Seeing the outsider

My search for meaningful connection

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I think (well, maybe hope) people look at me and see a confident, well spoken woman with plenty going for her. If this is the case, then that’s great as I’m sure there are worse things they could think!

When I look in the mirror though, I see the opposite. I see an unconfident, reserved, awkward woman who has passed her prime and doesn’t have a lot to show for it. That would make a great dating profile, wouldn’t it? I might try it some day. Well I would if I wasn’t totally over the whole online dating thing which took up most of my twenties and early thirties. Anyway that’s another story for another day.

Back to me looking at myself in the mirror. Which for clarification purposes, I don’t do all the time. Because that would be a bit strange!

What I’m trying to say is that the image I have of myself is very different to the image that others might have of me. But whilst it’s different it doesn’t make those feelings about myself any less valid. They are simply how I feel. Others can be very quick to dismiss those feelings. But they are still there. As big as ever. And that desire to dismiss them only serves to make me feel more lonely and disconnected.

‘No one understands me.’

That’s a phrase that often goes through my head, usually accompanied by a whiny tone (another thing not to add to my dating profile!).

So what makes me feel the way I do, despite what others tell me? I put it down to three main things.

1. I don’t have my own family and most other women my age have kids and/or partners. It’s a strange situation be in at the age of forty, because I don’t really fit in with women of a similar age to me but neither do I fit in with the single crowd, who are often much younger. So I guess I’m sort of stuck in the middle, not quite sure where my place is.

2. I’m much quieter than a lot of people I know. I prefer to listen and reflect rather than speak up, particularly if I’m not yet close to the other person or I don’t know them well. I’m an introvert and that makes it difficult in an environment where an outgoing, bold, sociable personality seems to be valued more – at least that has been my experience. It’s the quieter people that are often overlooked.

3. I live with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which can make me stand out as different due to what might be perceived as my ‘odd’ behaviours. Most people have heard of OCD but do not realise the severity and impact OCD can have on people’s lives. It often prevents me from participating in things that other people do as part of their normal, everyday lives, so again I miss out on experiences and opportunities to connect with others.

So there you have it. Rather than having to justify my feelings, I’d love to be able to live in a world where we all show some empathy and recognition to people in similar situations. Sometimes that can make a huge difference and provide a really genuine opportunity to connect.


The Connected Outsider

I have always felt like an ‘outsider’ in life for a number of reasons, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realise just how many other women feel this way. I recently turned forty which has forced me to do something about this, and my blog posts tell the story about my search for meaningful connections – not just with other people, but also with myself and even the world around me.