Tag Archives: volunteering



Hey all.

Once again, it’s been a while since I posted. It’s been an interesting month, and I don’t even really know where to begin. Chronologically is best, I guess.

I started out writing this post talking about visiting my best friend in Chicago and taking a millinery class. But I’m just too tired and sad to finish it. Maybe I’ll elaborate later, because they were both really good times, but something else has dominated my mind and I feel like I can’t write about anything else. And I think I have to write about this, because it’s the only way for me to get it out. I’ll write and cry about it once, and then I’ll be done.

I spent the week learning hat-making. It was grueling but fun, it kept me busy the whole day and it left me exhausted at night. That was perfect, because it kept my mind off of what was going on during the week and why I chose to take that particular class in the first place. This past week was the week-long camp that I’ve done for five years, and the camp I was supposed to take over directing (see Moving On for some background). I purposely chose to take the hat-making class because I meant that I wouldn’t be home during camp, and wouldn’t have to, every day, drive past the church where it’s held and be reminded that that’s not a part of my life anymore.

It’s done. It’s over. I don’t know how to feel. I had kind of blocked it from my mind at the beginning of the week, and was just focusing on making these really difficult hats. But then Wednesday came and, as I sat in the dorm room in the evening, I suddenly wondered what was happening at camp at that moment. Dinner would have been over, so would they be doing the talent show, like they normally did on Wednesdays? Or would they maybe be watching a movie? Or doing something else entirely? It hit me at that moment that I had no idea. I had no idea what they were doing, because I wasn’t part of the camp anymore. I wasn’t directing, I wasn’t even volunteering there. I had absolutely not a clue what the schedule was, or who was there, or what things were new or different from previous years. And, more importantly, I wasn’t there for the campers that counted on me to be there. I had let them down. There was no way I could have gone after everything that had happened, but I still felt like I had failed them. They had no idea what all had happened, and I know several were probably asking where I was, but I had still let them down. I wonder how the new directors handled them asking about me, if they did.

I came home yesterday to an empty house (except for, you know, six cats and a rabbit). My parents are in San Francisco for the weekend for their anniversary, so I have today and tomorrow to pull myself together. I was okay during the day today because I kept myself busy — I organized all my bookmaking supplies, and then promptly messed them up again as I made a few small books. I engrossed myself in many episodes of Doctor Who. I played Candy Crush. But now I’m tired of Doctor Who for the moment, I have no more lives in Candy Crush, and I have no inspiration for books. I’m just sitting here, thinking, which is bad.

It’s all finally catching up with me. I just feel so sad, so tired, so unwilling to do anything. I just want to lay here, staring at the television and watching the Zimmerman trial coverage without taking anything in. I don’t want to clean up dinner, I don’t want to put away my book supplies, I don’t even want to read. I just want to be miserable.

I’m so glad everyone is gone for the weekend. I gives me time to grieve by myself, without having to try and be falsely happy or endure my parents trying to understand what’s wrong and how I feel. They don’t know. They think they do, but they don’t. Camp meant everything to me, and it was the thing that I looked forward to every year. I made countless friends there, friends that are so much more true and loyal than most friends you find in the normal world. I had my thoughts and opinions completely turned on their heads. I became comfortable working with people that most others cringe from and avoid. The whole experience has helped me grow into the person I am now, and has shaped my life and morals and goals since then. And now it’s all gone.

I’m still angry because I feel like I was purposely cut out, but I’m mostly just sad. It was a bad situation for everyone, including the new directors and the old, but I feel like it could have been handled better so that it didn’t come to this. And the worst part is that I have absolutely no idea why I was forced out. I tried to get answers and was evaded every time. I don’t understand — from the first time I was asked to join leadership, it was never ambiguous that I was supposed to take over. And then camp came last year and suddenly I wasn’t. And since then I have heard nothing from the directors, and was basically ignored despite earlier assurances that I would still be heavily involved. I wasn’t even asked to help plan and put together the reunion for the camp that I helped plan. They basically just dropped me, and not knowing why is the absolute worst part.

I do have theories, and none of them are reassuring. Was I kicked out because I was an atheist? Was it just because they didn’t want me personally to lead? Was it something I did or did not do? I honestly feel like I don’t care what the reasoning is — I just want and deserve to know. I don’t care how uncomfortable it would be for those in charge to tell me. They should have the balls to lay it out and tell me the truth, not dance around it and never provide answers and hope that I don’t notice.

