I don't fit in

Confessions of a Misfit: 35 Ways I Don’t Fit In

Do you feel as if you don’t fit in? I do and last week I was told that everyone else feels the same way.

Is it true? I’m not sure but apparently feeling you don’t fit in is common, so instead of fretting about it and trying to make ourselves fit in, or in my case at least appear to fit in, we should be accepting it and celebrating our differences.

What a relief. Instead of hiding our quirks we can share them and move on.

Why do we feel as if we don’t fit in?

There are myriad reasons why we feel we don’t fit in. These are my experiences but you’ll have your own.

For children growing up in Britain the class thing can get ugly. When I lived in the UK many people complained that I sounded posh. Others said I sounded common. It’s confusing and alienating.

Then when I left England for greener pastures no one could understand why anyone would want to go and live in Zimbabwe/Laos/New Zealand or wherever I was moving to. I couldn’t understand how they could resist exploring the world.

Now I live in Australia but I’m not an Australian (I have British and Kiwi passports) so it seems like I’m destined not to fit in. And though I strive to make my kids feel confident and secure I can see that in many ways I’m setting them up for the same outcast experience.

My children were born in New Zealand but have lived in Costa Rica and now in Australia. They have no Playstation or Wii and they just can’t seem to get the hang of wearing shoes. Even the 12 year old. The 9 year old has a habit of climbing trees and shinning lamp posts and we applaud this where passersby frown at it. The daughter shows no interest in high heels, fashion or fancy hair dos. Thank heavens, she’s only six but many six year old girls are being groomed and parade around like little Barbie dolls.

Yes, there are thousands of wonderful ways not to fit in and I love eccentric people. But where does eccentric end and weird begin? It’s a fine line and no doubt we all cross it at times.

Maybe I’m crossing it now but the reason I set up my blog was to share my story. To make our blogs work we need to be honest, open and unguarded. We need to share a true multi-faceted story. In doing so we’ll realise that the feeling of not fitting means we’re in good company.

35 ways I don’t fit in

1. I was raised in a water mill. The mill wheel no longer turned and my father, an architect, had converted the mill into our family home. We had a glass staircase in the living room with a view of a waterfall and the waterwheel, a mill pond and two streams in the garden.

2. My left ear sticks out. The result of a childhood accident involving me tripping over at school, ripping my ear on a slinky and seven stitches. I was an “accident prone” child, always falling over and breaking things – ironic really because Annabel means graceful.

3. I like the smell of chicken shit. Stems from spending a lot of fun times with my chickens Henrietta and Penelope as a child.

4. I talk to animals. If I walk past a dog on the beach I might say greet it aloud just as I would a human.  I’m not a dog person though but I LOVE cats.

5. I like birds too and enjoy a bit of ornithology even though it’s totally uncool. The bird watching is sensational in Costa Rica.

6. From the age of five I wanted to be a writer but my parents said it was too hard. So it took me a while to pluck up courage to write anyway. I guess my parents didn’t know that where once earning a living from writing may have been hard now writers are in high demand.

7. So I decided to be a doctor instead but I’m really not that good at science so it was never going to work out. I ended up studying French and English to fill in time until I worked out what I was going to do.

8. I always worked when I was a student to finance my travel habit. I’ve been a nanny, a bartender, a shop assistant and a very bad waitress.

9. I worked on a kibbutz in Israel too, first in the kitchen and then in the orchards picking lychees but I ran away after a week because the people were mean.

10. I went to Egypt and hung out in the Sinai on the Red Sea making friendship bands and doing hair braids. That’s where I met my husband. I was a 23 year old hippy who wasn’t even looking for a boyfriend.

11. We got married in Vanuatu 16 years and 3 children later. According to Forbes magazine Vanuatu is the happiest place in the world. Instead of a honeymoon we had a poopymoon. All the kids got a terrible tummy bug. I even had to put the five year old back in nappies. We still had a great time though.

12. I’m shy. Speaking in public is hard. I’m terrible on video. I’m joining Toastmasters to combat this. When I do give a talk everyone says how relaxed I look so I must be a good actress.

13. I struggle with confidence. Have done for as long as I can remember. Blogging has helped a lot but I still swing between thinking I can conquer the world and thinking I’m a hopeless case.

14. Much as I love writing I don’t understand people who correct grammar and spelling mistakes in library books. They must be frustrated editors.

15. I’m not cut out for urban life. Honking cars, crowded streets and flashing lights are stressful and confusing but the people watching opportunities are unparallelled.

16. I can wash my hair and body in a bucket of water. A useful skill I picked up during my bathroomless year in Zimbabwe.

17. I have car blindness. Fords, Nissans, Pajeros and even Skodas all look the same to me. To overcome this problem and learn to recognise my car and friends’ cars I pay attention to color and make up little phrases from the number plates.

18. I’m going deaf already.

19. I’m 5 foot 9 inches tall but everyone seems to think I look taller. As a child I was teased mercilessly for being a scrawny beanpole.

20. I like waving at people. Most of them wave back even if they don’t have the foggiest idea who you are. This is a fun way to pass the time on long and otherwise boring journeys.

21. I’m an excellent breeder. I had three big babies, giving birth once in hospital and twice at home on the floor and in a birthing pool. I’d like to give birth again even though it hurts like hell but three kids are quite enough.

22. I’m a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, King Robert the Bruce II, the last king of Scotland. I can show you the family tree my dad made if you don’t believe me.

23. I had a sheltered middle class childhood. At the all girl’s school I went to we had to wear a straw boater, a yellow, blue and white striped blazer and white gloves. No wonder I rebelled.

24. I love the Internet because it levels the playing field and allows a little home-based business like mine to compete for business with and win against major advertising agencies like Saatchi and Saatchi or Ogilvy and Mather.

