It’s taken me years to accept the fact that I’m inappropriate.
Not in social situations, I don’t think; I’m fairly good at getting along with people and not being uncomfortably awkward. I’m what I like to term a “high-functioning introvert”: social interaction exhausts me, but I do enjoy it and can do it well.
But when it comes to mainstream society, I’m just inappropriate.
This has been hit home to me again and again by jobs I’ve had — jobs I should not have had, jobs I took in order to “get ahead” or maybe “find a good career” or perhaps just for the sake of the money — where I was always out of step and told to to “rein it in.”
I remember on job where I was a supervisor for a bunch of office drones. It was a great team and I enjoyed getting paid fairly well (for low wage work) to work in a business-casual environment. I printed out and taped a sign to the door of our section that was in some way humorous, but not rude or crude (no foul language, no clever euphemisms, etc.). The lead manager of the department came by and tore it off in a huff, complaining about how it was just inappropriate.
I was so confused.
To me, it was just for fun. It was a morale booster and everyone thought the tag line (which, if I remember, was a play on “abandon hope!” or something) was funny. But clearly, it was unprofessional and…inappropriate.
I still don’t quite get it. Yet, that’s not the only example I have in my arsenal. Some things I know are on the fringe, such as my nose piercing. I get that it is not mainstream (it was even less so when I got it in 1996) and some people will judge me for it. It was a calculated risk that I consciously took. But so much else just confuses me.
Every time this type of thing happens, which is a lot in every job I’ve ever had, I question what I’m doing wrong. Why don’t I fit in? What do I need to change? How can I successfully neuter my personality in order to “belong” where I am?
But clearly the solution is just the opposite: embrace who I am, celebrate my inappropriate personality, and create my own place to belong.
I’ve tried to “fit in” for the sake of approval and reward since I was young child. I have gained neither approval nor reward, and whether that is because I never quite managed to fit in or because those goals are permanently elusive doesn’t much matter. Carving myself to fit into a mold that doesn’t make me happy is far, far worse a fate for me than learning to love myself for who I am.
At least, I think so. I’m notoriously bad at loving myself for who I am; quite frankly I don’t measure up. HA HA HA *sobs*