I don’t know. I just feel like this huge part of my life has been ripped away. I had planned on being part of this camp until its end, and now that plan is no more, and not by my choice. I’m not sad that any of the past five years has happened, because they made me the person I am today. I just wish it had ended differently, less harshly.

So I’m just going to chill tonight and wallow in my misery. I’m going to get it all out now so that when everyone gets home, I can lock it all away and pretend to be happy until it’s far enough away that I can try to move on. Maybe that’ll be soon, maybe that’ll take a while. This next week might be bad because pictures might be put up, so I’ll be forced to see what all they did and be reminded that I wasn’t there. I’ll have to see who served as companions for my campers of the past few years, and wish that I had been in their place instead. But hopefully I’ll be able to move on again soon and learn something from all of this. Sorry for the pity party over here, but I needed to get all this out somewhere. Any words of encouragement or advice are always welcome.


It’s here.


Tomorrow’s the day I’ve been dreading: the winter reunion for the program that I was supposed to take over (see Moving On for background). I got the invitation for it  a month or so ago. It was beyond a slap in the face, and what prompted me to try and get some answers. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t even asked to help with the reunion for the program that I had helped plan the year before. I was completely shut out. Since then, I’ve been faced with two main dilemmas: 1) First, do I go to the reunion? and 2) Do I go to the program over the summer?

Well, number two has almost certainly been decided. As much as it breaks my heart, I’m not going to. I cannot go back to it after this unbelievable snub, and knowing that I’m probably not wanted there. Why should I go back there, where I’m not appreciated, and be expected to just take the way I’ve been treated in stride, no matter how miserable I am? Why should I put myself through that? I love all of the people who attend that program, and it’s killing me knowing that I won’t be back to see them this summer after five years of dedicated attendance, but I have to do what’s best for me at this point.

As for number one…I think I’m going to go for the last hour or so, just to take pictures of/with all of my summer attendees and swap some addresses to write letters with a few of them. The thought of not going to the summer program, and also not going to the reunion, and not seeing any of them probably ever again kills me. I love them too much, and I’m already missing them an unbelievable amount. Tomorrow’s going to be incredibly hard, and made even harder because I cannot tell them that I won’t see them this summer, and that this might be the last time I see them ever. I couldn’t let them know them know the reasons for that anyway, even if I could tell them. I’ll have to just go and pretend to be blissfully happy and carefree and excited to be there, all while my heart is being ripped to pieces knowing that this will be the last time that I see and interact with most of them. I don’t know how I’m going to get through it. But I have to go — the prospect of not seeing everyone one last time is unthinkable and even worse.

This sadness is physical pain. For me, it’s under my sternum, a few inches below my throat. It feels like a tight, watery ball, and makes the rest of my insides feel like glass about to break under pressure. I can’t breathe around it, and I can hardly eat when it decides to put in an appearance. And you can forget sleeping — that tightness doesn’t allow me to get more than a few minutes at a time, and those scant minutes are filled with melancholy dreams. It’s constant pain, lessened as I find ways to distract myself, but back in full force as soon as something reminds me of it’s cause. And let’s not even talk about the emotional and cognitive agony. That’s almost too much to put into words.

I finally broke down today as I was driving home, when I passed the church where the program is housed and where the reunion will be tomorrow. It kind of really hit me then that this was it. I had been thinking about it for weeks, of course, but it was still something vaguely in the future, something not quite real. Now, it’s certainty. Tomorrow, after the reunion is over and I walk out of those church doors, I will never again set foot in there (with the possible sole exception of going back to monthly Saturday sessions of the program, which one or two of the summer attendees frequent. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to bear that now, though. One step at a time, though — let’s get through tomorrow first). That place, while it holds amazing memories of the program for me, also holds too much sadness and bitterness. When I made the decision not to be confirmed in eighth grade, that place was horrible to me. I was made to feel like a total outcast (which, I guess at that point, I technically was, as I had made it clear to the leadership that I did not believe in any god), and the experience of “coming out” was traumatizing. Something that was already painful and shameful to me was made even worse by the way that the leaders responded to it. Since then, I’ve always had some bitterness about it, towards them and the place. But once I started this program, I thought that all that was behind me. I could not forget what happened, but it seemed to me that I was giving that place a second chance, and that it was proving itself worthy. Well now, after all of this, it’ll forever be a place of tears and false hopes for me. My first bad experiences with that church made me bitter, but this second round of emotional trauma has broken my heart.