25. I have an addictive personality so I try to stay clear of most addictive substances most of the time apart from chocolate which I eat daily. Doctors orders.

26. I get up super early so I can have a walk on the beach or exercise before my family gets up and I actually look forward to my alarm clock ringing at the crack of dawn. So much so that I normally wake up before it rings.

27. I’m a tattoo free zone. I often thought about getting one but a little voice told me it would be better not to in case I ever wanted to (or needed to) disappear. So far I haven’t felt the need to disappear but I still enjoy entertaining the possibility.

28. I’ve been flashed at more times than I can remember but probably not in the last 20 years. It mostly happened in France and once memorably in Egypt underwater when I was innocently snorkeling. It’s not just sharks you have to worry about when ocean swimming.

29. I’m a real know it all. I love giving advice and being right. I’m highly opinionated but mostly I keep my ideas to myself because I don’t like arguments.

30. I’ve done a lot of hitchhiking including getting rides on a donkey cart, the top of a gravel truck and hanging on to the pole at the back of a fire engine. I don’t recommend any of these modes of transport.

31. I really am nuts about blogging because of all the amazing things it’s done for me personally, professionally and emotionally. On the back of my business card it says “help change the world one blog at a time”.  I truly believe blogging is changing the world and I want to teach more people how to tap into the power of blogging to change their worlds.

32. I love long words. I used to pore over the thesaurus when I was a kid but now I never get to use those fancy words because they make me look like a smart ass and no one can understand what I’m talking about. I still try to slip in the odd one here and there though.

33. I used to scorn the use of numbered list on blogs but now I love them.

34. I’m starting to understand that being misunderstood is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. That not fitting in is a gift. That not everyone will judge me for how I look or what I say or do.

35. But I’m still not that comfortable talking about myself. I’d much rather grill you and find out what makes you tick.

I’d love to read your comments. Do you feel as if you don’t fit in? What do you do to embrace your quirkiness?

Share Your Quirks in a Blog Post

If you’re a blogger write a blog post on your own blog about how you don’t fit in or what makes you unique. Leave a comment here with the link and I’ll write another post linking to them all.

I want this to be a place and a community where anyone and everyone fits in. No matter how quirky they are.

Thank you for joining me. I’m looking forward to finding out more about you.

Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara at Saving For Someday February 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Annabel, we were so meant to meet at BlogWorld! I really do believe that. It’s funny that I’ve been dealing with this same topic in my head for quite some time. You did an excellent job here!

I too lived on a Kibbutz. Also for a short period of time. And the people were mean too. Hmmm. That’s not a good ratio between the two of us.

You are a wonderful and fantastic woman and all these things that make you different also give you so much character and personality. You could wave at me any day and I’d surely wave back! I wave at people all the time and smile at strangers daily. It makes me feel good to see other people smile and feel connected in some way.

While you live half a world away, I feel like you’re hanging out just talking with me. I really am glad we met at BlogWorld!

Hugs,
Sara

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Annabel Candy February 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Hi Sara, lol about the kibbbutz – wonder if it was the same one:) I hope we get to meet again soon. I love all the virtual waving though and we do share a lot through our blogs that wouldn’t come up in any normal conversation!

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Crayon Wrangler February 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Love this idea and while you see 35 reasons you don’t fit in…I see 35 reasons you are a pretty cool person I would like to know.
Seriously.

I would love to do this type of list on my blog, but #1 would be…
1.) I am an apathetic procrastinator who never finishes a project.
2.)
3.)

See what I mean?

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Annabel Candy February 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Hi Crayon, love it! I’m getting a lot of laughs out of this. Thank you. Let me help you:

2. I’m a terrible liar.
3. I’m never take myself seriously.

Or you could always grab that crayon and doodle it:)

PS. I’m not definitely not cool – I’m always falling over and breaking things and then there’s the dodgy ear. But I’m very glad we can get to know each other through our blogs ‘cos you really do look cool.

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Taty February 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I’d call this blog “35 reasons why I’m so unique”…. lets see: long beautiful hair with just a bucket of water, posh accent (to me, you’re very posh.. and so glamorous with all that knowledge of the world)…
I really like number 34 by the way.

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Annabel Candy February 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Hi Taty, ah, thank you:) I guess that’s why I left the UK, I’m much more appreciated outside it although I do have some wonderful family and friends there who don’t care how I speak.

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Amar February 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Hey Annabel,

Each of us is a unique expression of the cosmos itself. None of us are meant to fit in. Yet somehow by social and political engineering, people act more like sheep than they do humans. That’s another story though…

You inspired me to write this entry about my own struggles:
http://starrynirvana.tumblr.com/post/3439735200/who-am-i-a-misfit-striving-for-truth

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Annabel Candy February 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Hi Amar, I love what you wrote here and on your blog. What a journey so far, you are wise beyond your years. I couldn’t see how to leave you a comment on your blog but I love this bit:
” I don’t want to fit in. Fitting in means trading my reasons for living for being another sheep in the pasture.” Thank you!

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Sandra / Always Well Within February 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Annabel,

This post is like a breath of fresh air. And I really needed to hear this today! Thank you. I also don’t fit in at least in a zillion ways. You and I must be the only two woman in the world who don’t have tattoos. Everyone in Hawai’i has them. Now here is a confession of one of my big quirks ~ I developed a fear of birds as a child. Guess, you and I won’t be going birdwatching together. :)

A fabulous piece. I love your spirit.

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Annabel Candy February 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Hi Sandra, how plain and unadorned we are – but filled with possibility. It’s good to be a blank canvas:) But surely not all birds? Only hideous crows and the like?! But it’s ok, we still have lots in common and really what makes us different is as interesting or more so than what unites us. Thank you:)

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Laura Lanigan February 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Annabel, thanks for this post, you are 35 shades of interesting.

