I can’t tell you when I first started trying to fit in. I can tell you that it never really worked. I’m not sure what makes me different in my head from everybody else. But it’s definitely something. Fitting in is something that we all think we want to do but I don’t seem to be willing to make a change in me that will make that actually happen.
In high school I never felt like I fit in because I was poor and I never had all the things that everyone else did. When the band went on trips I was always that kid who had to go in and figure out a way to raise the money to be able to afford it.
In university, I felt I fit in more than ever felt because everyone was different there. However, I did get a degree that I didn’t really want so that I could make money. Growing up poor meant that making money was the most important thing (the only thing) to make my life going forward different than it was in the past. So “passion” was NOT my first priority, earning potential was.
After University, I moved to Louisiana and worked in a chemical plant. It wasn’t what I wanted to do but it was a great paying job. I wore Nomex with my name on a patch. I learned a lot (including not to tell your boyfriend at the time that you made more money than him because you actually negotiated your salary…he worked at the same place I did). I made some friends but the “sportsman’s paradise” of Western Louisiana was not where I needed to be.
Then I move to Austin, I have to say that it was one of the happiest times of my life. I loved the people I loved my job. I felt super smart. I still have so many friends from that time. People who I may not talk to every day but still consider close friends. As with anything, though, things eventually changed and I decided to move on to different things. I interviewed in Europe for a job there. But then I decided to stay in North America and move to Canada with Dewey.
Once in Canada I was really out of my element. You see in the US I was considered ambitious but in Canada I was considered pushy. I would love to be able to tell you that I didn’t listen to any of the haters and that I thought I was just as awesome as I was when I was in Austin. That would be a lie.
Fourteen years later, I have some great friends in Calgary but I also have a lot of people who I bonded with over work that I don’t talk to at all any more. To be fair, lots happened good and bad. Much of it was my fault but some of it wasn’t. Much of it boiled down to the fact that it really is hard to care about the feelings of people who treat you like a friend only when you are convenient.
So now I’m at another crossroads in my life figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. One would think by 42 I might have that figured out. Instead I feel like it’s just one more place that I don’t fit in. I am not a high powered executive. I am not chasing my passion. I am not traveling the world. So what am I doing?
The blog is part of that to. I started this by writing about our life in Canada and what we were doing with my step kids and then later Evan. These days I don’t feel like I should be writing about the kids lives, though, because it’s their lives. They should be writing their own stories instead of me telling their stories from an outsider’s perspective.
So I’ve kind of felt a bit out of sorts about what to write. Oh and don’t forget the option to treat the blog like a business. You know, where you only post things that people search the internet for like recipes, party planning tips, crafts and all that jazz. I went down that path for the last year or so but now I look back across the blog and think where am I? I don’t see Merry anywhere to be found.
Oh and if you are treating your blog as a business, some will tell you there are rules about what you should and shouldn’t post, what you should and shouldn’t say. Anything you say could cause a brand not to work with you, someone to get mad at you, someone to block you..
I took this advice very seriously for a long time as you probably can tell from the blog. Unfortunately I’m now left with a vanilla mess and a feeling that I can;t actually say anything I think or care about. If you like the vanilla, you’ll probably see more of it but you might want to skip the posts that aren’t recipes or party planning or travel.
Because I’m about to start telling you what I really feel. And if that means that some of you don’t follow anymore, I’ll understand. Some of my universal truths have gotten lost in the shuffle. Things like
- I care about people more than my pocketbook.
- I don’t think being poor means you’re lazy.
- I think we should all help people who need help no matter who they are.
- I think we should all give more than we do and without expectations of how that gift is used.
- I think we should be nicer to each other.
- I think we should be loyal to those who deserve it but I think this fake expectation of loyalty when you give nothing in return is ridiculous.
- I think ADHD, depression and anxiety are real things. I think medications make a lot of people with these real issues able to function.
- I think vaccinations are good.
- I think racism is bad. And I don’t think that spotting racist epithets falls under your right to free speech.
- I stand with my Muslim friends, my friends of color, my LGBTQ friends and anyone else who finds themselves at the mercy of those trying to take their rights away.
Funny thing is, I think all of those are pretty normal things to think. Unfortunately, this crazy social media world will tell you differently. So basically I’m gonna find my tribe. The people who think like me. You may call it an echo chamber. But I call it finding where I fit in.
I am going to work on making THOSE relationship the ones I work on. Because if you don’t agree on some of those basic things, you’re probably not my people.
I have realized that I should not be trying to make myself smaller to make others happier. I have spent the last few years saying very little I think and trying not to piss off those who I know think exactly opposite of me. Here’s the thing…they don’t make themselves smaller to make ME happy so why am I doing it either?
I guess this is all to say I’m going to do a little less fitting in and a little more standing out. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. But I’m OK if you don’t because I won’t ask you to fit in either.