I saw the above image and it sparked some thoughts. That might be a scary thing. As sometimes happens a simple picture or word gets my little brain to thinking and in this case this little image of a puzzle with a piece missing got me to thinking about fitting in. Or rather NOT fitting in.
I was pretty awkward during my elementary and junior high years. My hair was always stringy and I was a skinny kid with buck teeth and a chipped front tooth. I didn’t always fit in because I felt insecure and unsure of myself. I placed a lot of undue pressure on myself to be the best. My mom and dad always reassured me that I was perfect just the way I was but having 3 older siblings who could do much more than I could left me feeling less than.
I clearly remember my 3rd grade affliction. Every day for a week I got sick at lunchtime. My stomach hurt and I begged to be allowed to go home which was within walking distance. My mom was teaching at my school but my dad was usually at home or working at the church so I was able to go home to recover. Next morning I was fine and off to school I went.
It took a few days but the adults finally wised up. You see math was scheduled in my class for after lunch and we were doing multiplication tables. I. Could. Not. Do. Them. Or so I thought. I really could but I allowed my fears to dominate and gave in to the thoughts that I didn’t fit in, I couldn’t do the multiplication tables and that I was totally inept at doing anything that the other 3rd graders could do.
But even as awkward as these pictures may depict this younger me I realized finally that fitting in is not always what it is cracked up to be. In high school I had a lot of friends and managed to have friends among the “popular” crowd and the lesser than popular crowd if that makes any sense. I was always the cheerleader for the kids that didn’t fit in, those that were bullied or ignored, and that gave me a wide range of friends. I didn’t always hang with the same group. I believe those experiences shaped me into who I am today.
This picture of our family complete with me in a shirt dress with some kind of weird bolo tie with our favorite cat Peek walking in front takes me back to those awkward years. We all had them. Or at least I suspect we all did. If not I am surprised.
What I do know is that as an adult I have given up trying to fit in. I have been blessed in my current situation to have many close friends and many folks I would call acquaintances. Do I long to “fit in”? Not so much anymore and I think that is a much healthier way to live. We all have our insecurities but when it all boils down to it each one of us is perfect. Even with our rough edges, our stringy hair and our less than perfect teeth we are each one beautiful. I do not need anyone else to tell me that. I am unique and proud to be me. What about you?
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