Today, via Facebook post from and old work colleague who probably doesn’t even realise I follow her work page, I found out that an old mentor of Mr.DB and I is in the country.
She watched over both of us while we gap-yeared away at a Christian outdoor center (Mr. DB and I were both there at different times) and she left to return to her native country shortly after I left the center. Now she has returned to sunny (uncharacteristically sunny) Scotland for a few months but will be leaving in around 10 days time.
I feel… odd. I feel like Mr.DB and I should have known she was back on Scottish soil but I also know why we didn’t. We lost touch. Not just with her but with a lot of people, friends, from our times at the center. Part of this is laziness yes, in Mr.DB’s case some of it is linked to his anxiety. For me though…
I actively chose to distance myself when I left the center. Leaving was hard for me, I loved it there and I loved the people there and I knew if I didn’t distance myself I would struggle to do anything that didn’t lead me back there. I still have moments when I see things posted on Facebook that make me long to go back.
I also didn’t want the people I left behind there to know how I was coping (or not coping) with leaving and specifically moving back into my parents home. Just as my parents had often told me to give up my life at the center and move home, I didn’t want anyone from the center to tell me to give up my life “outside” and move back.
As time moved on and Mr.DB and I married we moved to a remote area where meeting up with people was harder. And then I fell pregnant and that pregnancy was so hard on me emotionally, I couldn’t face those people seeing me struggle (despite knowing that some of them had seen me at the very bottom of my ability to cope).
Even now, 3 kids and 10 years after I left, I still feel like hardly any time has passed and everyone I knew then will still see me as this awkward teenager who couldn’t handle being complimented and often had no idea what she was doing. I worry that they won’t see me as a grown-up (not that I always feel like a grown-up unless I’m doing dishes or folding laundry) and that everything I’ve done since leaving will be judged and found wanting. Like they worked so hard to turn mend my brokenness and I just haven’t done enough with it.
There is even a part of me that worries they will regret ever letting my on the gap year.
So I don’t keep in touch. And then today to see that post and find my old mentor’s blog and realised what news we had missed. It made me wonder. Did I really do the right thing pushing everyone away?
But how do I mend that bridge without admitting that I sabotaged it in the first place? How do I reconnect with people I deliberately ignored for so long? Tonight I wish I knew but maybe tomorrow I’ll feel embarrassed by it all and go back to ignoring them all.