Saturday, October 21, 2006

NOT FITTING IN...


I attended a church social function last night. It was on the Stake level and so there were many people in attendance that I did not know. Typically, large groups in social settings, even as comfortable as a church setting, make me very uncomfortable.

I sat and observed instead of engaging the activity. I observed many folks totally comfortable with themselves, relating as normal members of the Church relate jovially and socially with each other. I particularly noticed the men. I looked at them and studied them and felt so distant and apart from them. They seemed so comfortable with themselves. I did not.

It's always been this way. When I was a youth, I didn't fit into the straight-guy world. I didn't relate with the guys in cub scouts or scouting. My mutual YM/YW years were torturous. I didn't do things that other guys seemed to be able to do so naturally. I observed them effortlessly playing sports, particularly basketball (I detest basketball). I observed them be athletic and strong (I was the neighborhood weakling). I observed them acting goofy and stupid as only boys can (I was too nerdy to be stupid). I observed them flirting with girls (I didn't relate with girls in a flirty way - though many confided in me about other guys). I observed them showing off (I never showed off).

So, I declared myself a misfit from an early age.

Now don't get me wrong... I'm very comfortable with crowds of all types including public speaking, giving talks in Church, teaching lessons to large groups, engaging planning commissions and city councils with the presentations of my designs, etc., But, in each of these instances, I'm the teacher, I'm the speaker, I'm the presenter. Smaller groups are a lot less nerve-racking, but I can do large groups as well.

But socially interacting and mingling and interacting takes effort. It's a chore. I instantly feel like I'm damaged goods - and I don't fit in to the world around me. It becomes uncomfortable, even unbearable.

I hate open houses where one mingles. YUCK! I hate striking up conversations with people that I know really don't care a minute later. Social niceties and all... including in business and church settings. Even being raised in this environment, I detest it.

Again, I feel I don't belong. I guess I feel I don't belong in a lot of circles. That's why I like to help in the kitchen when I meal is being prepared, or clean up, etc. It gives me something to do other than stand around wondering what to do or who to talk to.

I feel inferior! I feel flawed! Now, I know we are all flawed - but by my age, aren't we supposed to be overcoming these flaws and becoming more and more comfortable with who we are, not worrying about such things? not having such inhibitions?

I've never "fit in" with the straight-guy world. And because I've forced myself to adapt to a world where I see myself as a "misfit", as an outsider looking in, it has never gotten easier with the passage of time.

There have been times when I did feel like I was comfortable with who I was - maybe three instances:

1. When I was an MTC teacher and zone coordinator over many missionaries that I loved and cherished and fed from.

2. When I was in a bishopric, serving in an old ward - my best friends being kissing-and-hugging-octagenarian widows.

3. When I was a Young Men leader, serving young men and living the life of a young man that I never had as a youth, and finally being loved and accepted.

I find myself reaching out to the blogsphere to try to "fit in" again. Instead of trying to fit in with straight-guys, I'm seeking gay mormon men who may better understand me and my feelings and quirks. But even here, I find that I'm not a very good fit...

1. I don't have a story of my youth where I was molested, in any form of that word, nor any story of trauma to support the reason for my "confusion". Sometimes, I wish I did have such a story - I've racked my brain trying to figure out if I have a suppressed memory somewhere, and I come up empty.

2. I didn't come out to myself until just a couple of years ago, well into my adulthood - my struggle with this issue is young and fresh, but my age is old and should be mature and wise - but I find myself not very wise and even childlike in such issues. Though I've wrestled all my life with this struggle, it hasn't been one of self-recognition until recently.

3. I have been married over 20 years and have young adult children. This puts me at odds with my struggles being out of sync with my current situation, and with the situation of most readers of this blog.

I'm not sure where I fit in. I work alone most of the time. I keep to myself most of the time.

I don't know why I'm rambling like this... Just felt out-of-place and out-of-sync last night. I feel out-of-place and out-of-sync with the fellow blog world as well.

I've spent my whole life not belonging to the world I live in. I still don't know how to "fit in".

9 comments:

Samantha said...

Interesting that your words resonate with me. I would have to say the QOQ is much more of a misfit here--by gender alone. However, in spite of not fitting in, I find much of truth, and definitely love here. Perhaps I see that which I want to see...

We all need different perspectives. Yours is unique and valuable.

And just so you know--I'm not sure anyone really feels comfortable in those awful social mixers. Some are just better than others at faking it.

Beck said...

Thanks Sam for your kind words. I must say that as the queen of misfits, you definitely fit in!

Kengo Biddles said...

I feel out of sync as well; I'm very happily married. I have a good sex-life with my wife. We enjoy it. We enjoy each other, but I feel so very, very gay at times.

I think we all go through it. But there's a place for me, and a place for you. We're all a big happy queerosphere!

santorio said...

i remember overhearing a conversation between the bishop and the young mens leader about one taking the other to the airport. a casual good deed, easily asked/offered. i can think of just one guy relationship in my life with that kind of open give and take. it's got nothing to do with being gay, but lots to do with how i react to being gay. my wife has a number of close friends, but i don't click with any of their husbands.
often what keeps me sane are maturing relationships with my children and their spouses.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I was at a social event last night and felt completely unconnected to the other men. The three guys at my table spent most of the time talking about sports and I felt really left out. I felt glum and had quite some time of self-pity, and then just decided to enjoy myself anyway. My wife and I danced and had a great time and then suddenly I found myself chatting with and connecting with one of the guys I had been sitting with. He's a cop (we have little in common), but it went well and I enjoyed it.

I don't know if it was because I just "let go" and decided not to worry about it that the opportunity came my way.

Like Santorio, I have few friends that I feel a closeness sufficient for drop-of-the-hat favors. And that's sad. It's also what reparative therapists say you should work on fixing. Whether there's a sexual benefit to that task or not, it seems like a good idea to me.

Beck said...

Santorio:

Interesting that you bring up the asking "help" of another guy. I find that my true guy friends are half-my age, but sincere friends that were once young men, but now adults - and it is still they who I call on to help at a moment's notice and it is they who come willingly and devotedly as the dearest of friends. In fact, it happened just last week when I had car trouble and was stranded... Our friendships have been bound together where age does not matter.

Now, why can't I do that with those guys my age?

Beck said...

L:

You're right... I'm whining too much and need to let go and not worry about it and get over it. I worry too much about my differences instead of embracing what we have in common. If I could be more comfortable with myself in all settings, including social gatherings of other men my age, I'm sure others would be more comfortable with me.

Thanks.

Loyalist (with defects) said...

When I was reading this I thought you were writing about me. As I read through the comments I began to realize that we all have this thoughts of "not fitting" in with those around in one degree or another.

Fitting in is a dificult thing to do. I wonder if straights have the same feelings? I will make it my goal this week to find out. My ward is use to me asking weird questions.

When I taught EQ I always had a table cloth, pictures, demonstrations, music, and I actually read the lesson a few times prior that Sunday. I felt so left out. But I discovered later, I don't care. I did it for me. If they didn't get it, well that was just too damn bad for them. :-)

Beck said...

Loyalist:

I love your attitude! You've made my day!

Though I've never used a table cloth for my lessons, I do tend to get emotionally involved in my presentations - and I, too, don't care what others think - if it get's the teaching across!

Thanks for your contributions to my "whining". As one misfit to another - I appreciate it. And I'd be interested in your ward research project of whether we are the only ones that don't fit. I bet we're not, though it feels better thinking we are... wo are we!!!