I love number 24 – the democratisation of business that is being facilitated by the internet is so wonderful to see. I’m also with you on number 27, no tattoos for me, for the same reasons.

Love numbers 31, 32, 33 and 34! Maybe you fit in with others more than you realise ;-)

Laura x

PS I use to attend Toastmasters, I highly recommend it!

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Annabel Candy February 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Hi Laura, thanks for that! See another great thing about those numbered lists is they make it really easy for us to reply to each other:) I can tell Toastmasters is going to be good for me.

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Amy Parmenter February 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm

you like the smell of chicken sh–? I like the smell of horse manure!! and gasoline for that matter. Who wants to fit in??

miss ya!

amy

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Dave Doolin February 23, 2011 at 2:12 am

Be honest, Amy, you like how feels squishing between your toes…

It’s that fine aroma of diesel and salt water for me. Nothing better!

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:33 am

Lol, yes, horse poo smells okay too but gasoline and diesel, I’ll have to work on that. Lol, must be something to do with my car blindness:)

Scott McIntyre | Vivid Ways February 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Hi Annabel,

That’s a cool list of quirks! I definitely think we should all celebrate the things that make us stand out. Can you imagine what a list of “35 Ways I Do Fit in” would consist of? How unremarkable it would be?!

You mentioned it before… but I’m delighted to be reminded of your ancestral links with Robert the Bruce. That will mean you never give up – but, are you scared of spiders?

(For your readers who might know: according to legend, before a critical battle in which he faced defeat, Robert the Bruce took shelter in a cave. As he contemplated his future, he watched a spider trying to climb its web. Each time, the spider dropped to the bottom of the strand of thread, but each time, it never gave up – and kept on trying, again and again. Robert the Bruce gained courage for the battled ahead. After all: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”)

Here endeth the history lesson! ;-)

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:36 am

Hi Scott, it’s true, that list would be dull. I am a tenacious character and yes, spiders scare me. I prefer not to sleep with one in my room. We have some very large specimins called Huntsman here in Australia as big as your hand. Eeek.

Wow! I love that story. I have to say I no nothing about Robert the Bruce except the name and what you just told me. Thank you!

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barbara February 23, 2011 at 2:04 am

Annabel, I say celebrate the differences. How boring life would be if we all fit into a tidy little niche. I’ve even noticed that blogging is becoming less niche oriented and I think that’s a very good thing. We all have our own unique gifts to share and I for one am grateful for that.
Thanks for the post.

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:37 am

Hi Barbara, I can never squeeze my blog into one neat niche so that would be good news:) Thank you:)

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker February 23, 2011 at 2:12 am

Annabel,

I absolutely love your honesty and courage to share.

My biggest quirk (in full disclosure I have a million of them) is I can only write if I’m listening to music. I created a Hillsong United channel on Pandora.

I accept your invitation – look for a post soon.

Alex

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:38 am

Hi Alex, oh that will be exciting, can’t wait to hear your post. What type of music?!

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker February 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Hillsong United is a Christian rock band from, get this, Australia!

Sonia Barton February 23, 2011 at 2:24 am

Sorry, I’m a bad follower. I don’t leave my email. But this post is so good I had to leave my email. I think like you say feeling like we don’t belong is a commonality with most of us. I’m sure that we could all follow your example and write a list of our own. Pat on the back to you for the courage to write it. I’d be scared to let people know so much about me. I’ll have to get past the ‘trying to fit’ and accept my oddness ;-)

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:41 am

Hi Sonia, thanks so much for commenting and don’t worry I promise I won’t email you;) I think writing the list will help you accept how your “oddness” reframed now as delightful quirks and eccentricities makes you utterly intriguing!

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Jax February 23, 2011 at 2:32 am

Hi Annabel,
Great post! I have a tattoo that covers my entire back :-) so I’m not fitting in with you bare skinned ladies. I also correct mistakes in any book I’m reading, whether or not it’s from the library. This is more of an occupational hazard than frustration. There’s always a pen in my hand and I just don’t notice I’m doing it.
I’ve also spent time in Costa Rica and loved watching the birds and the monkeys and pretty much everything else. I’m a lazy blogger but I enjoy it.
:-) Thanks for the post.

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:44 am

Hi Jax, thank you for commenting. Re your tattoo – ah, that’s wonderful and brave, we will make a frame for you! So that’s you who corrects the typos?! Mystery solved:) If you ever find any here please tell me, I live in fear of them:) How I miss Costa Rica and think of my monkey friends nearly every day. Trees look so bare without monkey in them.

I’m so glad you enjoy blogging. That really is the most important thing about it:)

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rita Vail February 23, 2011 at 2:41 am

Annabel – thank you for this post! I, too, am one of those mothers who sent their kids to school with bean sandwiches and wearing sox with sandals. I was too busy to wonder if I was traumatizing the children. Now I am 63 and have grown tired of having to think about the whole thing. I want a tribe! I say – Oddballs Unite.
Rita

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:46 am

Hi Rita, oddballs unite is great:) I’ve been considering something like that as a slogan. “A place where misfits fit in” but the wording is so negative, enjoying quirky and eccentric much more:) The bean sandwiches sounds interesting – a true relic from the way people used to eat!

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JoAnn Candelaria February 23, 2011 at 3:37 am

Hi Annabel – I usually don’t take the time to read posts this long, but I thoroughly loved this and had to read every word, even every comment. As I was getting ready for work this morning, I had this very thought, that I’ve never felt like I fit in anywhere; which can be very lonely at times. Your post and the comments of your readers have brightened my outlook today. Thanks.

Oh, and my quirk for the day: I talk, out loud, with myself all the time because it’s difficult to find anyone else who will actually listen to what I have to say.

