Just as I thought, my break wasn’t really a break. I simply refused to consciously process anything that was going on inside my mind, and even then a thing or two slipped in – or out? It still helped, though! I was able to turn my mind toward other things, and cut down on the worry and self-doubt – for the most part. There was one thought, though, that caught my attention and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this…
Where do I fit in?
I’ve been asking myself that most for my life. I was raised by well-meaning (I hope) religious parents who I’m beginning to believe wanted to be different. I’m not talking your regular Baptist, Protestant, Methodist, Catholic religious type of people. I’m talking going to “meetings” and knocking on doors type of people. The type of people who are so bigoted and arrogant as to say that no other religion has it right.
I’m saying this now – logically, no religion has it 100% right, because no human is perfect.
But I digress. This isn’t going to be a rant on the unfairness of religion. I have come to understand that most of what happened to me was because of who my parents were and how they saw the world. This was only to give you some background on why I never fit in as a kid in school or to be honest anywhere.
Maybe if I had gone to school with other kids that were in the same religion it would have been different. I went to school in a tiny little town in West Virginia. I learned everything you’re supposed to learn in school, but I also learned that people will hurt you just because you’re different.
They do not need any other excuse than that.
It was a hard lesson to learn, and I’m still learning it now. I used to think that I didn’t trust people because my parents disowned me – told me God would have nothing to do with me now because I wouldn’t follow their rules. Now I believe that was only part of it, because the ridicule and dare I say hatred didn’t stop when I left my parents’ house and their religion. Even the most kindhearted people fear differences and things they don’t understand. Unfortunately, this world is filled with people who do not want to stretch, learn, and grow. It takes a lot of pressure in order for some people to accept others who do not share their beliefs and opinions. Or even to just let them be.
When did it become mandatory for everyone to be friends? If you don’t like me that’s okay, just leave me be. I certainly don’t want to spend time with everyone I meet and they’re not my friends, but – and this is kind of the point – they are free to do as they please without me judging or ridiculing them. All I ask is that people give me the same courtesy and respect.
So where DO I fit in?
When I was younger, I craved normalcy and acceptance. So I told my story to anyone who would listen. I’m sure some of you out there are saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t have done that”! Well, I learned eventually, but I came out of it battered and bruised, and it took a while to heal.
It took even longer to understand that my thoughts, my feelings, my experiences, my differences were mine to dole out to the appropriate people and not everyone deserved to know the real me. In other words, it was their problem not mine that they did not “get” me. It left me with a huge chip on my shoulder for longer than I care to think about.
I’m thankful I’ve had twenty years to figure this out and that I’ve met a few people along the way that have restored my faith in humanity. Not because they understand everything I think, say, and feel, but because they accept my differences, my imperfections, my failures and it doesn’t make them hate me or question why they want me in their life.
I am especially thankful I am married to a person who has shown me more love and acceptance than I ever dreamed I would have in this lifetime.
But what matters most is that I’m finally learning to accept me for me. I am finally fitting in to myself. I have shed most of my preconceived notions of what others want me to be and am happy to explore my differences. And even if there is no other person on this planet that sees the world the same way I do, it doesn’t matter. Neither of us is wrong or right – just different. There’s strength in that I think.
I’m learning to embrace my differences – how about you?