Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On fitting in and failures to communicate

The yellow flower stands out well. A weed probably would not. (source)

In my lifelong effort to actually stay in shape and at least try to be somewhat healthy, I started going to a bi-weekly zumba class about a year ago. It wouldn't have been my first choice of exercise regimen, but I do like to dance, it's 2 bucks a session, and there's no commitment. You go when you can and only pay for the sessions you do attend. Plus, it's a really good workout. But the purpose of this post isn't to promote zumba (though you should at least give it a try if you're interested!).
Last week, our instructor had this idea to have a black light party. Blacklight? Black...light? Who knows. Anyway, all she really told us was to wear something white and that she would turn out the lights, turn on some disco balls, and we would all "glow." Problem is, you only glow if you actually know to wear something white. And when the instructor tells you she's doing it on Thursday, then you get to class on Tuesday and SURPRISE! We're doing it today! Well, that's not so much fun. Especially when you're wearing red and green. Just like a badly lit Christmas tree.

Ornaments courtesy of the now defunct Picnik.

Pretty stupid thing to get upset over, right? After all, it's not like I have this overwhelming desire to be turned into a human glow stick. But no matter how much we glorify standing out, no matter how many people say "be yourself" or "don't follow the crowd," anyone who looks like an evergreen Christmas tree amongst people who look like snow is going to feel a bit awkward. Especially when all the little snowflakes clearly got the memo that the evergreen tree missed.

Believe it or not, standing out isn't all it's cracked up to be. If I showed up to work in a tank top and yoga pants, I'd probably be sent home because that's not the appropriate way to dress for my job. If I was in the left turn lane at a traffic light and went straight when the light turned green, I'd probably crash into the car opposite me. Then I'd sure stand out...but in a really bad way.

When you're a teenager, it can be remarkably easy to fit in. Sounds crazy, right? After all, most teenagers will easily tell you that they don't feel like they fit in anywhere. But it's a lot easier to find a group of friends in high school than it is in the real world. In high school, you're forced to spend a certain amount of time in the classroom or on campus, even when you're not doing anything productive in class, so the best way to spend that seemingly wasted time is to get to know people. You know that you will see your classmates almost every day for hours at a time because they're required to be there.
In the real world, not so much. Not doing anything in class? No big deal. Just leave. Don't want to go 8 hours a day? No big deal. Just go part time. It's harder to connect with people when you're an adult because everyone is doing their own thing.

Holy crap, that was all very sporadic. So what's my point? I guess my point is that everyone has times where they feel like they don't fit in. For some reason, it ceases to become socially acceptable to talk about it when you become an adult, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen to us. I wish I had an easy solution, but it's just the way things go. Since that's sort of a depressing note to end on, here's a picture of the oh-so-gorgeous Adam Levine that I took Sunday night. That helps a bit...right?

Not the greatest quality...but hey, there's nothing quite like a guy playing a guitar.

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