Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Square Pegs

I was talking to a friend recently about this new sensation I have discovered passing through my consciousness on an almost daily basis of late. This sensation is not, in and of itself, new but the urgency and disquiet it inspires is. The sensation is the simple and overwhelming feeling of not fitting in. Now, one expects to have this feeling, say, in high school when one is still working out what and who you are before knowing where you should fit. And that feeling can trickle into your twenties if it takes you some time to mature and really "know yourself". But there is an assumption that eventually, when you have a deeper confidence in the idea of self in regard to your own inner landscape, that your "place" in the world will become evident, that like minded people will surface and you will have a sense of belonging.
Now, I have done a few things in my relatively short 34 years and I believe I have sorted out, to a great degree, who I am (in the deeper senses) and I like and have confidence in who that person is. But to my alarm I am realising that this feeling of otherness has never gone away. I have individuals I feel akin to and resonate with but there is still no group, no demographic, no sphere where I feel comfortable and represented as part of a whole despite the fact that, on the surface, I would seem to fit into many. I am a woman, a Canadian, white, a mother, bilingual, blue eyed, a knitter, a writer, a thinker, a student, a humanist, a lover, a baker of bread. But in any group of any one of those things I feel like the exception in every case.
All this I told to my friend, trying to convey the growing feeling of unease this realisation brought with it. And you know what she said? "Me too." Just turned 40 and just as misrepresented by all she sees as me.
And I think of another friend who kept telling me about how he cannot relate to his coworkers though they all be personable and engaging in their way. They are all...made to fit...or so it would seem.
I am reminded of a song I wrote about how, in our restless youth, my best friend and I would "laugh or yell at the world that had made square pegs of us" as if, perhaps, it was our environment that had made us malformed for the mold, alone in a crowd, in opposition to the norm.
And I am beginning to see that it is not that I don't fit into any group but that my group is not marketable, consumable, sitcom worthy. I am not represented because I am not a sheep. My demographic IS the exception.
And we are legion, honey.


~Jo~ said...

Sigh... does this mean that one can live their whole life without ever fitting in? I know the more I try to fit it, the less I am true to myself.

C Ste Croix said...

I am beginning to think if this not fitting in thing as a badge of honor. It means I am "One-of-a-kind"!