You know what it’s like – you just don’t fit in. Wherever you go, whatever you do, the beat in your head is different syncopation than the beat everyone else marches to.
Yesterday, I had a fulfilling conversation with a friend who feels the same way about fitting in. Perhaps I’ll start a group of community misfits, she joked. I offered to sign up for the vice-president slot.
And then the people who have known you the longest can be a source of not fitting in as well. Every time we get together I see it: I talk and no one listens, their focus trained elsewhere. I’ll be listened to if no one else is speaking, but that’s about it.
I am fine with it. I get it. We all have roles to play within our own networks and I am quite comfortable with mine. In other places and among other people, I fit in quite well, but in certain situations, not at all.
Once you find that person who loves you and will walk through life with you, it doesn’t matter so much. And once you become a parent, it matters not at all. Then the people you are meant to be with are all around you and life is good. Life is glorious. Life is as it should be.
It can be as silly as organizing holiday gift-giving and seeing that even when you try to have a meaningful conversation, people are always talking without you and coming up with their own plan, so you just go along with it. That’s fine. You can’t change how people are or how they are with you. You just have to keep walking.
Sometimes, I step back and ponder how I choose to spend my time and with whom. In theory, those long-held relationships should be sources of comfort and joy. And if they’re not, why stay in them? Why not do the minimum and leave it at that?
Several months ago, I had wanted my son to be on a different soccer team, among kids he is friends with and whose parents I count as friends. He didn’t get the team we requested, and we were both really perturbed.
But it turns out, you get what you need – not what you think you want. My son was placed on the right team for him, and although they haven’t won many games, he’s had a good season with good people.
That’s all I can ask for. As for me, sitting on the sidelines, I really like the mishmash of people on this team. The parents are nice, kind, with edge, the kind of people I could really be friends with. It’s not one cohesive group, and that’s the best way anyway.
And the kids had fun. They may not have been superstars and the coach may have been kinder than a stern, yelling, do it right, play this sport kind of coach, but that makes for good character and nurturing among the kids, not the fear that transforms the game forever.
I am right where I should be. I can weather the ups and downs of being a misfit. I am proud to own that moniker.
The world is made of misfits. The best discoveries, inventions and blazed paths were created by individuals who didn’t fit in. They thought more deeply, wondered more, and wandered more, and you know they say, not all who wander are lost.
I’ll tell you what: I spent Saturday morning at my synagogue celebrating Shabbat and Sunday morning back there, with my daughter, preparing for her bat mitzvah. By definition, a synagogue is a community of misfits, people from all different perspectives and paths united in one thing: we are all born Jewish or choose to be Jewish and we want to celebrate that.
I felt completely comfortable in that setting, welcomed and like I belong. It warmed me to walk those halls and say hello to people I didn’t know. We were there because we wanted to be and all of us had similar missions.
The lesson is, accept who you are and where you sit. Embrace the awkwardness and the out-of-sync moments because that’s where the truth resides. Be who you are. As a friend said the other day, when we were talking about my thinning hair woes, “Be a 43 year old woman. Wear a barrette. You’re not alone.”
It’s that easy.