I have a problem.
I'm not sure what's caused it or why it happens, but it most certainly does plague me.
And admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? Who even decided that?
What? Oh, my confession? Here it is:
I struggle to fit in.
I'm not sure what it is.
Maybe it's my ears. When I was in elementary school, kids told me I had ears like Dumbo. And considering they were the same size then as they are now, they were probably right.
Or maybe... it's my hairy, sasquatch-like legs. The fact I can wear shorts in winter because, hey, it's like I'm wearing pants anyway, weirds some people out. Especially since they've been like this since the 6th grade.
Or it could be my diseases. After all, not everyone can say they do the Pledge of Allegiance backwards, or they have a tube in their head, or they get to use oxygen when they sleep.
Or... is it possible? Could it be...
My beard? Maybe its awesomeness alienates others...
Nah. Couldn't be. Moving right along, then.
So I'm not really sure what it is about me, but since I was a kid, I've struggled to fit in. I have always felt like I was on the outside looking in, and I've never truly been comfortable in that position.
When you're young, you often hear the phrase, "If you can't beat them, join them!" Well, what people never understood is I never wanted to beat them. I never even tried. Instead, I usually just skipped to the joining part, because it seemed like the nice thing to do. I've always been considerate in that way (and endearing, no?).
But the problem is, nobody has ever let me in the group. It's like there's a secret handshake and it's impossible to perfect. Or there's a password at the doorway I just can't seem to crack. There's definitely something I'm missing.
|This is about how I've felt through college.|
This problem has plagued me from elementary school until today. Even in these past four years of college, I've done what I can to "fit in," only to quickly discover that the "in" thing to do these days is not fit in. Seriously, life is trying to stop me at all costs.
And I've even experienced this in blogging. Now, granted, it might just be because I'm a shoddy writer, but I'm told repeatedly by sources I trust (read: my wife) that I'm a gifted writer. And I enjoy writing quite a bit, so it's not like I'm a grump about it.
It's like, somehow, people from my "real" life have invaded my "virtual" life and whispered to everyone, "Don't let him in!" It's maddening, to tell you the truth.
But alas, life goes on. I still have to wake up, write, click the publish button, and hope someone decides to share in the mini-party going on here. Whether I'm "in" or not, I keep plugging away. And why? Well, let me tell you a little something (because I'm not one to keep secrets, like those kids from middle school):
It doesn't matter if you fit in. That should never be your goal.
And when I think others might think I'm crazy for what I'm writing, I look to the life of this one guy to see what it shows. You see, I think Jesus lived life exactly right, and I'd like to emulate him as best I can. So when I see that he, too, was excluded and rejected by peers, I'm comforted.
"But then what?" I think. "How did he cope with that? He was human after all," I wonder. And then the light bulb clicks.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And if you can't join 'em, join someone else.
Duh, Adrian. Duh, duh, duh.
Jesus was rejected and despised by men, so instead, he joined God. Well-played, Jesus. I see how that worked out for you.
This dawned on me last week, as I was fighting a nasty urge to unsubscribe from every blogger ever and abandon all hope in this blogging world. (Sometimes, I have a flair for the dramatic.)
As I was having my mini-meltdown, I read something someone recently said:
"Your blog looks like a great community,"
and then the aforementioned light bulb clicked.
Duh, Adrian. Duh, duh, duh.
If I can't "fit in" to the communities of others with my big ears, hairy legs, weird diseases, and awesome beard, then maybe I should stop trying and start valuing the community I'm already in.
And if push comes to shove, I'd have to admit, I do greatly value each and every one of you who reads, comments, e-mails, and shares with me on a regular basis. I know what we have here isn't much, and it isn't even necessarily an "official" community.
But it is what it is. And the larger it grows, the closer I feel to you all. I'm not one to exclude others, because I sincerely believe goodness exists inside us all, and such goodness cannot be ignored. So I want this community to keep growing, shifting, shaping, changing. It may be painful at times, but it's worthwhile.
So consider this an elaborate "Thank You" to you, my fair reader. I don't care if this is the first post you've ever read at Life Before the Bucket, or even if this is the last post you ever read here. I genuinely care about you, your life, and helping you to live it to the fullest.
I hope you see this community as one which is open and welcoming to you, whoever you are, from wherever you reside, no matter what shape you're in. Because, hey, you can't be much weirder than me!
If you just happen to be stopping by for the first time, but you'd like to keep sharing in what goes on around here, check out the Updates page, and find a way to follow that works for you. And if you're feeling particularly risky today, consider leaving a comment. I like to think of comments as investments. You leave one because you expect to get something in return, and I can promise you'll get exactly that around here.
Thanks again for reading, whoever you are, wherever you are. You are important. You are loved. And you do "fit in" somewhere (at the very least, you'll fit in here!), because you are worthy of being cared about.
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Questions: Have you ever struggled to fit in somewhere? Do you have any oddities which keep you from fitting in? How important is fitting in to you? Do you enjoy the community at Life Before the Bucket?
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image credit - zumbari - sxc.hu