JoAnn ; }

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:48 am

Hi JoAnn, thank you. It was supposed to be a quick short post but I never seem to manage those. Glad it brightened your day though. Yes, I love talking to myself. Everything I say is so fascinating and I’m the best listener too. Most therapeutic:)

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Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane February 23, 2011 at 4:27 am

I’m new to your blog, but like what I see. The world needs more quirkiness (and good news) and if we ever meet in our various wanderings around the planet let’s have coffee, or kava (isn’t that why they’re so happy in Vanuatu?)

Just yesterday I realized I had one more quirk I had not been aware of: I like taking photos of moss. I love moss in all its manifestations.

So, about my other quirks you ask? How much time do I have ;)

Thanks for this post; I enjoyed ‘meeting” you!

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 5:51 am

Hi Miss Footloose, oh, I’d love to have a kava with you;) I’m not sure but I think only the men drink it… maybe having them off in the kava hut makes the women and kids cheerful too:) If you like moss you have to go to South Island, New Zealand. It’s spectacular there. I have a lot of time, I want to read your post!

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Jodi Gibson February 23, 2011 at 5:58 am

Annabel I just loved this post! I think we all feel the same, yet we all try and fit in anyway. I love stepping outside the boundaries of the norm, even just to dip my foot in the water and enjoy the sensation. I am building my confidence so that one day I will dive in and swim.
To live free of judgment.

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Hi Jodi, I know, of course we all want to fit in and try to. But what I seem to be learning here is that not fitting in helps us fit in! I’m the same as you: “building my confidence so that one day I will dive in and swim.
To live free of judgment.” We’re getting there:)

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Elle B February 23, 2011 at 6:11 am

Oh my gosh, your waterwheel house with the glass stairway sounds amazing! I would never have guessed you to be shy. My whole blog is about not fitting in. I didn’t get married until I was 46. Before that, I traveled non-stop and was shocked to find that the phrase “old maid” was still around!

Thanks for the boost!

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 8:20 am

Hi Elle, it was cool:) Just us and the chickens though:) You have a great topic there, it sounds like you’ve been having a brilliant time.

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Connie February 23, 2011 at 7:00 am

LOL I was a terrible, terrible waitress too! :-) And you are soooo right about the tattoos…mine have definitely made underground exploration a little dicey.

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 8:21 am

Hi Connie, oh dear, too funny;)

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Denise February 23, 2011 at 11:13 am

I adore this post. Seriously adore it.

I made my own post, but due to time constraints could only do 20 before having to dash… perhaps I should tack on #21… terrible at time management!! LOL! I’ll probably do a part 2 soon, because I keep coming up with more! You’ve really made me take a look at myself and take stock of what is uniquely me, beliefs and otherwise.

Thanks for this!!!

http://www.musicianswidow.com/blog/2011/02/22/quirkiness/

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Hi Denise, 20 is great, 3 would have been good. Whatever you can manage. I read it and loved it. Thank you:)

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GutsyWriter February 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

# 12 I’m shy and # 13 I struggle with confidence, are two things I can guarantee will change for you.
I used to be both, and getting older is wonderful as you learn to overcome both.
As far as not fitting in, I’m sure you’ve read “Third Culture Kids.” A blogger introduced me to this book and it’s for people like us who have lived in various countries and don’t really feel we belong anywhere, even though we have kids and are married. Have you read it?

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Hi GutsyWriter, I hope so:) But then it’s good not to be big headed! I haven’t read it but have heard of it. I need to read it. Think I might be a 3rd culture mum! Thanks for the reminder.

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Jen Brown February 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Hi Annabel,

I love this post! Thank you for sharing what makes you unique.

You asked the question the other night on twitter & I answered that I regularly feel like I don’t fit it. It wasn’t until your post that I realised that I actually recoil at the idea of being ‘normal’. I rebel against anything that resembles ‘suburbia’, ie. what society continues to be the ‘normal’ path through life (uni, job, marriage, house, babies). So it seems that I am most authentic – most in touch with who & what I am – when I feel like I don’t fit in (if that makes sense).

By the way, I love eating frozen peas :-)

Regards
Jen

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Annabel Candy February 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Hi Jen, glad you enjoyed it. Just before writing it I wanted to test to see if it really was true that others feel they don’t fit in too. I got enough affirmatives (inc. yours thanks!) to give me confidence to press on.

I like that: “I am most authentic – most in touch with who & what I am – when I feel like I don’t fit in” yes,l it makes sense and resonates. But frozen peas?!

PS. Frozen endamame beans are even better, you have to try them!

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Cate February 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Hmm… I came to Australia from UK as a child and found out how much I didn’t fit in here (although I probably just didn’t notice how much I didn’t fit in there… ). However, couldn’t make myself change to fit the crowd and didn’t want to. I share many of your quirks (including the lack of tattoos) and am perfectly happy to be different … well… perhaps not quite so different I thought.
Wouldn’t it be boring if everyone was the same, though?
Love the way you think.
Cate

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Annabel Candy February 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

Hi Cate, thank you for sharing that here. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to fit in. Just wished I did! But it really helps knowing so many other people feel like they don’t fit in. Now we have a place where we do fit in, love our quirks and love each other more because of them. It’s brilliant.

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Pam February 24, 2011 at 2:51 am

I talk to animals, too!

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Annabel Candy February 24, 2011 at 9:03 am

Meow:)

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Cordelia February 24, 2011 at 4:14 am

I heart this list. There’s something so comforting about hearing the ways other people feel like oddballs–especially if you share a number of those oddities yourself. (re: #14 – I’m a frustrated wanna-be editor who does this very thing.)

