Does the desire and basic need to fit in start as early as the moment we are capable of remembering what it’s like to not? Or does it occur earlier than that? Does it even happen to all of us or simply a select group? Does our age, race, gender, genetics or class dictate the strength and longevity of this longing?
If we all feel as though are aren’t fitting in, or our shapes are more square peg than cylindrical, wouldn’t that automatically assume none of us ever really will? That suggests we already are a part of something that, by its very definition, cannot leave us feeling anything other than included.
This seems to be fairly muddied territory but, still as an adult, I struggle with its unnerving pull on my subconscious and conscious mind. I suppose you could blame my late 1980’s/early 1990’s grade school bullies or the popular kids who grew up having everything they ever wanted (these were usually one in the same); these kids were naturals when it came to faking and maintaining status-friendships because of this “coolness,” so my quirky, nerdy, caring self fell to the wayside a lot of the time.
And that is okay. It really is. It meant I was different and unafraid to be who I was in my formative years. I didn’t trek the same path as my [asshole] fellow students and while at the time I didn’t understand that that was a good thing, as a parent, I now get it.
Lest I forget to mention that despite how I feel about it now, back in those days everything pretty much sucked; to be picked on relentlessly for my hair, my teeth (I ended up getting braces so big warm shout out to Mom and Dad!), my clothes, my glasses, my height (really)…everything about me was simply cannon fodder.
To be listy about it, here could be a few reasons why it was easy for those meanies:
- I had short, boyish hair because The Beatles are my favorite band and I identified more with that style than pony-tailed long hair.
- I had round, multi-color rimmed glasses because, though Paul McCartney was/is my #1 Beatle, I still idolized John Lennon and wanted to imitate his style of the ’60’s.
- I was nerdy and talked about learning the bass guitar, my adoration for The Beatles, my longing to travel the world and walk and see and touch all the places the Fab Four had.
- I wasn’t ashamed of who I was inside.
That final item is most likely what triggered everyone’s “must bully this girl” shotgun blast, because I hit fourth grade and things just…went downhill quick.
Alas, this brief walk down Hell Lane leads me to the present and how struggling to be a part of something, not necessarily the IN crowd, but to be a person who is unforgettable and irreplaceable for all the things that sets them apart, is still a thing in my life.
*That *is what I war with when the demons come crawling up from the depths and whisper foul nothings in my ear. I hate the constant search for belonging almost as much as the constant search to be different.
…Or are they one in the same?
Who and what and where and how we came to be affects our desires to fit in, our need to be someone in a sea of everyone. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s how we balance the negative with the positive—how having perspective and a clear, open mind can strip down the irrational side of our rational brain.
I know all this to be true, or at least I buy into it enough to get me by—especially when it’s time to win the battle against those bastard demons. Yet I will still struggle from time to time. I’ll feel inadequate and forgotten and brushed aside. And maybe it’s because sometimes, I WILL be forgotten and brushed aside. But I’ll never be inadequate. Not with myself and never with the people and the things I love and feel passionately about.
There is so much more to us than being better than that one; so many greater things can be accomplished by lifting a person up than tearing them down.
I’m teaching my daughter these tough lessons everyday, and maybe she won’t grow to be the popular girl, but at least I know my darling Bella will be herself. I don’t want or expect anything from my child more than that—so long as she is always healthy and safe and happy. To be honest, I hope she sits at the outcasted table and creates her own sense of self and group belonging. Because let’s face it, we all knew that table was the best table anyway.
In the end, does the need to fit in matter at all? Does it exist only within our minds or is this a universal concept bought into by every single one of us? Do we draw out others like ourselves and form bonds and friendships and connections because of this, or because that’s the innate instinct of human beings?
I’d love to hear your own stories and opinions on this blog…so please share, even if you need to do it as an anon. I will listen to you! Because like Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles’ (from Supernatural) Campaign says, You Are Not Alone. <3