In Vulnerability

I’ve spent my whole life feeling like I don’t fit in.

When I was thirteen I started a zine called Broccoli (okay, I only got round to designing the front cover). It was going to be all about the experiences of growing up a misfit and not feeling like I fit in.

In high school I was bullied about everything, from laugh to the Doc Martens I rocked (I think I was way ahead of the time). I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb, I stuck out like a dislocated arm.

Sometimes I welcomed the terms freak and misfit like a warm hug, and sometimes I would have given my left tit to fit in. I had friends, but they didn’t get me, not really. They weren’t creative, they didn’t seem to feel things as deeply as I did, and were much happier gossiping about boys and the latest trends in H&M whereas I would be happier doodling and listening to music for the rest of my life.

While everyone was looking up to Melissa from the OC for inspiration, I was idolising the character Sky Mangel, a blue haired teenage girl from the Australian soap Neighbours.

Going to college was the closest I came to feeling like I fit in because I turned my back on everything that was familiar and refused to go to the college built into my high school. College was made up of misfits and people like me, grappling with their struggles and just trying to make it through to the other side, whatever that was. But while I felt like I fit in through circumstance, I didn’t feel much more understood.

I went to university and I really didn’t fit in. I didn’t fit in in my first job. I didn’t fit in when I moved to London and I still don’t. I’ve found the bigger the city the lonelier it can feel. I certainly didn’t fit in when I spent 3 months backpacking around America. And I still don’t.

I’ve spent my whole life not feeling like I fit in, and as I’ve grown and the years have gone by, my reasons for not fitting in list have grown with me.

I’ve been with Mr. Meg for coming on 14 years, I’m not a huge drinker, I’m fat, I don’t have a 9-5 job and hate everything about the rat race, I don’t give a shit about fashion and I’m always putting my foot in my mouth. I struggle with anxiety and way over think conversations, and my OCD can look pretty odd sometimes. I can’t keep my mouth shut when I feel passionately about something, I overshare, I say it like it is and I’m very chirpy.

And on one hand I would never have it any other way because I couldn’t conform if I tried, but I can’t escape the fact that sometimes it can feel so lonely.

I’m feel really lucky to have found my people online. Through The Couragemakers Podcast, I’ve found my people, through this blog, through my weekly emails and through the magic of Twitter. It took a long time to find my tribe and often I felt like I never would, but it happened.

But that doesn’t mean that day to day the loneliness goes away. Sometimes it comes to the surface, but more often that not, it’s something that I’ve come to be with for such a long time that it’s like a humming in the background.

If you have the same humming in the background, I want to tell you that you’re not alone.

Even though sometimes you feel like no one gets you and you feel completely on your own, you’re not. There are so many of us who feel the same way, some for the same reasons and others for entirely different reasons.

It’s okay to not want the things you’re supposed to want. It’s okay to have a completely different idea of fun than everyone around you. It’s okay to want to have a different lifestyle, a different identity and different hobbies than everyone around you. It’s okay to have different values, different outlooks and a different way of being.

Scratch that. It’s not okay (and if you started singing the My Chemical Romance song in your head, we need to be friends). It’s fucking brilliant.

Your quirks, your weirdness, the way you do things is what sets you apart.

The Loneliness That Comes With Not Fitting In

And the world needs you exactly as you are. There’s no one out there like you and no one who can bring to the world exactly what you do in the way that you do it.

Here’s the thing that I go back to. There are so many things I wouldn’t have done if I felt like I fit in. I would never have started this blog or The Couragemakers Podcast for one. I never would have sought out the things that make me happy, like laughter yoga, performance poetry, forest bathing, I wouldn’t have found Mr. Meg (we were e-pals back in the 2000s and found each other through our joint not fitting in and love of emo music), I wouldn’t have honed my skills and talents like I did.

And there are things and experiences you would never have had if you fit in. If you conformed, you would have had to give up so many of the things that make you you, and wouldn’t be two-thirds of the person you are today. Your difference is what sets the world on fire.

And you’re so much stronger than you think because of it. You can’t get through years of feeling like you don’t fit in without being strong and standing up for yourself. Even if that’s just in your head.

But we need to start talking about the loneliness that comes with feeling like we don’t fit in.

We need to start sharing our experiences. Of course, some of them make us feel ashamed, some of them make us feel lame (like the voice I’ve had through writing this telling me not to hit the publish button), but it’s really damn important.

Because so many of us think we’re feeling this alone. So many of us are struggling with similar things thinking we’re completely on our own and nobody gets it.

But trust me, I get it. And so many others do as well.

So let’s shine light on the loneliness and band together in standing out.

What’s your experience? Comment below and let’s get this conversation started!

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  • What a beautiful post, Meg! I so relate! I don’t fit in. I don’t like the things other people like and when I share what I like people look at me like ‘Girl, you’re bat shit crazy!’ That’s such a lonely feeling. It’s stopped me from sharing things about myself.