I actually just recently wrote a similar post, listing out some random get-to-know me details for my readers. It wasn’t focused on ways I don’t fit in, but now that I look at it, a number of the items *are* oddities:

http://www.cordeliacallsitquits.com/what-lies-beneath-the-panda-hat/

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Annabel Candy February 24, 2011 at 9:03 am

Hi Cordelia, lol, another editor! I hope you will point out all typos here:) It looks like great minds think alike. Love the panda hat (I got one for my daughter when I visited China last year), your blog post title rocks.

Loved reading it and what you say at the beginning: “more like a friend instead of some nebulous writer-from-the-ether.” It’s so true. Thanks for sharing and commenting:)

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Cherry Hanz February 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I will digg this!! My dad was a missionary to Africa/Mexico. I am the oldest of 7 kids. We were never allowed to watch TV, and went to church 3 to 4 times a week. I knew a lot of scripture -before chemo – now I not so much LOL. I have never wanted a tattoo, but I can never disappear, I fell in 1192 and broke both arms. I had to have surgery to put them back together, so I have identical identifying scars.

You made me laugh. Have a blessed day.

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Annabel Candy February 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Hi Cherry, wow! And ouch to the arms. Thanks for bringing up the scar thing – always a good source of stories and memories. If only to remind us how lucky we are to be alive and have a fully functioning body:)

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Anilia February 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Annabel, I loved this post! Here’s mine: http://www.motivatedsista.com/2011/02/24/15-reasons-i-love-not-fitting-in/

I have an addictive personality too… thank goodness I don’t annoy other people with the thing I latch hold onto (well maybe I do with Harry Potter…). I wanted to be a writer growing up too, but was brainwashed into “getting a good job” instead. Its funny how we eventually come back to the things that are most true to who we are.

I definitely have to try waving at random people. Its hilarious b/c when random people wave at me, I usually wave back and think, “are they waving at ME?” LOL

You’ve had a really interesting life, and there’s still so much left for you to explore, learn, do, and enjoy :-)

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Annabel Candy February 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Hi Anilia, brilliant, I read it and love it. Thank you for accepting the challenge and doing it so well. So good to share and learn a bit more about what makes us human:) Hey, that could have been me waving at you!

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Lee Davy February 25, 2011 at 2:18 am

As usual a very thought provoking and interesting post.

I enjoyed it so much when I started writing my own I couldn’t stop and reached 91 before my wife told me I was doing her head in!

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Annabel Candy February 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Glad it inspired you to write Lee:)

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Brandon Yanofsky February 25, 2011 at 4:54 am

Ive never felt like I’ve fit in. And I kind of like it. Normal is boring. I’ve tried to be normal and got over it so quickly. I think life is way more exciting when you’re a little off beat. And most of my friends are off beat. I hate being around people who try to act normal.

I have social anxiety so a lot of people think I’m strange. But the cool thing is I’m able to observe people very well. I’m a great judge of character when meeting someone within the first few minutes.

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Annabel Candy February 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Hi Brandon, off beat, that’s a great way to put it. There’s good strange and bad strange. Sounds like you’re the former, thanks for sharing:)

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Jennifer Garza February 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Love this post! Some people may have figured this out early on, but I’ve apparently spent my life finding the common threads with others and ignoring the differences. Lately, being my age with no children, I’m finding it hard to find those common threads with women in my new neighborhood. I just don’t enjoy conversations filled with baby food and closet space. I notice I’m interested in things and ideas that most other women don’t talk about. I finally figured out at the ripe ole age of 37 that I’m different. It explains a lot and has been quite freeing. Instead of trying to fit in where we don’t belong, my husband and I have decided to move to a community filled with writers and artists and outdoorsy types. I can’t wait to begin our new life!

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Seana Smith February 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Lol! This was a fun read but with a serious message really, and I love the degree of acceptance you have now. I was giggling at the being flashed at underwater, and lots of other things. This is a great way of letting readers know so much more about you, quirky stuff is always so appealling.

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Annabel Candy February 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Hi Seana, re “quirky stuff is always so appealing” I agree!

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Jen Gresham February 26, 2011 at 7:27 am

I love it! We share the same quirk of talking to people’s animals, except I frequently forget to address the human at all, I am so mesmerized by the pet. I think my daughter is quite possibly jealous of the cats, who I refer to as her “sisters.”

I used to think that love of animals meant I should be a vet, but I realized I’m not capable of hurting them, even when it’s for their own good.

Loved reading this about you, and more importantly, learning some of it first hand. Hugs, you big lovable you!

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Annabel Candy February 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Hi Jen, haha, luckily for my kids we don’t have a cat at the mo:(

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Penelope J. February 27, 2011 at 6:09 am

Annabel, Love reading about you and the many ways how you don’t fit in.
Not fitting in is precisely what makes people like you unique and your blog posts thought-provoking and compelling to read.

Adventurous spirits or cultural nomads like you – or me – don’t fit in and never will. What’s more, we’ve come to terms with it and love being misfits of a kind.

I can relate to quite a number of your points. I wanted to fit in as a child in England, except how could I when my mother, an exotic Latin-American beauty, a plane crash survivor, was completely out of place in an English seaside village? I definitely didn’t fit in when she took us to live in Mexico City. Nor when I lived in New York, or returned to England, or went back to Mexico, or came to the U.S.

In the end, most of us come to terms with not fitting in – either culturally, personality-wise, because of our appearance, upbringing, etc. and rather, enjoy being different.

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Annabel Candy February 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Hi Penelope, what a story you have there, I guess it is about coming to terms with being who you are:) Thank you so much for sharing your exotic background with us, I want to know more!

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Shruti February 28, 2011 at 11:26 am

You inspired me to write this long blog post. I recently gathered the courage to write a blog. I have not shared it with anyone as I am still shy of what people might think. Your blog motivated me today. Thank you!

