Odd Girl Out

I never felt like I belonged to my family. I lived their dynamic hovering on the outside looking in. Mom and sister always seemed to have secrets between them that I never seemed good enough to know. I didn’t feel included or chosen. I was often told to go away, things were none of my business that I was just a kid.

Years of abuse in a cult weren’t the only aspect of my childhood that would chart my future relationships. I would feel like an outsider in almost every part of my life. Even now I often feel the same way; either unnoticed, misunderstood or both. Highschool was often a filmy dissociation. I hover in most of my memories, seeing my life from a third perspective view.

Living on the edge of cloudy hazes turns loneliness into a quiet craving to always be alone. Just as a prisoner becomes accustomed to their cell, I have become accustomed to solitude and absent intimacy. If I wish for anything, it is to be beautifully courted, slowly, with time, respect and patience where I am whisked into lands of surprises by eyes telling me that I am accepted and loved. i know, but a woman can wish.

I feel as if I am stepping over a milestone where I won’t be able to turn back. Aloneness will have settled in so deeply, I will make the outskirts my permanent home.

From around eight until I was a teenager, my mother, sister and brother all told me that my father wasn’t quite sure that I was his. I spent many a day examining my siblings’ features in comparison to mine. I was tall and lanky, while they were shorter and stockier. My lips were more plump. Hmmm.

I picked it all apart, adding to the story, which confirmed in my own head that I was in fact the product of my mother’s alleged affair. I even spent some years wondering how I could find my “real” dad until finally, in my adulthood, I posed the question openly. It was greeted with laughter by my siblings and mother. What a joke, they said. How could I believe something so silly?

How could I not? How could they tell a child their father wasn’t their real father? Since when did “I cheated and got you” become a joke?

At 38 years old, I finally got a chance to ask my father, if he ever doubted that I was his.

“Absolutely not.” He said firmly and without a second of hesitation. “I always knew you were special and undoubtedly mine.”

There was a slight quiver in his voice, and a pause filled with emotion. Pain. A man hurting. That’s what those three seconds told me. My whole body felt his loss.

My father had loved me, but I was ripped from him, then taken into a sick world where I would always be the ghost girl, drifting on walls, watching other people’s movie screens. I’d be the girl who grew into the shadow of a woman, still fragile beneath a shell.

I am a woman remotely viewing human lives, sitting on the outside. I watch lips mouth lies to one another. I see lovers gazing at each other. I tap my pen against my cheek. I am conditioned for being different.

It is sometimes a rabid duality, to both crave togetherness and aloneness, all in the same breath. Somewhere, someone understands the balance some of us need between together and alone. I only hope one day to meet them.