We’ve all heard of the phrase “That’s like putting a square peg in a round hole”. It’s a phrase I have heard all of my life and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been compared to a square peg. The question is, what have I got in common with a square peg?
You see, neither the peg or I fit in. Never have and maybe we never will. The phrase can be used to describe many different scenarios, with most of them describing a person who seems a bit out of place. I’ve spent years being the odd one out. Never quite being able to find my people. Pushing and pushing, so desperately trying to fit in. Why can’t I just be like everyone else?
I’ve tried paring my edges down, morphing myself into being just like everyone else, desperately trying to fit in. “You’re too loud” they say. I responded by quieting myself. “She never says anything, she’s an easy target, she’ll never rat us out for how much we bully her”. This almost breaks me. And it happens over and over again.
Finally, a breakthrough.
I think I found my people, those who understand me, and accept me for who I am. I begin to feel like me again. Ha, they’ve got you fooled again. “Do you ever stop? I’m done being your friend, you’re just too much to handle”. The pit in my stomach grows. The tightness of my chest, it’s unbearable. The realisation hits. I have no one, no one understands. I am so alone.
It was a vicious spin on a merry-go-round that, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get off. Time and time again, I pick myself up, and pare off another piece of myself, hoping this time is the one. A little like Goldie Locks, I think I’ve adjusted myself just right, so that I’ll fit in. But no, that didn’t work. Version 394 of me wasn’t good enough for them either.
There is only so much of this constant adjusting of yourself that you can do, until you start to forget who you are. You know, the girl who is the best friend someone could have, the one who is an incredible listener, the one with the biggest heart and the gentlest soul, someone’s ride or die. That girl, she starts to fade away.
One day, while looking in the mirror and not knowing the person who was staring back, I realised I was worth more than this empty feeling. I don’t have to be good enough for anyone else. I have to be good enough for me.
Like one of those Eureka moments straight out of a Hollywood movie, the penny dropped. What if the peg (me) isn’t the problem? What if it’s the hole (the people I wanted so desperately to be liked by)? I was changing myself to fit into all of these groups of people because I thought they were the people I wanted to be my friends. But, not until that moment did I stop and think “Hey, maybe those aren’t your people”. And I was right. They weren’t!
You’ll find your people. The ones who will love you unconditionally. The ones who will stand by your side and cheer you on with every fibre of their being. They’ll pick you up from your rock bottom, dust you off and relight that fire in your belly. They’ll be there to call you out on your shit and put you back in line. They’ll make you feel so incredibly loved and supported, that you feel like you could take on the world.
There will be days when you’ll get a knockback. Someone you trust will cross a line. The metaphorical punch you’ll feel in your stomach will be hard enough to send you back to those days when you struggled to fit in. This time though, your people are there to wipe your tears away, stand you back up, and set you back in the direction you came from.
So, before you lose yourself, the incredible person that you know you are, remember that it is worth your time to wait to find those who love you rather than to lose yourself to just trying to fit in.
I’ll leave you on this. Elyse Myers is one of my favourite TikTok creators, and she has struggled with fitting in too. Now, as a grown woman, her answer to someone who tells her she is too much is to “go find less”, and that my friends is one of the most powerful tools you can ever have in your arsenal of words.