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Annabel Candy February 28, 2011 at 11:41 am

Darling Shruti, even though we have probably never heard of each other before today I feel so happy that I’ve motivated you. That is exactly my intent:) Blogging can be a lonely game but together we can keep at it, have more fun and get better at it. I’m off you read all about you now. Thank you for making my day:)

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Diggy February 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Hey Annabel,
Very nice post. I love how you put your personality and honesty in it, and I’m guessing so does everyone else because you received lots of comments on it:)

I hope that all is well and your blog is growing like you want it to.
Let’s chat on Skype again soon.
Cheers
Diggy

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Annabel Candy March 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Hi Diggy, most popular post I’ve written for ages. Lol:) Being a misfit never looked better!

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Armen Shirvanian February 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Hi Annabel.

About that Toastmasters, I went to one meeting of one a year or two ago, and then I went last week with my friend to a meeting in a different location, and it was good. We are going next session and it is cool to be part of something.

I am looking forward to doing more speaking as part of that group. I like speaking to an audience very much.

Long words sure are cool. One that comes to mind is electroencephalograph, which is the long way of saying EEG.

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Annabel Candy March 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Hi Armen, wow, you got me beat with that long word. 8 syllables – trying to think how we can slip that into one of our Toastmaster speeches:)

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J.D. Meier March 1, 2011 at 2:40 am

Strategy is about being different. Different is a good thing, especially when things get crowded.

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Annabel Candy March 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Hi JD, I haven’t exploited this enough. I didn’t know what made me unique but all these comments are making me see that little things count:) Here’s to our differences!

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QwkDrw March 1, 2011 at 5:21 am

“Mars Colonization”. This blogger is NOT suggesting becoming a Martian colonist if one feels they ‘don’t fit in’ here on earth. However, NASA seems to have a limited number of other budget saving plans for some qualified folks, “You would send a little bit older folks, around 60 or something like that …”
http://givemeamomentblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/mars-colonization.html

!!

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Annabel Candy March 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Hi QwkDrw, hmmmm, definitely odd!

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Catherine White March 1, 2011 at 6:16 am

Why stop at 35?

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Annabel Candy March 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Catherine, lol, I could go on forever – 36. Once I get started I can’t shut up:)

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Shruti March 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Thank you so much for the lead..I will surely find a blog buddy! Sounds like a fun thing to do..Your blog kept me busy..So much to read..I am excited by the idea of living in a new country. I moved over to US and it has been a wonderful challenge! Happy blogging Annabel..

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Style Maniac March 2, 2011 at 9:20 am

Good to know this is a universal feeling. Why don’t they tell us these things in school? Would save everyone a lot of angst.

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Annabel Candy March 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Hi Style Maniac, what a great idea:)

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McKinley March 14, 2011 at 11:40 am

This blog post made me smile like a maniac
I’m a 15 year old girl who’s not exactly a blogger, but a serious zealot of self-love and the radical revolution of identity. After finding your blog post on Google, I was pretty excited, seeing as how I was taught to adore the world and ignore smaller problems such as self-doubt since my mom took me out of school in second grade to be unschooled.
However, recently I felt like giving high school another shot to see what the big deal was. When I went back, I was met with kids who had no vision, imagination, perception, or esteem for anything but that which was in the same category as the clothes they wore and the people they knew, even though they did not know how to wear happiness or love without certain motivation.
The point I’m trying to get at is that I am ecstatic to say that I have been rejected by more than one socialite in a variety of rude ways that have damaged more than one emotional facet of my personality. But I have realized that it has given me what others have been deprived of.
So despite how I’m supposed to follow a stream of other people that are being herded like cattle through a school they despise, I’m deeply comforted by the fact that I’m not the only one who’s got different plans. c:

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Annabel Candy March 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

Good for you McKinley and so glad I made you smile like a maniac:)

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Sherri from U.S.A. April 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm

McKinley..I am a mom of four kids. 11, 10. and twins 8. My oldest son is a dynamic kid. (the rest are too but this one struggles with school/friend related issues) Imaginative, clear, and practical..yet he doesn’t fit in school. So many kids are sports-minded, lack imagination because they spent countless hours on video games while my kid is outside exploring the woods, reading and having fun! I do allow the video games and we only have 3 channels the kids can watch instead of unlimited TV. I will admit we just got netflix so the kids will have something to talk about in school about the latest shows… We canoe, kayak, hike, explore. I am considering homeschool for him but I fear I am sheltering him from learning how to deal with difficult people in the future and avoiding what is socially acceptable..sending my kids to school like everyone else… He told me a girl he doesn’t even know approached him on the bus and said “you are Denver..everyone picks on you…”.. This baffles me because outside of school, he can make friends with someone in an instant…if you met him you would think he’s a natural leader..but in school its different for him. Even his scout leader sees such potential in him… Do you have any thoughts on this? I am so uncertain what to do..any advice coming from a 15 yr old that sounds a lot like my son!!!!? Thanks!

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Havrick March 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

There’s nothing here that makes any of you not fit in. Absolutely nothing.

And quite frankly that’s a bad thing. To be ejected from society is a chance to become something a hell of a lot better, a hybrid of the human nature. Humans have yet to discover what human actually means, because we’re ever so changing, that’s where society comes in, comprised of many different types of beings, not humans. The two main beings that humans split into are monsters and pure beings. Monsters being mostly comprised of whores, sluts, drug users/dealers/addicts, celebrities and all sorts of foul beings that give a bad name to all those around them. And then we have pure beings that’s mostly comprised of religious people with teachings that tell them to be kind to others and never give in to temptations of any kind.

Then there are sub beings that derive off those two main types which I will only go into detail with one sub type. The so called “misfits” which you people believe to be apart of. That sub type is a combination of both pure and monsters. Mostly made up of people who have been used, mislead, completely delusional or similar. This could be religious fanatics or pornstars that believe they’re doing nothing wrong. To avoid confusion, pornstars are more than anything still monsters but in part of their brain they slightly believe they’re misfits. Now this is the sub group you people belong to. Which main group you belong to well that’s for your feeble little minds to figure out.

