“Ms. Rouson, this cartridge won’t click into place.” I gazed up at my coworker with a look of confusion. In her hand, she held the staple holder from the copy machine with the cartridge inserted backwards. I couldn’t figure out how she could mix up how to properly insert the cartridge as number one, I showed her, and number two, it seemed easy enough to figure out. Nevertheless, she had forced something to fit, and I couldn’t get it out. At the risk of almost breaking the cartridge and the staple holder, I yanked the cartridge until it broke free.
I am going to do my best to be succinct today.
Recently I ordered a shirt from sister-in-love who designs clothes. I was more than excited to support her, and I was even more excited about wearing my shirt that boldly read, “Black Barbie,” across the chest. In an order mix up, I received a shirt that was a size too small. I noticed as soon I opened the package but, because I waited a while to receive the shirt, I decided to keep it. Surely I could make it work. I tried on the shirt and attempted to stretch it to fit my body. When that didn’t work, I went and grabbed one of my go-to girdles to suck and tuck all of my extra. In the end, I made it in the shirt but I was so uncomfortable.
Growing up, I never felt like I belonged. Whether it was because I was the chunky little girl with a gap or the quiet one (yes, I can be quiet), I just didn’t seem to blend with the crowd. I could also probably contribute my proclivity to being a loner to the fact that I was a church girl, I wasn’t fast like some of my peers, I was smart, or because I was a chorus nerd. I really can’t pinpoint why I didn’t effortlessly fit in with the crowd, but I didn’t, and sometimes it hurt. I mean who wants to feel separate, lonely, misunderstood, and inadequate?
Throughout childhood and especially in adulthood, I would sometimes force myself to fit where I didn’t belong. Whether dumbing down to not seem so smart, laughing at jokes that I didn’t find funny, or going with flows that were traveling in directions that I didn’t agree with, I would do what it took to not always be the odd ball. Somewhere within the last two years of transition, I made up in my mind that I was done forcing a square peg into a round hole. I won’t make it seem like I had some sudden epiphany and everything changed with the flip of a switch, but I did make a decision that I didn’t want to be anywhere I didn’t belong anymore.
Here’s the truth, just like with that shirt that was too small when I received it, being in a place where you’re not meant to be will always be a bit uncomfortable.
Recently, I was placed in a situation where I was surrounded by people who I don’t necessarily “rock with.” Given the choice to be in that crowd, I would have opted out. Don’t get me wrong, these individuals aren’t bad people and I have nothing against them, I just don’t rock with them. Some of the things that they take pleasure in (being petty, gossiping, thinking too highly of themselves) are things that I don’t. When around them, I initially tried to shrink…be unnoticed. Then when I realized that wouldn’t work [because my presence is intended to stand out], I almost succumbed to the urge to blend in. Then in an internal conversation with myself I reminded myself off who the heck I was! Furthermore, I remembered that I didn’t need to blend in so that I could have their approval. Aha! I’ll come back to that…
My awakening to the fact that I no longer wanted to force myself into circles where I didn’t belong was a process, and I’d like to share the steps with you.
(Yeah, I know I didn’t include a scripture reference. Don’t stone me please!)
Maybe you are uncomfortable in the circles that you are in because you don’t fit. Whether it is a friendship, relationship, partnership, fellowship, or any other ship you can think of, when it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. If it’s not taking you anywhere, hop off that ship! If you have changed or grown, congratulations…that is a good thing! I know you may feel like a loner but would you rather be alone because God has set you apart so that he can position you for your purpose or be lonely because you are surrounded by things or people who don’t align with your life. I choose the first option. It seems appealing to be surrounded by people, but consider that you are constantly pouring out of yourself with very little possibility of being replenished by people who don’t fit your season.
Today I challenge you to really SEE you, with your set apart self, and accept what you see. If necessary, remove yourself from those circles. Oh! Remember how I said I almost ran the risk of breaking the staple cartridge and holder when I had to remove it? Consider that the harder you push yourself somewhere you don’t belong, the more risky, painful, and tedious the separation process may be.
Hey, Square Peg, no more round holes. It’s the wrong fit.
So much for being succinct.
I hope this helps.