I am experiencing some frustration at not fitting in to society, such that it is...I was intrigued by someone who I am chatting with in an ACC group on Yahoo, for privacy sake I'll call him "R." He described his struggle to fit in, with the 9-5 type of job, and how he found his niche, his freedom to express his own unique self, selling art. I realized when he was sharing this story with us, that I was in that moment unsure if I had the self esteem and resolve to find my niche in life.
I think what R discovered I've always known intuitively, but putting it into concrete action is hard for me. I do understand that I don't need to compare myself to anyone else, let alone someone who I consider "normal" (whatever the hell that really is.) Where I glitch, is the idea that I will never fit in, never disappear into the background as just part of what is "regular" and normal. I continually want to consider vocations and expressions that are, for all intents and purposes beyond me. I have to be careful not to think those thing above me though.
I've spent much of my life trying to warp who I know myself to be, into the image of what others want. All the while, I am my own judge, jury, and executioner. I experience shame, guilt and despondency to change...if I allow what others think that I should be, how they think I should "show up in the world", if I allow this to be the center of my attention then my feet are stuck in the quicksand of self hatred...and this does not go to a nice place.
What R was talking about, was no more or less than anyone's struggle to belong. While the outright mistreatment of the disabled in the workplace still going on....I mean no one is going to fire you and tell you it is because you are "weird" or "different" or "arrogant" or "slow" (I can think of more derogatory terms, but that will suffice), but it happens every day. While things are changing rapidly in our country, toward the civil rights of the GLBT, I have confidence that there will come a day when the country will recon with its history of institutionalization of the disabled...we are supposedly somehow "different" than abled people, while many would not say it to our face, they treat us as if we are less a human being than them...this will change too, it is changing...in the meanwhile?
While my journey is everyone else's, just finding where I fit in, it has been so much more difficult for me, than it has for the abled person. I've had to struggle with the ignorance and maltreatment of others. Even in my own family, there was an unspoken idea that mental/emotional/developmental illnesses do not exist, that there is only moral weakness. I was told over and over to just try harder. Well.., that trying harder was really like continually bashing myself with a mallet, just to make others happy. I want not only to accept but to celebrate who I am. I want to nourish this curiosity in me, that I could also like R find his place. The most encouraging thing for me that he related was that when he found his niche working with art and such that he never looked back.
In my spiritual discipline we say that we are all flowers, in the Divine Mother's garden. That is, all beings make up the wondrous tapestry of flowers in the world. I must believe that this world would be that much impoverished were it not for my own uniquely strange and different flower, and of yours this is true also. We flourish when we support the best in all beings, not just in ourselves. We just have to find out where we look best in the garden and plant ourselves there.
May all beings be happy and free