Victoria S. Hardy

Victoria S. Hardy

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fitting In Is Overrated

I sure am glad that I was born when I was, when the world was just exploring the realms of mental health and before new diagnoses filled the DSM yearly. I’m pretty confident that had I been born in recent years, I’d be dragged to an expect to correct my quirky behavior. It seems many of us take comfort in our diagnoses and the inevitable pills that come along with the new terminology. We trust our “experts” to whip us into shape, help us fit in and function in the way society expects and the labels they ascribe to us, sooth us. Well I’m depressed, or have ADHD or ADD or PTSD and we feel relief when our oddness is defined and treated, the weight of quirky behavior removed by the validation of an expert and the numbness of medication.

But I feel the need to offer a radical idea, what if God created us just as He meant us to be? What if those quirky traits are actually gifts? What if our oddness or sense of separation is actually the place from which our soul light grows? What if by dampening our natural behavior and attempting to fix something that was never wrong, we are spitting into God’s eye?

I’ve often stated that I dwell in the depths; I’m always looking under the surface of things to better understand the full picture. I also feel things intensely, it’s hard for me to shake off concern if I feel I misspoke or treated another unfairly. And sometimes I am super sensitive to my surroundings, be that out in the woods or in a crowded room of people. I can walk into a gathering and read the energy in seconds, who likes who, who’s in pain or worried, who is happy and who is angry. And because of these things I’ve always spent a lot of time alone, even as a child.

For years I believed this was a wrongness in me, that God had somehow made a mistake and I was broken. Of course, I came by many of these traits honestly, rumor has it that when my great grandpa saw company coming down the road, he would grab his coat, hat and gun and head into the woods, only returning after the visitors had departed. And as kids our favorite aunt, who we all firmly believed “brought the sunshine” when she came to visit, was delightfully and, at times, irritatingly eccentric and set in her ways.

And having come from a family chock full of writers, musicians and artists, I have to wonder if our perceived inability to fit into society is just our artistic drive making itself known. And I also have to wonder about a world where fitting in far more important than standing out in the way in which we were made. A society that is comfortable with the idea that everyone must fit into an easily counted bean drawer, is also a society that is slowly killing it’s artists, geniuses, individuals and adventurers.

I didn’t begin perusing any artistic endeavors until my late 20s and as I discovered my abilities in a world I had previously only peered at, wide-eyed and slightly envious, through the wrong side of the glass, the weight of my difference began to slide away. Perhaps the disconnection we see on earth is not based on religion, politics, race or sex; perhaps there are only two kinds of people, creative and non-creative. Perhaps the world is divided because we have radically opposing views, one view is dull and black and white and the other encompasses the entire color spectrum.

Different is not wrong, fitting in is not all it is cracked up to be and the “experts” do not know everything. Some say that we are living among the dead right now, that soulless beings are ruling the earth and organic shells masquerading as humans surround us. Some say the pharmaceutical companies, in hand with the mental health industry, simply see us as very profitable guinea pigs. Others say we are living in insanity and a diagnosis only goes to prove that we are, indeed, sane. And still others believe that any overt difference is a threat to humanity and needs to be treated aggressively and immediately.

For me, I believe we were created to become great, but our choice to grasp our God-given greatness rests purely on our own shoulders. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus was quoted as having said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you." (70) Bringing out our talents and our differences is the reason we were put here in the first place, we were created in the image of the creator and given the ability to create, when we ignore that, we are turning our backs on the Light. When we attempt to manage our differences through diagnoses and medication, we are spitting in the eye of God.

Be proud of your idiosyncrasies and Keep Seeking.

Inspired by
Kids Who Don’t Fit In