    • Meg Kissack

      Thank you Wendy. I completely get what you mean and recognise that look only too well. Keep sharing things about yourself because you’re a wonderful human and make the world more interesting <3 Sending love from one misfit to another!

    • Meg Kissack

      Thank you Wendy. I completely get what you mean and recognise that look only too well. Keep sharing things about yourself because you’re a wonderful human and make the world more interesting <3 Sending love from one misfit to another!

  • This was a great post, Meg! 1) I felt like you were speaking to me 2) We must be connected to the same cloud of consciousness because I was going to write my own version of this experience. I love, love, loved how vulnerable and open you were and you’re right… we all need to band together in standing out! ❤️

    • Meg Kissack

      Thank you so much Sarah! I think so many of us have their own version and we need to hear them <3

    • Meg Kissack

      Thank you so much Sarah! I think so many of us have their own version and we need to hear them <3

  • This is an amazingly awesome post, Meg! Just the other day I thought of how much I don’t really fit in where I am. I don’t necessarily feel lonely (not most of the time, anyway), I just feel like everyone’s so different from me and like I don’t have anything in common with the people around me. I’m totally crazy and love life to the point where I might sometimes look like an idiot, but I’m just so not into all that mundane stuff that other people are, like chasing jobs/careers and lots of money, gossiping, working out and eating super healthy food… You know the stuff. I just chasing a deeper meaning to life in general, and that makes me feel like a total outsider from everyone else.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for this post. It really warms my heart <3

    • Meg Kissack

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Johanna. I’m COMPLETELY with you about loving life and not being into all the mundane stuff. I’m like an excited labrador about most little things in life and love all the little bits and some people just find it downright bizarre. I think when you’re chasing deeper meaning it automatically sets you apart as so many people seem to be on autopilot and following the life steps (career etc) and for me that’s not the case. Here’s to loving life even if people think we’re “idiots”! :D You sound like so much fun! <3

  • I really enjoyed reading this! I, too, have always felt like I didn’t fit in, even now. I so badly want to find people I can relate to and connect to and be friends with. I’m still in university, at the age of 26, with a 9 year old daughter and a husband I’ve been with for 10 years. I don’t really connect with a lot of people because I’m awkward and I share way too much. I hate that even now I’m struggling with what people want of me, and what I want for myself. Posts like this keep me inspired :D

    • Meg Kissack

      It’s so hard isn’t it. University can be such a different experience from what everyone else says you’ll have, I’m sorry you haven’t found many people to connect with (and I’m sure you’ve found many people you wouldn’t want to connect with!) I love awkwardness and oversharing – that makes for a great friend in my book :) I think we’re all sold this myth that as soon as we’re adults we’ll figure everything out. I’m the same age as you and in the same boat :)Thank you for your lovely comment and for making me feel less alone, Cole <3

  • Meg, once again your raw honestly is compelling! I used to be a big extrovert, but now I’ve found my people tend to be online, the entrepreneurs and individuals who aren’t afraid to make big things happen. There are always moments when I don’t feel like I fit in, but knowing I’m not alone in this is encouraging.

  • Gotta figure the worst part about the hooman Venn diagram is how the shared intersect area points up the lonelier partsa the circles danglin’ over the edge.

    I guess we all got a misfit component — necessary uniquenessta stop us bein’ ants — which consistently places us at the edgea our Known Personal Void where it might be excitin’ an’ adventurous sumtimes but also kinda pioneeringly lonely.

    So that is when we head back to the shared intersection parta the Venn an’ get all empathetualistic about how we nonea us got nuthin’ in common!

    Point is, I guess, that nuthin’ an’ nowan has ever happened before & any kinda ‘fit’ is a done deal that is mebbe over.

    I would want always to figure on havin’ jagged edges like a key gonna slip real neato into sum emergent opportoonity spun fresh outta time an’ space — which is kinda no differenta sayin’ I would want always for an accommodatin’ ground — perfect for Moi — to present itself before my eversteppin’ feet.

  • Zoë Dearborn

    Thank you for this post. It really speaks to me right now. To hear how other people express what makes them feel unique and how difficult that experience is. I have been working on writing my story for three years now and each time I return to the process, I feel like I am starting over. I am always trying to get closer and closer to the truth of my experience, in other words, what makes me different. I have done such a good job hiding and acting and pretending that I even fool myself. I admire people who are considered “oversharers” because I feel like an undersharer. I mean, it may not seem that way on the surface because I perform really personal and raw music, I write pretty vulnerable blog posts and I am pretty used to getting up in front of people. But… on the other hand, the topics that really matter to me, and the way I really see myself still feels like a secret. I feel this longing to connect with others on the rawest trust level possible and everyday I work towards lifting that veil. I am working towards making myself visible one day at a time. It means so much to me to do this, and yet there is always the voice of one of my inner critics (I call her the Self Police) who judges my desire to expose myself, my desire for attention, connection, the desire to perform and reach a lot of people who tries to shame me away from visibility. It is a dance I am so tired of doing. Thank you for what you do!

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