Should You Fit In or Stand Out?

schoolI am one of those people blessed with intelligence. Not when it come to maths, obviously, but most other things I find easy to understand and remember. I’m not boasting; it’s a genetic thing. It’s the same process that gave me the colour of my eyes or the size of my feet. I didn’t DO anything to deserve my unique DNA, I was just born that way.

When I was at school it didn’t take long for me to understand that other kids didn’t like me being ‘brainy’. And being able to see what was going on, I soon discovered the way to be liked was to pretend I wasn’t smart.

I never put my hand up in class, I sometimes answered questions wrong on tests and I skipped class to smoke behind the bike sheds. Standing out meant that I felt lonely and different so I tried my hardest to fit in.

This weekend I’ve struggled with the same issues. My e-book has a different approach to anything else I’ve seen. I believe it’s impossible to make the transition to loving yourself by focusing on yourself. My premise is that love can only travel in one direction – outward – and once we love other people without expecting anything in return, then the love that flows through us transforms us.

I’m worried about this message. I know that some people won’t agree with me. I’m standing out again.

Part of me wishes I had just repackaged the same message everyone else is saying. I could have made a pretty e-book telling you how to look in the mirror every morning and find things to love about yourself or how to repeat “I am beautiful” affirmations before drifting off to sleep. Hell, I could have even given you a worksheet where you could write down the twenty things you are most proud of.

It would have been easier. It would have been safer. I wouldn’t have felt sick with worry that the other kids won’t like me …

But I’ve made my choice. I no longer pretend to be anything other than who I am. I write from my experience and this is how it happened to me.

I’m standing out — out here where it feels cold and alone sometimes. I want to hang out with the cool kids and smoke behind the bike sheds, but this time I’m going to resist the urge and celebrate my uniqueness.

Do you ever feel different and long to scurry back to the comfort of being just like everyone else?

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About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

11 thoughts on “Should You Fit In or Stand Out?

  1. Um, safe and easy – that’s not who you are anymore (thank God) :).

    I know it’s hard sometimes, but fuck what anyone else thinks ;).

    You can still be a cool kid and come hang behind the bike sheds and smoke with me ;).

  2. I’m so proud of you for being brave enough to stand out and do what you know is right! I feel different all the time…I won’t settle for the “American Dream” (slaving away in a drab cubicle so I can have a house with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids, etc.) Sure, the 9-5 is what I do now, but I’m striving to leave it. Everyone I work with is content to live that way, but not me. They know I’m different. Sometimes I do wish I could go back to the days when that would have been enough, but usually I’m content to strive for something better.

  3. I don’t think I have ever fitted in, Katie. I did the same, pretended I was not as smart as I was. I can see that my life could have taken a different direction if I had just been me, but either I couldn’t or wasn’t allowed to be me. Even my professions is not what a I wanted to do. I have however taken that at least and forged a path the way I want to go. I still have a long way to go. Your book is amazing. I am of the old school and need to print it out and devour words on a page. Look forward to reading again.

    1. I always thought I could have been a doctor if I had tried harder at school. But now I think it wouldn’t have suited me (I’m too emotional!).
      Thanks for your feedback about the book. When you print it out, skip page 1 (the cover) as it’s a waste of ink. You can print two to a page and it’s still legible if your eyes are good 😀

  4. I was 6ft by the time I was 14. I literally stood out my whole life. I find it both hard and empowering. Sometimes I’d like to just blend in, but I’m tall, loud, overweight, long curly hair, intelligent and full of words, so it doesn’t usually work out.

    Sometimes that can be depressing. I find social occasions can be hard, not while I’m at the party, but after when I fret and question if I was ‘too much’ or ‘over the top’ or ‘said something wrong’. Staying true to who I am and not shying away from it is important but also sometimes difficult.

    I also sometimes find I feel strong and empowered by my difference. I feel that my difference is a good thing, that I’m lucky to be all those weird things that I am. That I stand out can sometimes be to my advantage.

    The reality is however, when you get deep down, everyone is different and would stand out if they let themselves!

    Great blog.


    1. Hi Kate — what a wonderful comment.

      I love “The reality is however, when you get deep down, everyone is different and would stand out if they let themselves!”

      Thank you ♥

  5. I like how different your philosophy on love is. It’s not the same thing I’m seeing everywhere else, and that’s one of the things that drew me in to your words. You have a different message. You are you. I don’t feel as if you’re presenting a facade. Thank you for that.

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