I started a new class at the Y this morning. It was a different experience than the cardio kick class I was in before. That class was very large, and I felt like just one of the herd there, a nameless face in the crowd. I loved the energy of the class though, it was a lot of fun and I liked the instructor’s style, and the workout was great. But I didn’t feel any connection to any of the other people there, or even to the instructor (except that when she was looking at me I really wanted to do well, good little submissive that I am.) I am sure she didn’t even notice when I stopped going, after I got my piercings.
This class was the total opposite. The class size is smaller, and the instructor made a point to not only introduce himself to me, but then introduced me to the rest of the class, who all seem to know each other. He talked to me several times throughout the class, asked me how I was doing, even teasing me good-naturedly several times during class. At first I was embarrassed–but slowly, I began to feel like a part of the group. Welcomed. It was an odd feeling, and made me a little uncomfortable at first. I have always been more comfortable just to the outside, looking in, and have never felt like a part of a group before that way.
Yesterday I was talking to W about the hiking club I joined several years ago. I told him about how I had discovered the beautiful spaces of Missouri that way (and coincidentally, discovered my own body and its capabilities as well.) I tried to remember why I had stopped hiking with them, and made some offhand remark about having discovered other (kink) “clubs” and having gotten involved in that so that I didn’t have time for hiking club anymore. Which is true: the two coincided and overlapped. But there was more to it than that.
I have always felt just on the outskirts of any of the normal groupings that human beings tend to congregate in. Perhaps because we moved around so much when I was a youngster, I never got that feeling of belonging to a place that so many people seem to do. I was always the newcomer, the outsider, and the world always seemed–and still does–to be made up of bewildering cliques of people that all seem to be part of the same, closed club, a club that I never had entree to.
I learned early-on not to want to be a part of them.
In thinking about it, I can see that is where my unreasonable, overactive fear of rejection has its roots. I have long been a “reject first at the first hint that I might get rejected” girl, and I can even see how this ties into the anxieties/insecurities I have experienced when my Others play with others. When all that was happening, I had written this long, rambling email to W. In it I had talked about this tendency of mine, to walk away, to reject first, even if the rejection that I was feeling or anticipating wasn’t even reality. I knew what I was feeling wasn’t reality, but I also know myself well enough to know my own triggers, and how I would have reacted/overreacted if I had felt even a hint of rejection. I desperately didn’t want that to happen, because, once done, stupid pride would not have allowed me to back down from it, and I love this relationship, I love him, and to lose that, because of my own fears…would be unconscionable. So…I wrote to him about it. And he said, “I don’t want you to back yourself into a corner.” It meant a lot that he got that–that my own fears could and would cause me to do that. That he did not take blame onto himself, but recognized that it was something I do to myself. And thus, could stop myself from doing. I needed that from him, and that one sentence has stuck with me as I work through this in the time since, as I have pondered what it is that causes me to react the ways that I do, to feel the ways that I do, and to try to find ways to deal with it in healthy ways.
I quit the hiking club because I felt like an outsider. But I wonder now if I made myself an outsider. If I “rejected-lest-I-get-rejected.” I wonder if they made me feel that way, or if I made me feel that way. My discomfort this morning at being “welcomed” into the exercise group was clearly a symptom of my own feelings of “otherness,” and having those boundaries I put between myself and social groups challenged, and even broached. I felt an internal cocking of my head at times, of seeing myself from outside looking in–was I really part of something, had I really been welcomed, no questions asked, into their circle?