PREFACE – This post is for one person and one person only. I know your fear of fitting out. I get that you’re scared to speak up. I know you were raised in a community you never connected with and it’s not something you asked for. You’ve told me how you cringe when you hear “them” say “those words.” It’s how you were raised but I know you ARE better than this. You are GREATER than your silence and there is a WORLD of beauty that comes when you break free and speak from your heart. I hope my message helps you towards shedding yourself of old skin and living freely in the new. When you know better, you do better, not just for your family today, but for your future family tomorrow.

As children, we quickly learn to dress, talk and behave in certain ways considered “acceptable” by society. Your mother may have dressed you in a certain way she felt was appropriate for your sex or gender. Your dad may have talked about certain people in certain ways and even if you weren’t meant to listen… you did. Like a sponge, you absorbed it all.

I remember my mom dressing me in tights under all of my dresses. “It’s not appropriate to not wear tights.” or “Stop that, little girls always sit this way. Sit still and cross your legs.”

Church for sure taught you to not speak ill of others, and your classmates knew that if you didn’t style your hair in a certain way or wear the latest Jordan’s or Jansport backpack, you’d be bullied. I remember being picked on like it was yesterday… and it sucked.

One of my best friend’s growing up was African American and I remember wiping her tears in the bathroom stall because some ignorant jerk made fun of her adorable hair twisties. I’ll never forget the day she came to school with her hair straightened. My eyes widened and my heart broke… but I understood why.

So what happened?

Overtime we became adults. With experience, we grew, followed our path and became more individualized. But, deep down to our core, we never forgot the sting of pain that comes from feeling like “the other” or that we simply won’t fit in if we say x, do y or dress in z.

Trying to fit in at its core, is our own internal, engrained method of survival.

What does this mean?

Let’s imagine we are cavemen and cavewomen. Now picture lions roaming around scaring the daylights outta you. Unlike all your cave homies who remained dead silent, hiding deep in the cave and praying to not be discovered (fitting in), you went out and decided to sing and dance and wave those hungry, drooling lions all towards you, (stupidly fitting out).

You’d be eaten alive before you could finish the macarena.

If you miraculously survived, your community would consider you a threat, a maniac and either have you stoned to death, or exiled, where you would definitely end up lion lunch.

We do what we do so that we are not “shut out.” But how much of ourselves must we refrain from BEING so that we stay safe?

Fitting in will always bring you a sense of belonging and comfort knowing you are living in a community of those that speak, behave and believe in the same things you do.

But are you truly living, and living AUTHENTICALLY, if your sense of freedom means free, to a certain extent?

Then my answer is NO, you’re not.

Fit in with what makes you feel safe, but don’t let that stop you from venturing out and exploring what makes you feel truly alive and doing what you know in your heart is right.

Sometimes feeling like you don’t “fit in” is a clear message from the universe (or whatever higher power you may believe in) that you are NOT meant to fit in, so be proud to FIT OUT!

Question your current beliefs.

Are the beliefs you have today, those that came from your own actual life experiences, or were they passed down by well meaning family members?

Venture out.

Explore new books, learn about new religions and cultures, try new foods, meet new kinds of friends from different parts of the world and appreciate the beauty of the other. The best life lessons comes from becoming curious, exploring and asking questions. If you grew up one way, explore the other. My dad was always annoyed by my millions of questions as a curious kid, but I know along the way, I made him reconsider a few beliefs of his own.

Be True to You.

Express yourself in ways that feel most true and valid for you, even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable for those around you. Practice patience. If they love you, they will come around and accept you. If not, then practice letting them go. We all have our own path to walk in this life. Be proud of the path you walk on, even if it means leaving behind a past you no longer connect with.

You will never know what you’re missing if you remain where you were raised. I mean this in every way: physically, culturally, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Now challenge yourself to answer the following: How do you fit out?