I went to the North Star summer fireside last night. I've tried to be involved in the community since last November, but (like everyone else) even though I know that people care about me I find I still have major qualms about my ability to fit in.

So last night as the fireside started I wondered if sitting by myself was (probably) a sign that I had simply arrived later than most, (potentially - it's happened in the past) that people were giving me space, or (the inexorable possibility that isn't true yet still crosses my mind) if people just weren't interested in being near me.

The fireside was good. Nathan Gibbons - a therapist who works at the MTC - along with Jimmy Merrell - a researcher in the Deaf community spoke about things that seemed useful and worthwhile to the group. But more, it made me feel good about my own progress. Not that I've made a ton of visible strides recently, but I feel like life is good - and perspective seems to be the most important part.

As the fireside ended, the awkwardness descended yet again... and I found myself talking with people, wanting to dive deeper, yet stuck feeling like it wasn't going to happen. I want to get close to people, but I have no idea how to do it... and the feeling that people don't care still sticks in the back of my kind. I don't know where the feeling comes from. I know that people care about me. Tons of people told me, personally and specifically, that they were glad to see me. And yet, even surrounded by people who know me, understand some of the things I'm going through in life, and care about me... I still struggle to make connections. I'm sure it didn't help that I had to leave sooner than I wanted; my little sister was opening her mission call and had already postponed the event half an hour. She got called to the Brazil, Santos mission - leaving for the Brazil MTC at the end of October. But I still had time. *sigh*

Ironically, today I was released from my calling as ward music co-chair and called to be a ward missionary and member of the fellowshipping committee. So a major part of my calling is to develop better relationships with people. Right now I know the ward well enough to tell who is new... but even remembering their names after a minute or two is stretching it. Maybe I'll get lucky and the blessings from my calling will bleed into my normal life.

Either way, I definitely have a long ways to go.

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