As for myself I fell through the cracks of both monster and pure being the moment I was born. In a short and incomplete way of saying it. I can avoid all temptations but I would still rather see the human race and all it’s social types wiped out.

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Aishah June 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Love the not fitting in.
I too am an expert and washing my whole body from a bucket.
Actually, make that half a bucket and COLD water!
A skill I honed in Nepal – and I had to collect the water myself, hence the half a bucket!

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Marashor November 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Hi, I’m sort of in between.

No one likes feeling different, but at the same time, we all love being considered unique.

hmmm, you like the smell of chicken sh!t. haha, at least you have a good reason for it! :)

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Rebekah November 30, 2011 at 12:24 am

Loved reading your blog. Laughed out loud!
I feel like a kindred spirit (totally relate to no. 16!)

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Sunshine December 31, 2011 at 7:31 am

Hi Annabel,

After reading all of these comments I can see that I am not the only one who appreciated the candor of your blog post. I wish that I could write a list on mine, but I think it would be out of character for my blog. I generally write about the places that I have visited, and not so much about me. I just don’t know how it would be received or if it outside my ‘niche’.

I would definitely say I have a long enough list to write. I have always struggled with low self esteem and self-confidence even though I put on a great show to look strong. I am uncomfortable in groups and suffer from social anxiety. I often feel like I am not good enough or lack the skills that so many others have. I feel that I am unable to grow or learn anymore. When I was in school I was very smart and picked up on things quite quickly. I feel like my brain doesn’t work anymore!

I have had the opportunity to travel and see many places in the past few years even living in Germany. I still struggle with where I fit in or belong. Even now I am not sure where I want to live or be. I just returned to the States from Germany and keep wondering if that was a mistake. I am trying to decide where I should go next.

It’s a struggle at 30 to feel like all of my friends are on a different path and I am the only ‘hold-out’. All of my friends have been married for years and many have older children now. I haven’t even begun to live in their eyes. It is like I am trapped in the body of my teenage self. There are so many things I want to see and experience in life still. Someday I would like a family as well. There is so much more of the world that I would like to see. I envy your experiences and wish that I could find a way to do the same.

I worked as a waitress for 2 years and then a cake decorator for 10 years and then I quit and moved to Germany. I taught at English camps during the summer, and spent the rest of the time traveling and getting to know my German relatives.

Now, financially I am at a crossroad. I don’t have the ability to go anywhere without debt, but don’t want to end up trapped in a job that I will not love or enjoy. I don’t want to be kept from my passion to travel.

I feel that I am searching the world to find out who I truly am, what I want out of life, and where I fit and belong. I always worry too much about what everyone else thinks and want and it makes me incredibly indecisive. I just want to make everyone happy, but I know that is impossible.

I appreciate your list, because it helps me to see that there is hope. Even though I lack your skills and your training background ( I never went to university)… I have hope that I too can succeed.

Perhaps not fitting in… not being in the ‘norm’ perhaps that is the secret to finding what you’re looking for.

Oh, and I too talk to animals and everyone I pass on the street. I love meeting new people, and yes… I think animals are people… just ask my cat! My parents even call me and my siblings pets their ‘grandkitties and grandpuppies’. Both my siblings are married with no plans of children.. and then they have me, lol.

So maybe.. you’re really not that different after all! Your uniqueness is what makes you special.

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Ger February 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hey, very good blog and information! Hehe. I laughed a lot and with some things I felt like the same… ‘Gerasaduroglu’ my Skype ID if u wanna stay in touch! From Argentina here.

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Cynthya March 3, 2012 at 5:46 am

I love that you met your husband in Egypt! The country has been a very special place for me, and now I lead sacred tours there. Isn’t it wonderful what travel can add to your life?

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Chris March 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm

great post.. been doing a lot of reflecting lately about this. will definitely create a post about this as well! :)

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Ruth March 23, 2012 at 10:54 pm

good one. Everyone feels like they dont fit in once in a while. I know I do. I love living in a foreign land but sometimes I wish I knew how to make more friends without having to spend nights in club n having alcohol all the time.

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Annabel Candy June 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Hi Ruth,

There are other alternatives… joining a club with a focus for learning like Toastmasters, dance classes or even bird spotting groups. You’ll have to decide where your interests lie:)

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Ingrid April 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Good post, yes I also am getting used to the idea it’s OK not to fit in and in fact, there is probably no such thing as fitting in. I am a Kiwi who spent 14 years out of NZ and am now back. I had a child at 42 yo. I left my “perfect”parttime well paying job 18 months ago to study fine arts. And finally my husband and I have just bought this property/house which also was a) very expensive b) a huge do-up, c) totally unique and quirky and kind of appalling but also exciting/amazing/wow. I feel mostly happy to have stepped outside of the safe suburban mold, sometimes elated & feel I can do anything, and sometimes scared. Many people go for less challenge, less risk and greater comfort as they get older but I guess also there is a whole wack lot of people who don”t.

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Annabel Candy June 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Hi Ingrid,

Great to hear you’re breaking the mold. The house sounds amazing:)

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Mena Jo June 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I love your honestly! I never fitted into the corporate world, but then I never wanted to. I worked in an environment where everyone was driven by money, massive houses and sports cars – I never was. I was always and still am, drawn to the underdogs; people who are different and quriky. Now as I develop my mind and spiritual side, I’m feeling that my views don’t fit in with 98% of the people I meet, but I’m learning to deal and thank the heavens for my differences.

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Devin Berglund June 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Hello! I loved this post! It is so true! I also feel like I don’t belong much of the time. I am from Midwestern America and am currently living in Australia. It’s been interesting, but I definitely feel the “I don’t belong” feeling at times… although I enjoy the adventure around every corner!

