Are you one that sits in the same place every time you go to a certain place or in a certain room? College class you kindof adopt a certain seat? Church a certain row for your family?
We’ve been in the same ward for almost 18 years and in the Relief Society Room I’ve pretty much sat in the same place that entire time. It varied between the 2nd to back row and the back row end seat. It was right by the door for easy exit and not only did I sit in that seat, but then I would put my bag on the seat next to me so no one could sit next to me.
Well, that seat has been my same seat minus a time that I didn’t make it to Sunday School for months. Years ago we’d get done with Sacrament Meeting and I’d linger in the chapel and inevitably I’d get visiting with someone and would just completely miss Sunday School. After doing this for months I felt that I really needed to get to Sunday School - that my spirit needed to be fed more - I was wearing down too much during the week.
Hmmm, how do you do that when others have become very used to skipping with you and you just knew that if you talked to anyone the habit of skipping Sunday School would be really easy to keep? I decided that I wasn’t going to linger. In fact, I was going to be one of the first out of the chapel and I would go straight to the classroom no matter what. If there were arrangements that needed to be made with my boys for things I did that before church. If Rick had things to take care of I just let him know I would head down by myself and he could come when he was ready.
IT WORKED!!!! For well over 12 years I’ve done this each week, minus Covid time. Even when it went to 2 hour church and Sunday School and Relief Society was every other week I was prepared and ready for either class. I found that I loved getting to the classroom early and just sitting there. It became my quiet time. Yes, everyone around me was visiting and occasionally I’d visit with others, but often I was sitting by myself, listening to everyone visit and able to ponder things in my life. This has become a very peaceful time for me.
Now, why the 2nd to back row or the back row and the end seat with my bag on the seat next to me??? Due to the abuse that I’ve been through I have extreme fear of people standing or sitting right behind me. When I go to a restaurant or anywhere I need to sit where my back is protected the best I can. I need the end seat so that I can get out quickly if my anxiety hits or just a feeling of being able to escape and not inconvenience others by climbing over others.
Why the seat saved between me and others? I don’t like touch and I have a bubble, a very large bubble around me. I struggle with someone sitting right next to me. Plus, with a chair between me and others I don’t feel as obligated to talk to others. I have many protections in place that many probably don’t even notice.
And why do I share all of this???
February 2020 I followed my routine. I got right to the Relief Society Room, sat on the back row in the corner, but I could see that there were many that wanted to sit on that back row so I didn’t put my bag on a chair - I let others sit by me. Like normal I was one of the first people to the room. I was sitting there in my quiet space and a sister that likes the back row says to me, “There’s not room for you bag here. I need your seat for my friends.” I was kinda surprised and honestly very uncomfortable, but I picked up my bag and moved up to the next row. Then I put my bag on the seat next to me and sat there quietly feeling really hurt. I didn’t say anymore, but then this sister who let me know I couldn’t sit back there let me know that can’t always be my seat and I need to be aware of other’s needs. I looked at her and was like alright. I honestly wanted to get up and walk out of the room right then and not come back. It was humiliating and very hurtful. I always want to look out for others’ needs. I had just started counseling and was only 2 months into my counseling and I was at a very brittle, scared, child like place.
I stayed and a sister in our ward who is friends with me and with those sitting on the back row came and sat by me. Nothing was said, but it was very kind of her to choose to sit by me.
I wasn’t sure if I could ever go back and I wasn’t actually able to go back to that room. I attended a different Sunday School class and then lucky for me Covid hit and then there was no church.
Through all of my counseling and the year we’ve had and the amount of time that’s passed before going back to 2 hour church I had honestly forgotten about this experience. A couple of weeks ago Sacrament Meeting was over and it was time to go to Sunday School. There are 2 Sunday School classes offered and I had already decided I would attend the one in the cultural hall, because a good friend of mine was teaching.
I did my routine. Sacrament over, stood up and started to walk right down the hallway to the classroom. As I walked out of the chapel I hear this sister say, “Look Cheri’s wanting to quickly get to the room so she can get her seat.” She laughed and I believe it was meant in a light hearted way, but all of that pain and feelings of being shamed came at me. I was extremely glad that I only had to walk by her for about 30 seconds and then I turned into the Cultural Hall. That shut her and her friend up quickly. They didn’t have to push me out of the seat in the corner.
As I pondered this I thought to myself I don’t know why she acts the way she does nor does she have any idea why I do what I do. It’s not a race for the seat. It’s not a popularity contest. It’s not because I want to take the row away from her and her friends.
Be careful how you judge, the words you say and how you make people feel - you don’t have any idea why they choose the chair in the corner.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity