mad in pursuit notebook


Epiphany: Sense of Belonging

[continued from yesterday] My mother still goes to church at Epiphany. Epiphany has been the family parish since 1959. The grade school was attended by me, my 3 siblings, 2 of my cousins, 2 of my nieces, and 4 of my cousin's children. Despite this, I feel a strange sense of disconnection -- as if I were just passing through, an observer, a misfit. And yet, when I look at the facts, all I see is a happy, involved childhood, age 11 to age 14-1/2.

I always had best friends to hang out with. I sang in the choir (weak soprano). I joined the Girl Scouts (a troup with a terrible leader). Joined the Drum and Bugle Corps (color guard and drum majorette). Became captain of my 8th grade bowling team and co-president of the league (neither of which had anything to do with my bowling skills). My parents were busy but attentive. I was a regular happy Midwestern city kid, without ambition.

Why this disconnect between my adult sense of not-belonging and my actual belonging?

Two reasons I can think of:

[1] I was not a jock. Holy Rosary (my K-4) had no gym, no sports. By the time I got to Epiphany, all the kids played softball/baseball and basketball. Everyone played on intramural teams and everyone tried out for the top interscholastic teams. The most talented kids got the best coaching. Clueless, clumsy kids got nothing. My brother thrived. I endured one disastrous intramural basketball season and one disastrous intramural softball season and my parents kindly stopped bugging me about it.

[2] Boys. Somehow between Holy Rosary and Epiphany I lost my groove with boys. I stopped knowing how to talk to them and they seemed to stop seeing me, like I was invisible. This wasn't really a problem in grade school because only "fast" girls had serious boyfriends. But in high school -- a girl's school -- I had no good pool of boys to get dates for dances from. My parents badgered my to go to monthly communion breakfasts for teenagers at Epiphany. I liked the doughnuts but increasingly had nothing to say to my ex-classmates. Maybe this was where that sense of estrangement took root. I LOVED Xavier High School -- it had no sports program. Epiphany and I were so over.


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