My first weekend in Indianapolis, I spent with my niece E, cleaning and arranging. Then, I drove her back up to school. My first day at work was Halloween. Now, in the other office I worked in, Halloween was a HUGE deal. We dressed up and had a pitch in, which they did for me before I left the previous Thursday. I went to work wearing an orange shirt and a cute cow/frankenstein Halloween pin. (A little kitchy for me, but it was a green cow...) My new coworkers acted like it wasn't a fun/special day. It was just a normal work day! Plus, the new boss and wife were on vacation, so, we were down people. I spent the day a bit bummed that nobody cared it was Halloween. After work, I went over to the church for the YSA Family Home evening. Nobody informed me about what time it started, so, I got there the time it did in my old group. Well, I was a half hour late. They had already had a measly lesson and were playing a game that involved running around inside of a set of chairs. I felt so awkward. After they got bored with the chair game, they played volley ball. (Later, Volley Ball became the vain of my existance, but I'll get to that.) I soon learned that volley ball was about all this branch did for FHE. In the branch I had came from, Volley Ball wasn't a game related to the FHE lessons, and therefore, was never played at FHE. We had little games every once in a while on the weekends. We even had a black light Wally Ball night. But we had a very creative and inventive group, and rarely played the same games or had the same activities twice within a few months. Now, I really don't want to sound negative about the group of local Indy YSA's. But at the time, I needed more than I was getting. Within the first month, I became inactive due to lack of friendships or feeling included. I know for most, this is not a "real" reason to stop going to church. But for me, friendship and community are what I needed. I wasn't receiving that. I guy that I still communicate with and am friends with his wife made a wierd comment to me the time I did decide to attend. He said, "You are very inactive." He did this with a smile on his face, and shook my hand. I don't know why he decided to make that statement at that moment, but he did. I remember the final straw happened in Relief Society. The Relief Society President was handing out the new manual for the year, and she said, "Who needs the new manual?" I raised my hand, right in front of her face. She didn't even look at me or offer me one. For some reason, that just made me heart broken. I look back on it now and think, maybe she was just ridiculously blind or something, trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. That day, it was like it was the end of the world! I remember calling M. and telling her what happened, just bawling my eyes out. She kept encouraging me to find other social outlets. Find a new club or church, find a gym, start attending a YMCA/YWCA. Do something else aside from attending this church that upset me all the time. I was trying to explain to her, good Mormon girls don't just give up on the church due to social inactivity. She kept telling me, again, it takes two years to cultivate relationships and make a social group in a new location.
Then, the inevitable happened. The Branch found out I knew something about music. After that, they kept giving me music callings. First it was just directing music as a substitute for different meetings. (The funny thing was, in my old ward, even though I worked at a music store, they never thought to ask me to do anything musical. I even sang in the choir once, yet, it didn't occur to them to ask. As soon as they figured it out, I was moving on.) Then, I was told I was going to get a music calling as Relief Society Music Director. Then, someone else was called. I was still subbing all the time for Sacrament meeting because the other people were sick of doing it. That's when attending church became more of a "requirement."
The other thing was, there were cliques involved in the branch. This is not a slam against the people. This is just the truth. It just happens when there are different ages and stages of life involved. It creates certain groups of people. There was the younger age group that were still in college. There was the middle to upper age group that were the young professionals that were simply not married yet. Both groups centered their activities on the South side of town. I was not close to them at all. When I did hang out with the younger group, I left the activity feeling unfulfilled by doing things that weren't at my maturity level or interest. Also, the conversations held in this group were not what I was interested in. I wasn't "boy crazy," which were 90% of the conversations in this group.
The second group, the upper age group or the group that was composed of "young professionals," often did things that I would be interested in. There were two issues. Issue one was, I wasn't always invited in this groups excersions. Issue number two was, when I was invited, it would be an activity that I would love to do, but didn't have the money to participate at the time. I remember when they all went to see "Stomp," and I wasn't invited. Then, they all made this huge "Stomp" like presentation for a talent show, and I wansn't invited to do that. That was when I had the realization, I wasn't really included at all in the church cliques.
So, I started going to visit my sister every other or third weekend to be social. Not that I don't love my sister, because I do. But I am a social person, and she help create the social outlet that I needed.