Do I fit in?
The Best Boot Forward questions for this week are challenging.
1.Do you feel you fit in and if so, where and who with?
Fitting in has always been a challenge to me. I reflect that perhaps because I was given away as a baby, I will always carry that sense of rejection and perhaps sometimes see it when it has not happened. My late Dad always said that there was a void that even he and my Mum could not fill despite their very best efforts.
Apparently the community in Yorkshire I moved to at just under a year old welcomed me with open arms. I went to school but as soon as you said you were adopted you inadvertently marked yourself out as different. This was compounded by the fact that my parents were so much older than other children’s and my brothers were around 16 years older than me so we were not the average family in that way. I remember doing OK socially in primary school from what I remember but at secondary school I always felt alien, picked on, bullied and lonely. Perhaps that is unfair because there were of course happy times and good friends too. I just felt people did not really like or understand me especially as I liked learning and did well academically.
Ironically, when the working class kid from Dewsbury went to Cambridge University, it felt OK and right. I always felt there must have been some mistake that they had let me in in the first place. However, it was easy enough to find your tribe and I remember a lot of kindness from people both male and female. Some people were particularly wonderful seeing my shyness and making efforts to include me. That is beyond the call of duty and I appreciate the memories made as a result of such kindnesses to this day.
These days social media has brought contact with some of those people. I don’t really fit in now as although still bright, I don’t have a dazzling career or pots of money. All that went wrong somewhere and that is something to think about in another post.
I worked in charities before becoming a stay at home mum down the line. I think people saw me as that bit different but we shared a common cause in helping people. Certainly when working in advice agencies and the like, I felt at home kicking ass with others and fighting injustices.
With the men I have ended up with (only two!), I really did feel a good fit. With both I was ignoring pretty obvious warning signs just grateful someone wanted to be with me and laugh with me. They tired of me quickly enough resenting my analytical nature or my belief women should get a fair deal.
The blogging world became a sanctuary to me and I am so thankful to have had such an outlet for thoughts, feelings and opinions. Real friendships have emerged from blogging and I value having people in my corner.
Where I absolutely fit is with my three lovely children. Although I don’t think I am the most wonderful mum in the world at all, I do stick by them and keep them safe. We laugh together and fortunately they are all thinkers, feelers and up for a debate any time.
2.What prevents you fitting in? Should you accept this or change it?
Some of my history just means the fact is I am an outsider. I was born in London when most of my peers at school were born in Yorkshire. I am adopted and most people aren’t. I was the working class kid at Cambridge and most people weren’t. I always say that it was quite a leap for someone whose Mum was a cleaner to find herself having her own cleaner aged 18! Cambridge Law graduates were not that common in the charity world as the pay tends to be poor and funding insecure. Do I need to be like everyone around me? One of the brilliant things about going to new places all my life is that I have met a diverse range of people and learned from all of them in one way or another.
The fear of rejection has led to me pushing people away over the years. The truth is once I let people in, most do seem to like me even quite a lot. That gets way easier with age of course. Now I can just play and not worry too much but I am still hyper-vigilant for someone turning on me.
3.Are you forcing yourself to stick with something that is just not healthy or right for you? Who can support you to extricate yourself from that situation?
I find this question difficult to answer. I absolutely know life circumstances can be changed but you do have to sure the grass really is greener on the other side. My marriage if far from perfect but it has its good aspects too. My work fits for now around parenting and stuff. I do wonder if it might be nice to get a job at some point but equally I love the freedom freelancing brings. Home education is something I constantly question because it really is quite a tough choice and although I think it is absolutely right for my children at the moment, that does not necessarily mean it is right for me and my wellbeing.
4.If you could find your ideal place anywhere whether location or circumstances, where would that be and why?
I have a long-standing dream of learning about floristry and selling flowers by the sea! I also know that if I ever decide to pursue this, it is perfectly do-able.