We Are Not Here To Fit In
A few admissions:
In kindergarten, while everyone else was taking a nap, I kept my eyes open watching the hamster in our classroom, wondering if he was alright being confined to a cage.
In third grade, they moved me into 4th grade early saying I was gifted but all I felt was odd… like I just didn’t fit in.
In junior high, I was put into a Catholic school. When it came time for everyone to take their Confirmation Classes, it didn’t feel right for me. I told the teacher who sent me to the principal (a nun) where I was reprimanded and put into a cold, dark room alone with no books or anything to do, while my friends took their classes.
I wondered why I couldn’t just follow the norm like everyone else. It cost me friends and popularity but was a very honest choice.
At home, I most definitely felt like a freak. Sensitive and deep, I didn’t feel connected with anyone in my daily life. All I wanted was to be “normal”, more light-hearted, more carefree.
When I got to high school, I was unbelievably lost. I felt like a broken, messed up girl while everyone else seemed to have it all together. They had more friends, better clothes, perfect tans - "normal" families.
I fumbled around trying to find my people but no matter what group I affiliated with at any given time, they just didn’t fit. I made compromises – hanging around those that weren’t good for me just because I felt accepted.
All I wanted was a place to belong.
By my junior year of high school, I was on my own, independent from my parents. I barely ate for a time. It felt like the only thing I had control over.
Would I ever feel like I was a normal person?
Then, I received a phone call that would change my life.
My best friends parents heard about my situation. They offered me a place to live so I could finish high school. They said, “We think you are good role model for our kids and want you in our home.” They had 3 kids, one of them older than me. At only 16 their belief in me, what they saw that I didn’t yet, changed the trajectory of my life.
That day began the VERY long journey to not only accepting but appreciating who I was – to seeing that maybe my being “different” was a gift – that perhaps I could make a positive impact in the world BECAUSE I was different. I had no clue how I would ever do that, but my friends parents planted a seed of belief that it might be my destiny.
My senior year of high school, I moved almost 400 miles away and started at a new high school (this would be my third and final high school - whew!).
A poet-in-residence from UC Berkeley took me under her wing and published my poetry in a book. Poetry I previously felt was evidence I truly was a freak! She saw it as beautiful, skillful.
I was also asked to be the Copy Editor of my yearbook. Opportunities including work, began flooding in.
My final year in high school was by far, my best. My grades shot up and I took on responsibilities I never thought possible for me.
My teachers ranked me in the top 5% in their evaluations. I was shocked. Suddenly, all the years of feeling different – of wanting to be someone I wasn’t, seemed to be viewed as positive.
Yet, I STILL wanted to fit in with everyone else.
THAT is how strong the pull to conform is, even when it means,downgrading who you are.
College just felt like grown-up high school. Again, didn’t fit in, desperately wanted to, felt chronically lonely and wanted to be more like other people.
After college, I got an offer to work for one of the giants in the technology industry in the Silicon Valley. Everyone was accepting these jobs. At the time you’d be crazy not to, so I did too.
Finally, being in the corporate world made me feel like I was starting to fit in because that’s what everyone else was doing UNTIL the day came… when it didn’t appeal to me anymore, at all.
If this was fitting in, if this was being “normal” I thought, well then, it wasn’t for me (surprise, surprise!). (Even though I am grateful for the experience and growth I experienced in my career.)
The years I tried on normal, were the least creative, least fulfilling, least expressive, least exciting, least expansive years of my life.
All my senses were dulled and what made me unique and different all those years, was actually discouraged in the corporate environment. I didn’t ‘fit’ into the status quo and you know what, as it turns out after all that wanting, I didn’t want to!
Can you relate?
It is a GIFT to be different.
It is a GIFT to see life through a different lens - to perceive and experience things differently.
It is a GIFT to FEEL things deeper than other people do.It is a GIFT to have points-of-view that go against the norm.
It is indeed, a GIFT to be a “freak” ;).
During a recent visit with my sister, I shared with her, “I once thought being sensitive and different was a bad thing. Now I get paid for it.”
This is a call to YOU, if you have ever felt different, odd, alone, out-of-place.
I celebrate you and I want YOU to celebrate you!
Those of us who never quite fit in, who resisted the status quo, who experience life differently than most, are the Light Leaders of our day- the entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs-in-the-making, here to light this world UP, in a way only we can.
That is WHY we have been different all along.
Change is only created by those who SEE, what others cannot.
I’ve never felt more acceptance, more belonging or more celebration for who I am - than in the entrepreneurial world.
In fact, being different is not only celebrated but NECESSARY for your success.
In a world that encourages you to conform - demands it even, you need to bring out your edge, your controversial point-of-view, your non-conformity.And your soul will not leave you alone until you do.
So my friends, THIS IS A CALL TO ALL LIGHT LEADERS – those who know they are, suspect they are, or resist they are (I see you ).
And if you aren’t sure, if you feel like you have had a pretty normal life and haven't felt much like an outsider, you TOO are crazy special (!) and I know, the fact that we have crossed paths – that ALONE is a sign you are being called to greater things.
The question is, are you stepping up to The Call?
Whatever your background – perfect childhood, mediocre childhood, awful childhood and everything in between, if you are here reading this right now – you my friend are most likely being called into Light Leadership. It’s at least worth exploring right?
When you feel the nudge, follow it.
You can trust it.
You don’t need to know the details right now.
You don’t need to see every step on the path.
You only need to take the next step in front of you.
No more hiding.
No more shaming.
No more self-rejecting. No more people pleasing.
We are NOT here to fit in but to EMBRACE who we are so we can make our mark in a way only we can…
One step at a time. In service to humanity.
You don’t need to know what it will all look like now.
You don’t need to know how just yet.
You don’t need to make any permanent decisions.(Nothing is permanent anyway.)
You are always at choice -every step of the way.
and share your experience feeling out of place and what you have done to
overcome it. I’d love to hear from you! And please, feel free to share with anyone you know who needs this message today.