I went to a bible study at my church that my church mentor, M, recommended to me. It’s specifically for women in their 20s. She put me in contact with the woman who runs it, and the woman hooked me up with the book they’re using. The book is called Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them.” Because I tend to see practically everyone else as “more normal” than I am, I thought the book would be a good one for me to read.
So I dove into the book, being 6 chapters behind the rest of the group. I mostly agreed with the author’s ideas, except for the chapter about reading people. It was one of the two chapters we were going to discuss at the meeting. The author suggested that those who are bad at reading people come across as rude, offensive, and uncaring. He said that no one wants to be around someone who is bad at reading people. I took offense to that. While I’m hopeless at reading people and their body language, I don’t think I’m almost ever rude or uncaring. I absolutely hate rudeness and I try really hard never, ever to be that way, to anyone. So I was frustrated at the prospect of being called rude. Maybe this guy had forgotten that some people truly can’t read people. It’s not always a choice.
I went to the meeting on Tuesday night and found myself there 15 minutes early. I like to be early everywhere so that I can adjust to my surroundings before everyone else gets there. It gave me a chance to talk with the woman who leads the group. Slowly, the other members of the group came in and started to talk. I could feel the confusion build, with multiple conversations happening at once. We sat in a circle, and everyone laughed and talked. I absolutely hated the feeling of being in the middle of a conversation without being able to follow it or participate.
I thought that once things settled down and focused on the book, it would be better. We went around and introduced ourselves. I said that I’m Lydia, and I love animals, especially cats. Everyone else did the same. I found out that the other girls all lived on their own and had “real” jobs (a nurse, a physician’s assistant, an accountant, and a teacher). I didn’t feel like I was somehow less than them, I just felt out of place, like we didn’t have much in common. As we got into the book, everyone stopped talking. I was hoping for a close-knit group that would want to discuss the deep topics in the book, but that’s not what I found. Instead, the more difficult the topics got, the quieter everyone became. No one wanted to open up.
I was frustrated. I would have been able to talk more about the stuff in the book because I had already planned my answers. But no one wanted to talk about that. I couldn’t participate in the social conversation, but that’s the only conversation there was. I spent the whole time sitting in silence.
The whole experience just reinforced how different I really am from my peers. I can’t keep up with them when it comes to work, social lives, boyfriends, husbands, conversation… I feel like I’m stuck in childhood or adolescence while they’ve all moved on to adulthood. I think I’ll go back to the group, but I definitely haven’t found my niche in the church yet. There’s a “ministry to the disabled” that meets twice a month that I’m looking into. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be for severely disabled adults or for people, well, like me. I’m working on finding out more about it. Maybe I’ll fit in better there.