Updated: Dec 5, 2022
Life is an ongoing sequence of attempts to make things fit. We try to fit in with multiple kinds of people, places and things, hoping for a sense of belonging.
In our early years, we navigate complex, often awkward social situations at school. It is trial and error—learning cues, norms, signs and signals. We face defeat, confusion, and rejection. If we are lucky, we also find some acceptance and validation.
This quest to find a fit doesn’t end in adolescence; the scope widens as we try to fit into countless other places, like workspaces. I’ve come to realize that finding these is rare.
We are programmed to believe if we try hard, say the right things, act properly, or look a certain way, we will fit in. I honestly don’t believe that is true. When we fit, we just do.
In the past few years I experienced a lot of alone time. The forced solitude created space for reflection about living authentically. I revisited a question I’ve pondered other times: Who am I when no one is watching?
When I had nowhere to seek approval, I could only fit one place, and that was within. It is difficult to sit with yourself without distraction, or interaction. It is neither comfortable, nor enjoyable. It is a lifelong quest to reach self-acceptance, but I made some strides.
It is not something that can be taught or told. It is something that has to unfold, or be uncovered. It lies beneath the surface, like a buried treasure. I think we thrive from within.
If I was going to fit in more places, it would have happened by now. Perhaps creative thinkers and nonconformists have a harder time. I may not fit everywhere, but I’d rather be true to myself and feel comfortable inside, than live in discomfort occupying the wrong spaces.
Isn’t she strange, how odd, eye roll, stunned silence, be quiet, don’t do that, you’re embarrassing, just sit there, blend in…