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Katie August 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

First off, let me say what an inspiration you are! I also feel unsuited for modern life, yet still, it’s all I know. You said you have struggled with confidence from age 10. I find it amazing and somewhat unbelievable that a person with confidence issues could travel all over the world like it’s nothing. I pretty much feel like life is pointless and the only thing worth living for is traveling and human connection. But somehow, I can’t figure out how to gtfo of Arizona. I am stagnating, stuck, hopeless. I guess I am just fascinated because in some ways you sound like me but I am 34 and have hardly been anywhere despite the fact that traveling is all I really want to do in life. I also want to be a writer.

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Mariko August 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

This post inspired me to make my own list for my blog!

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Anne Galivan October 13, 2012 at 8:01 am

I think people LIKE to think of themselves as “not fitting in.” Yet most of the people I see who claim to be different or “not fitting in” actually have adopted a lifestyle of a group of people who all claim to “not fit in.”

Most people actually spend their whole lives trying to fit in because it is very threatening, personally, to go your own way. Think about it, most of Western society SAYS they applaud being unique and different, but if someone actually chooses the path “less traveled” they are generally alienated.

I can speak to this as a homeschooler. I started homeschooling in 1990 when homeschoolers were very rare creatures indeed. These days, in my 23rd year of homeschooling, I get furious thinking about how often my decision was questioned, not just by family members, but even by the bagboy at the grocery store! I don’t walk around asking parents why they put their kids in public schools, yet I have been asked hundreds of times why I would homeschool. And in the early days the question was often asked with a self-righteous, demanding kind of tone as in, “How dare you want to raise your children as you see fit instead of putting them in the schools that are perfectly fine for everyone else?”

I would politely answer, and walk away, but these days it infuriates me that I thought I had to actually defend my choice. Nowadays, homeschooling has been shown to be so superior to public education in the U.S. that most people have a very favorable reaction when they learn I homeschool.

I still find I don’t really fit in though, even with most homeschoolers I know. And yes, it does feel very lonely at times. But as a Christian, I believe in having an eternal perspective on life and therefore, I am not generally concerned with whether someone approves of my life choices.

On the other hand, like you I find that I oscillate between feeling utterly self-confident and wondering if I am a complete failure. I hate public speaking though the times I have given talks I am told that I do an excellent job. Essentially, I am an introvert and look forward someday, when my kids are all grown and on their own, to living alone in a little condo on the beach and writing my memoirs! I have, also, always been a writer, but never considered making a living out of it until recently. I’ve been blogging for over 2 years, but actually making a living from my writing is quite a learning curve, I am finding. But if I live long enough, I suppose I will manage it (I’m quite a determined little person…UNLIKE you I’m only 5 feet tall!)

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Lily October 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

You sound lovely and fun and hippy, I don’t see why you wouldn’t fit in. It’s a feeling I guess. I used to get that feeling a lot too that I didn’t fit in especially when I was a young adult (I’m now 40) and now I don’t really think about it. If I sat down and I thought long and hard about it I suppose I don’t fit in into a lot of places but I think I’m proud of that now because I hate being part of a herd mentality going around life never looking outside of one’s bubble. I guess in some ways I don’t want to fit in and be a part of the sheep, unthinking and not questioning the world they live in. Carry on being hippy you – you sound great as you are and you don’t need to fit in.

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Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living October 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm

In many ways we’re the same Annabel, except for the smell of chicken shit. I like the smell of petrol, or gas as they call it in the US.

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Kimberley Casey October 22, 2012 at 2:31 am

I Loooove this post, thanks Annabel! I’m a permanent nomad and fitting is has never been my thing either, nice to know I’m not the only one! I’d actually only found your blog through the Problogger conference recently, and I love it, dont know how i’ve missed it! Thanks again :)

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Sharon Lippincott November 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Love the post. I love it so much that I did one of my own and linked back.

What do I do to embrace my quirkiness? Write about it!

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Leonie February 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I followed the link in your Bikram article here… Intrigued to know 35 reasons why you don’t fit in… This is sooo funny Annabel. I loved it. The Chicken Shit point made me laugh! And I am sooo surprised to hear you fear public speaking. I never would have guessed. I went to a workshop you did at Cooroy Library a couple of years ago and you seemed very comfortable with it… There’s hope for me yet! Aren’t our differences and quirks wonderful. :)

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Leonie February 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

…And I’m glad to know you won’t mind my late night spelling mistakes!

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Annabel Candy February 26, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hi Leonie,

What spelling mistakes?! I am happy to hear from you no matter what you say or how you spell it. Everyone says I am a confident speaker so I’ve obviously got hiding my nerves down to a fine art!

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Frenchie April 1, 2013 at 8:05 am

Hi Annabel,
Love your blog, and have been inspired to launch mine – am total novice but willing to give it a shot even though taking me out of my comfort zone.
Are you sure you were not writing about my life…just change a few bits and it could be my life….grew up in a commune/international community… got stranded at a Paris train station at 15 with an oversized suitcase which I abandoned to call my aunty to rescue me….had drop toilets, no electricity and bucket for a shower…maybe this is what inspires us to travel and talk about it all the time…..

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grasya May 5, 2014 at 1:49 am

so.. I’m not alone! ^_^

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Abdul July 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Wonderful piece!honestly speaking I never thought I could ever meet such a motivating work and comments like this. Thanks for sharing.
I guess I can’t just leave this blog without uttering something about my quirkiness. I’m a sophomore at University of Ghana . Comparing myself to my colleagues in terms of speaking English and public speaking in general, I’m as bad as child learning a new language. A friend suggested to me to read a lot of books to spur my vocabularies but still…So I always ask do I fit in…??

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