Maybe it’s just me, but I never fit in the box. My answers are either not on the list of options or, where there is a ‘choose only one’ from the list, I often end up ticking the ‘other’ box and writing “most of the above”.
It used to annoy me.
It used to frustrate me.
Being different is all very well but it gets a bit tedious when trying to achieve things seems to be always hampered by being in a reality that is at right angles to everyone else.
But I did find freedom! Eventually! Strangely!
Attending a network event a number of years back, there were, maybe, 60 or 70 people in a room. We were being facilitated in our warm-up exercises; getting to know each other and loosening up our personalities for the day. We were asked to divide ourselves into groups … according to the socks that we were wearing: striped socks, plain socks, red socks, blue socks, etc. Grey socks with purple stars? Not a valid category, it seems. Those with grey socks with purple stars do not fit any of the available categories and must …? Stand on their own? … Go to the lobby and have coffee? … Just go home because they don’t belong!?
Really?! Could I not just fit the box?! For once?! Did I have to have a pair of socks on that didn’t fit in any normal category?
So then I did what, possibly, any normal person would do. I looked around at all the gathered groups, picked the one that was most to my liking, and went there; barefacing the fact that my socks just didn’t match. I think they were all of the stripy-sock variety of people. It didn’t matter. We did our strange warm-up routines, laughed and got on just fine.
It might seem a rather strange problem to have: an unusual difficulty. For me, it was my life. I was born without God and yet was almost a teenager before I know that there was a word for that: “doubting Thomas” didn’t cut it for me. I left and came back to the country that some of those believers had prophesied: a materialistic party drunk on its own (apparent) wealth. I was still a fish out of water. In any community that I was ever part of, I was only a visitor as I always had a foot in some different reality, thoughts that didn’t quite fit. In any work that I did, I always seemed to be working against a system that was set up for other people and not for me. I always wanted an ‘other’ box in any form I ever filled out. I, most usually, just thought that the questions were wrong. Often, I still do.
However, my socks set me free! It no longer bothers me that I don’t fit in the box. I quite happily park diagonally across the lines in the parking lot (on quiet days as I don’t want to inconvenience anyone by taking up needed spaces). I have socks with each day of the week on them. There’s about a one-in-seven chance that I’ll be wearing them on the right day. If I think of it, I avoid it except maybe for Sundays and Mondays when I might wear one of each and the kids can get ice-cream if they pick up on it. (They haven’t yet.)
So I’ve really stopped worrying about being able to fill out the checkboxes ‘correctly’. If the option that most fits my reality is not available, I just go with the nearest one; holding a clean conscience that the person who set the question just didn’t stretch their imagination to my world. If I hit too many of them, I simply get the message that I could be doing something better with my time and move on. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. Perhaps it’s just ‘normal’, but it took me a long time to get there.