“Pick me, PICK ME.” This reminds me of my many tortured elementary school days on my school playground when my peers would never pick me. In fact, I was most often the last person picked – particularly for anything involving sports. It was a very sad and lonely time.
I desperately wanted to fit in. I desperately wanted to be good at something. I desperately wanted to feel as though I belonged and was accepted. But, alas, I often felt none of those things. Instead, I felt ostracized, alone, alienated, different, isolated, pathetic, and sad. I wanted to be part of the group. Yet, I was also horrible, COMPLETELY HORRIFIC when it came to playground sports. I was artistic, I was a great actor and I loved arts and crafts…. these skills, unfortunately, were not very valuable during my playground days.
It took a long time for me to find my place and feel included and accepted. I really did not feel fully accepted until I found a new high school at age 16. I auditioned and was accepted to a famous performing arts high school – and suddenly all the kids were like me. We were all the elementary school sports rejects…. yet, when given a school of our own, we all belonged. I was in heaven. Complete and total HEAVEN.
I learned a valuable lesson when I switched schools at age 16. I learned that my isolation was not about me per se – it was just a wrong fit. It was not that I was being rejected and did not fit in because I was a bad person – it was simply not the right group for me to be part of. When I was suddenly placed within the right group of kids for me, I blossomed and grew – and I was happier.
Over time, I have come to realize this is still true in my adult life. I have some really amazing friends – we picked each other due to our common interests – we create our own circles of belonging. Similarly, we find our work environments in a variety of different ways – yet the work environments we are happiest in are ones that allow us to find ourselves and shine. I think this is critical to understand when applying for jobs. A new job is less about being liked and picked (even though we all want to be picked if we are applying to a new job that sounds fun and exciting). In an ideal world, being chosen for a position is more about being a right fit for an organization (and the organization a right fit for you) and less about popularity or other frivolous ways people choose to judge each other.
Today, 133 days ’til 40 I remind myself that as an adult I do not want to desperately yearn to be chosen by anyone for anything – I, instead, want to find those places of mutual respect and understanding – where there is mutual choice and engagement – those special places and spaces where I belong “just because”.
October 11, 2012 at 00:10
what a gift!
October 11, 2012 at 20:33
October 11, 2012 at 00:18
“I desperately wanted to fit in. I desperately wanted to be good at something. I desperately wanted to feel as though I belonged and was accepted. But, alas, I often felt none of those things. Instead, I felt ostracized, alone, alienated, different, isolated, pathetic, and sad. I wanted to be part of the group. Yet, I was also horrible, COMPLETELY HORRIFIC when it came to playground sports.”
In 7th grade I joined the baseball team at school. A couple weeks into practice I was not enjoying myself, so I called the coach to quit. He seemed happy with my decision. Not my just my teammates (other kids), but the coach: an alleged adult.
In high school, I would end up hanging out with other outcasts. Years later, as I’m a little over a year into my transition, I’m finding groups with whom I fit rather than hoping they’ll find me.
October 11, 2012 at 20:33
Yes, Connie, I think you make very good points. As we get older and are not stuck in places that are not of our own choosing (like high school) we are able to start to choose our own groups. We can seek out like minded individuals who will understand us, respect us, and be willing to love us exactly as we are. It is such a relief to get to this point in life. I wish you the best and I really hope you keep connecting with people who support you.
October 11, 2012 at 01:00
I can so identify with all you said in your blog today. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to perform professionally as a musician, however there is always the fear about money.
October 11, 2012 at 20:30
I bet…. yes, it is sad that monetary fears often pull many of us away from what we really love……
The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)
October 11, 2012 at 07:45
Glad you found your place both back as a 16 year old and now. You seem pretty content. I find myself at the age of 27 still trying to find my place in this world – hopefully I’ll find it soon.
October 11, 2012 at 20:30
I also hope you find it soon! You are on the right path – you are looking! 🙂
October 11, 2012 at 07:47
Not being very academic I always felt on the outer…Luckily for me I was a good sports women..*smiles*…otherwise I would have been buggered!! *laughing* x
October 11, 2012 at 20:29
hehehe – I so wanted to be that sports woman!
Another Thousand Words
October 13, 2012 at 01:47
October 13, 2012 at 22:36
October 15, 2012 at 04:22
My older daughter is living the life of not yet having a place or a group of kids into which she fits. It’s near heartbreaking for me, to see her be an outcast and struggling to figure out who she is and with whom she “belongs”. I suppose there’s nothing that will be help to her but time and wisdom, eh? Speaking of which, quite often you make me wonder if you didn’t hit 40 35 years ago, with all the wisdom you seem to have.
October 15, 2012 at 23:08
Oh, I hope she finds her place too – it is so hard to watch someone in that space……. and thanks for the compliment!