phantom limb syndrome

I lost a friend over the summer. They didn’t like some of my choices, and… okay, fair, one thing in particular was an interesting decision on my part, but at least everyone else who called me out on it saw the disaster for what it was. As opposed to my former bestie, who decided that another person in my life didn’t quite check off enough diversity//oppression boxes to be tolerated.

Ah, yes, because someone who’s knowingly screwed up someone else’s marriage should TOTALLY judge other people’s choices. Good grief, even the BUBBLE would draw the line against that one!!

So, that happened a while back, and it hit me this week how much I MISS said ex-friend. Like, I don’t miss the way they only liked me when our traumas mirrored each other, or the way they expected me to be SUPER SUPPORTIVE of *their* bizarre life choices while simultaneously guilt-tripping me about my own for TOTALLY BULLSHIT REASONS (yes, my wolf friend has both a dick and a personality; no, that does NOT make him pure evil)… but I miss the good parts. I miss having someone who’d experienced the bubble the exact same way I had and who understood that some things are just impossible to explain to outsiders.

A friend of a friend posted on FB this week that she didn’t find her husband attractive until after they were married and only accepted his interest in her ’cause of how spiritual he was. Every alarm bell in my body went off when I read that, and my first thought was that my ex-friend was probably the ONLY person in my circle who’d understand why that anecdote made me want to vomit. Except… ex-friend is ex-friend for REASONS. I don’t want them back in my life. I got a lot out of that friendship, but the lowkey manipulation and guilt were probably not worth the five years I sacrificed.

And yet there’s still that empty place where they used to be. Waiting, I guess, for someone else who managed to get out of the homeschool bubble WITHOUT drifting to an extreme. And hopefully the next person, the bionic arm in my future, will be a little less hypocritical. Fingers crossed.

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I’ve realized lately that I’ve developed a bit of a magnetism over the last few years. Whenever I need to grow a new leaf, so to speak, someone new comes into my life and offers new perspective on elements of my story that I’d previously overlooked or seen with different eyes. The timing is always perfect, one of those few things that makes me feel divine presence, and I’m so so lucky to get that.

As someone who didn’t really have friends until a couple years ago, it means a lot that I have people in my life who genuinely care about me and want to help me. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it in a big-picture way, but in little moments…

Moments like today, when my wolf friend accidentally got two different incidents confused and made a hilariously wrong assumption about something I’d done and my heart melted a little because if anyone else had said that I would’ve hit them but I’m getting used to my wolf’s strange sense of humor and it was the best thing that’s happened to me in ages.

Moments like yesterday, when I was with a potential new romantic partner and somehow ended up explaining the complexities and curses of growing up female in the Bubble, again heart-melting because it was so clear my partner had no experience with what I was talking about but he wanted to understand because that world created me.

Moments like a couple days ago when my friend Sam and I had an intense text convo about mothers with boundary issues and for once we were talking about how our families interacted with the outside world (and really, there’s a time and place for trying to impress people but wow do they ever tend to miss it) and it hit me that sometimes having matching scars isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Moments like midnight “guess what I did today!!” messages to Dara and/or Miranda, who are always proud of me even if they do think I’ve gone a little too far.

Moments like telling Liv about flashbacks and being reminded that I’m not alone and that breaking free sucks but rising from ashes is so worth it.

Moments like updating Rhonda on how many hexis I’ve made.

Hell, moments like checking my email and seeing that some of you lovely people have liked and/or commented on one of my posts here. A lot of the time I do feel like I’m yelling into a void, but sometimes the void yells back and it means so, so much to me that y’all occasionally give me attention.

I don’t remember the last time I felt lonely. Weird – that used to be my primary emotional state. I still feel sad a lot, and there are still relationship shapes I want but don’t currently have, but the overall feeling of alone-ness is pretty much gone. I have people now. I have an eclectic bunch of misfits who genuinely care about my existence and continued well-being. That’s new and weird and idk how I’m supposed to feel about it, but… okay. New leaves growing. I can do this.