For as long as I can remember, I have always felt like the odd one out; the one that doesn’t quite fit in. I’ve been on the sidelines looking in to a world that I’ve never really quite connected to.
My sister once asked me, when we were teenagers, if I was a hippy. I used to wear long flowing cardigans and liked to meditate even when I didn’t know what meditation really was. I wasn’t into boys (go figure), I certainly wasn’t into “Take That” or “Boyzone”. I couldn’t be bothered with fashion or make up. I was just me, and that’s the way I liked it. There was only one problem; when people began branching off to find groups that they seemed to belong to, I never really found mine. Not that I was alone; I just never felt like I fitted in the group that I’d fallen into.
For eight years, I worked for a small company and a large proportion of my time was spent alone, so going into a working environment with a lot of people hasn’t been easy. It’s been a strange mix of craving for company and a shyness that I’ve never quite shaken off.
When I first started this new job, I found myself spending a lot of energy into trying to fit in, but with no television – by choice – and no interest in celebrity gossip, diets, or shoes, I found it difficult. It was like school all over again, and, I admit, I got scared.
As the weeks went by, I began to realise that I can't be any different from who I am, and I wouldn't want to change, even if I could. I really don’t like television or Facebook, diets or exercise plans. If there is anything that I have learned over the past couple of months, and from reading buddhist philosophies, is that life doesn't have to be about “fitting in”; it’s about being your self and letting others in.