For decades I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere. As far back as I can remember, it was difficult to "fit in". My mother was always saying "Why can't you be more like this person or that person?" I wondered that, too. I tried as hard as I could but somehow, it just didn't quite work. I didn't think like other people. And I was often misunderstood.
Sometimes I could learn to say and do enough of what was expected of me that I could "pass" for belonging on the outside. But I never felt it on the inside. The closest I ever got to "fitting in" was in my private moments of meditation, yoga, or other pursuits that connected me spiritually.
Until I moved to England. It is as traditional as I am not, so don't ask me how that worked but it did. Intending to live out the rest of my life there, I dug deep roots. I wrote and painted. I was deeply involved in various kinds of spiritual healing, as well as my work as a psychic and medium. I was more connected with my true Self than I had ever been, expressing both my creativity and my spirituality freely and openly. No wonder I was so happy.
I found it to be fascinating that living in the heart of a traditional country, there were several one or two-page spreads about me and my spiritual life (e.g. as a psychic and medium) in well-respected newspapers and magazines. From 2006 to 2011 I made frequent appearances on BBC Regional Radio, doing psychic phone-ins for nine counties in the East of England.
Really? On the straight-laced traditional British Broadcasting Corporation? Yes, really. This was especially fascinating given how oppressive and stifling England is in many other respects. And the Naked Scientist was always there in the studio right before my guest spots (and was he really naked? I'm not telling!).
And as straight-laced as the Brits seem to be on the surface, they accepted me, quirks and all. It was okay to be different. I heard that they love eccentricity. Perhaps that's how they saw me and that's why finally, I fit in somewhere. I felt like I belonged there. Not because I was like everyone else, but because I wasn't. They didn't understand me but they didn't care. They loved me anyway. Perhaps this is one of the biggest reasons I became a British citizen.
Fast forward and I've had to move back to Canada. The multicultural country of freedom, acceptance and openness.
Very quickly, I'm remembering that I don't fit. Canadians are great at accepting people for how they look, the colour of their skin, where they come from, and what they believe. But they don't seem to know where to put me. I don't fit into a box or a slot - or that bloody round hole.
Perhaps it's because I'm not in Hippie Vancouver or Trendy Toronto. Perhaps it's because I'm in Redneck Alberta. But whatever the reason, I don't fit and I am not understood. And I can feel it. Forcing myself to fit feels even worse...
I love my life. I love my home. I am so grateful every day for the many blessings I have been given and I am very happy. And of course there are family and friends who accept me, even though they don't really "get" me. They call me quirky. They just smile, shake their heads and hug me anyway. But when I step out into the world, I don't fit and this leaves me feeling very much on the outside of everything.
Consequently, I've learned to keep to myself a lot. Too much, in fact, especially during several years tucked away in a little cottage in The Middle of Nowhere, Rural England. So in the last couple of months I've been joining various groups, getting involved where I can and deciding it's time to be more sociable.
Mostly, it's gone well so far but recently I was reminded of how very much misunderstood I can be. It's been a long time since this happened and to be honest, I didn't take it very well. I felt flawed and defective, like there is something inherently wrong with me. It has shaken me considerably, knocked me off balance and left me bewildered, not knowing what to do next.
I was reminded that those moments are great teachers. I've had several lessons smack me in the head with this situation, one of which was that although years ago I'd stopped trying to fit in, I discovered that I've still been wishing I did. So I must stop wishing I could find a place or a group where I will fit. I'm unlikely to find it anyway - unless there is a group of Square Pegs out there somewhere!
At least I'm able to say there is one person on the planet who does "get" me completely, one person who understands me, who knows how I tick, who appreciates me and loves me no matter what, and I am so grateful for that. My "differentness" disappears during our time together and I always feel like I'm home.
Among the other lessons I learned was this - and it's the most important one of all: There is nothing "wrong with me." I am not flawed or defective, just because other people do not understand me. I am simply a square peg in a round hole, full stop. The only acceptance I need is my own.
I know there are other Square Pegs out there! Are you one of them? Please leave a comment below!