Things came before me, and things came before you. It's all a matter of perspective with other peoples' lives, and what they need to be happy. You're happy with each other, and that still brings a smile to face, because everyone deserves a place with people that help them flourish.
The thing is- I wasn't flourishing, growing, or finding myself leaving the table in a better state of mind than before. There's nothing wrong with leaving things, groups, or people that do not help you grow as a person. Some people simply grow up and don't mesh over time. I found myself becoming more negative due to the negativity the group radiated, though I was labeled a negative person in the end. I left home to find people who thought, felt, and saw the world differently than those from where I lived. I found people who, in the end, were exactly the same as those from my home. My friendships were limiting, an exclusive group that I had no interest in being involved in over time. I always had to explain why I was gone, or busy, even though I was involved in something I've loved to do long before I met you, the one thing I was really good at and could only do while I was in school. I found myself biting my tongue at dinner when people like me were insulted in front of my face. I was always the one excluded in conversations because of this. Tolerance is not the same as silence. Conversations were one sided, repetitive, and how we hung out was not much different. You never cared about parts of my life until you could use them against me. Sometimes it's more isolating to be the one at the table with nothing really in common, than to sit alone in the first place.
It never occurred to me how toxic these relationships were until someone came up to me and asked why I let myself be treated the way that I did. You see, it was never about what we believed or thought about the world, it was about how we treated each other, and those we cared about. People can only be ripped on for so long until there is nothing left to rip. So I walked away. I was restrained in a cycle of guilt for not staying and trying to make things better, happiness for leaving, and irritability from the words and backlash thrown my way. Backlash does not bring people back. Backlash pushes them further away.
I'm more positive in my life after this, even if what you have to say to me, and mostly about me says otherwise. There's a saying about no family being left behind, and while I may have been the one to leave in the end, I was pushed to leave, and no one was willing to stop me or ask why in the first place. I had to put my happiness first, because it was quickly deteriorating. I don't miss the times we had, I don't miss never knowing how people felt about me, I don't miss having to validate every decision I made that did not include you. I don't even miss not sitting alone at meals. I found that I would rather be alone every day, than have to justify my every action, thought, and belief.
I hope you find solace and happiness in each other, and I will strive to find a group that treats me the way you did each other, one that uplifts, inspires, and encourages me, and values acceptance, tolerance, and love towards any and everyone, even if they are different. When I see you laughing at your small table, I smile too, because I know that I would rather smile alone, than fake it for those who never noticed.