I get it, fitting in is important, it makes one feel as if they are a part of a social group.
After all, as social creatures who generally want to feel isolated?
We all want to be part of something — a family, a group, an organization.
The very sense of identity is tied to who your family is, where you live, where you have worked and the organizations to which one is affiliated — I get it fitting in is important.
I always believed fitting is offered only positive benefits after all society would look after its own.
We human beings are all part of this great society, no matter where on the planet we physically exist.
So I did all in my power to follow the societal scripts, convinced that fitting in was the way to find the happiness, joy, and peace that I longed for.
I fitted in at work, at school, at church groups, at community organizations. I fitted in, basically in everything. Fitted in so well that I was almost indescribable to tell apart from the organizations to which I was affiliated.
I saw it often, persons who didn’t quite fit in.
They were labeled and isolated.
Who really wants that when you want to fit in?
I saw the moments that a declared misfit would stand up for something outside of the groupthink.
The uncomfortable glances, the questioning looks.
And the disgusted responses of those who eventually sought to shut the misfits from further articulation.
I saw it all and was determined being a misfit was a sure and determined way to isolation from groups that matters.
After all, more than anything else we want to be accepted, we want to fit in.
I was sure that my various social circles would be there for me in the event of any challenges.
After all, the very community spirit implicit through the various social groups mirrored such intent, though never clearly spoken.
Then life happened to me, as it does to all of us at one point or the other.
As I sat alone after my divorce and I looked to the various social groups.
The expectations I had of them never transcended to a reality.
In my church group, you saw the anxious stares if I even attempted a conversation with a woman’s husband.
Certainly, if I didn’t want to be married anymore, what made them think I would want their spouse?
I saw the stares and the whispers not audible enough to discern what was being said.
But by the pitiful looks to know that somehow as I walked in a room.
I had somehow become the subject of discussion and the source of their pity.
I saw the expectation of not being realized in my family.
The questions about if I had done this and that, I would be still married.
The questions from my social circle of friends inquiring about what I might have done that led to our divorce.
This was not the reality I had hoped for. I quickly learned an important thing.
Your expectation can be totally removed from reality.
What you expect and what really happens could be worlds apart!
I had adhered to fitting in, I had believed in times of need, fitting in would have worked for me, by offering the much-needed support.
Yet there I was alone, declared a misfit, and labeled the divorced woman.
Things were different…though not said but by the very interactions.
As I grew through my challenges, I took a different outlook on life.
One that didn’t quite fit in.
I became the person that was met with anxious stares and glances while conversations were kept short. Lest this new rebellious path could somehow envelop others and they jumped the existing ship.
I didn’t know what to do.
What I knew, there was no going back.
I was now content to be a misfit.
I had a new way of thinking that transcended my former approach.
And created happiness I had not experienced in years.
A misfit not by being disobedient to the laws of the state, or harming others.
A misfit in the context that I thought differently and rejected the conventional stance one should have on life.
I saw life as an adventure and not an obligation to toil through.
I took life with vociferous freedom to savor.
I traveled, I met new people on trips, I started my own business.
I left a job though very high paying.
But sucked the energy out of my existence, returned to school.
And went into a totally different career in my late thirties.
Yes, I was clearly and officially declared a misfit.
I no longer cared.
The benefits of a misfit mean you live life on your terms, not based on societal dictates.
To experience life and choose to find purpose and meaning, rather than just exist in life.
Of course, you will still have financial, family, and work responsibilities to name a few.
However, a purposeful life few people experience.
To do so will require you to carve out a path different to the general pathway.
And this declares you a misfit.
You know what do it anyway.
Since people who haven’t found meaning, also don’t want you to find meaning in your life.
In my case, it took a challenge for me to rediscover myself and know what I wanted in my life.
It doesn’t have to be that way with you.
Think about somethings that you always wanted to do.
Of course, there may be a financial cost, or a sacrifice otherwise, to doing so but make away and do it anyway!!
How many people do you know who have waited till retirement to say they will go on that dream vacation and they die before going?
I am not trying to be ominous in any way.
The point I am making no one knows the future.
Look around us… how many businesses have declared bankruptcy during the pandemic?
How many people have lost their jobs, in danger of foreclosure of homes, etc.?
“Some people try to color inside of the lines, when they are really meant to color outside of the lines and create masterpieces. Don’t try to fit in, when you are meant to stand out and be different. You are a true work of art, don’t ever try to change that.”Jeanette Coron
I recently heard a lady talking on a program about an organization she had worked with for forty years.
And was waiting for her pension to go on a trip.
The organization filed for bankruptcy she was now out of a job and also out of the long-awaited pension.
Look around, how many persons who are working for themselves who continue to weather the financial challenges of this time.
A business may not be as agile pre-pandemic.
But in particular persons with skills — electricians, plumbers, and other related type areas continue to stay afloat in the midst of it all.
Remember that online business you wanted to start?
Now is the time, since most things are being done online.
The societal scripts have been go to school, go work for someone, get married, have children, get a large mortgage.
And spend the rest of your life paying the loans associated with living.
And hope someday in the distant future you are well enough, if even alive, to do something you always wanted to do.
That’s the fit in a script.
How well has that worked for you?
If mightn’t be time to become a misfit.
And do a different path that offers joy and freedom to enjoy life and be at peace?
I have declared myself a misfit, even before I was labeled such, and you know what, I am enjoying the life I have created.
Because when it is all said and done, no one but you can change your story and create the life you want.
Ria Vanessa Caliste Engaging on a life long path of self-discovery. Counselor, Writer for life. Connect with me at email@example.com or www.axiomcounsel.com