? I don’t know how to go up to someone and start a conversation. What would I even say to my middle-aged cousins? I don’t see my extended family that much, only at holidays… so I’m not really close to anyone. I didn’t know what to say.
It even feels weird typing it because honestly… What the hell is wrong with me? How can I not socialize with my own family?
I don’t know. How many times am I going to say that?
I just felt so out of the equation.
The uncle who was getting engaged? He came up from behind me and instead of a “Hi” or greeting or whatever he said, “Hey, instead of no-cializing, can you do me a favor? Can you take a picture?”
It was horrible. I knew I didn’t belong there. Even though my blood technically belonged there (because blood relatives) my body and my being were not meant to be there.
I remember I saw one of my cousins and she said “Hi” but the way she said it… she didn’t even say my family pet name or any name at all. She just said hi like I was a customer who walked into a store. And this cousin has known me since the moment I was born.
I always thought when I grew up with these great, at the moment, people around me they would be there to comfort me, to teach me things, to be a phone call away. When I was young, they paid attention. They cared more. But now that I’m a teenager? They don’t really care at all.
Or maybe that’s not true.
I think there might be some repressed memories I’m choosing to forget.
Because there’s one memory I remember that broke my heart back then and breaks it now.
It was Christmas and I was like prepubescent young maybe 8 or 9. Everyone gathered to take pictures: the young people of the family cousins, young uncles and aunts. And you know everyone was gathered to take the picture and everyone was standing and posing and then one uncle is like “Wait you guys forgot about Sisy!” (my pet name, short for sister. My bro gave it to me) It was the worst feeling in the world. I was literally forgotten and I was sitting right there. And then I got in the picture but it was like a pity picture.
And you know? They did that same exact thing the other day.
All the female cousins were gathered to take a picture. At first, I didn’t realize they were taking a picture then an aunt tapped me on the shoulder and enthusiastically said: “Sisy, go get in the picture!” But this aunt was the only one who noticed, none of the people posing for the picture could’ve cared less. And my aunt (the same one who told me to get in the picture) I think she felt a little bad for me because no one asked me to get in. But like I said before, no one posing cared less. So my aunt had to make the excuse that “Oh you’re not the cousin, right?” (in a nice, sympathetic way, I love this aunt) Because technically my mom was the cousin (she wasn’t in the picture either).
They did it to me in the past, they did it now.
As soon as we left, I got in the car and cried silent tears because this is my life. I didn’t fit in when I was a kid, I didn’t fit in now.
I don’t understand. Sometimes I don’t understand why I’m still here. How I’m still here. I can never picture myself not having anxiety, in general, but also with this family. How am I going to act when I get married or something? Will my husband’s family even like me? How can I even be okay with the term “extended family” when I’m as anxious as I am?
I know I’m reaching wayyy into the future. I’m only seventeen. But this is what I think about. I can’t see myself changing.
I can’t see things changing for me.
Do you ever wonder if your family really loves you or if it’s just forced? I know my mom, dad, and (
let’s be honest, sometimes) my brother loves me. But what about those who don’t know anything about me and vice versa? The ones who have drifted apart with time and hardships?
Does their love come from the heart? Or does it come from the blood?
Do they even like seeing me?
What is wrong with me? Why doesn’t anxiety stop with family?
The only difference from the past and the present is the knowledge of my anxiety. When I used to feel uncomfortable like this, I never knew what it was. But the worst part is, my family doesn’t know what it is.
They think I’m just like this because I’m a teenager with angst and unsociable means. When literally the idea of social interaction makes me feel physically, emotionally, and mentally uncomfortable.
Trust me, knowing that I have anxiety has made my life make more sense. But it has not made anything easier.