The Outsiders

I’ve felt an outsider for most of my life. At school I was bullied, mostly by fellow pupils but also some teachers, because I was chubby, quiet and shy. I was no good at sport, despite trying hard, which meant I was never part of the ‘in crowd.’ I didn’t go to our school formal and don’t think I spoke to a girl until I was eighteen. I had few friends and didn’t go out much. I was a loner; happy sitting in my room reading Stephen King novels and listening to heavy metal music.

My university years did not fare much better. These swayed between alcoholic excess in my first year to hermit like abstinence in my final one when I finally realised I needed to knuckle down and study in order to get a decent degree. It was during this final year that I began to exercise excessively and then secretly binge eat during all night study marathons. An unstable home life at the time also left me permanently anxious and worried. Looking back it was a deeply unhappy and lonely year of my life.

When I left university I gained a place on a post management graduate course where alcohol reared its ugly head again. I was now living in rented accommodation in Belfast. It was the social crutch that I leaned on heavily for the next twenty years or so. I secured a good job and worked my way up the corporate ladder. When I tell people what I do for a living now they look genuinely impressed. I met a wonderful woman who has stuck with me through thick and thin. I don’t deserve her but that doesn’t make me any less grateful for her.

We have three amazing kids and live in a lovely house in a quiet village. We are financially comfortable and on the face of it I epitomise what ‘fitting in’ to society should look like. Then why do I still feel such an outsider at times? Why am I still plagued by feelings of insecurity and low esteem? Why do I still periodically battle with OCD and the demons from my past? Why do I struggle to make friends and sabotage the few genuine friendships I have formed in my life? Why am I still so socially awkward? Why do I feel such a failure at times?

While people might look at it and think I’ve got it made, I still feel as if I am fighting a losing battle where time is not on my side. I desperately want to please people; the problem was that I always set out to please the wrong people, not the ones who mattered. I donned various personalities in order to curry favour but these all ended in disaster. I disliked myself so intensely that I would do whatever I could to be someone else. I still do at times but the purpose of this post is not to indulge in a pity party.

The purpose of this post is rather to celebrate where we have come as a family in 2017. It has been a long and often very rocky road. There have been slips and stumbles along the way. I am learning to live in my own skin. I am me. Glorious, imperfect, messed up, wonderful me. I am proud to be an outsider as I have finally realised that most of my problems in life have been when I have tried to be somebody I’m not in order to fit in.

I’m a square peg. I’ll never fit into that round hole. I’m learning not to look through the window and focus on what might have been but instead concentrate on what I have. On the outside. There is safety on the outside. There is safety in numbers. For we are many. This last year has taught me that in order to heal I need the clear, crisp air of the outside. I need to breathe in the truth and purge myself of the lies from the past. I need to take a step back in order to move forward.

Detoxification can be intoxicating on the outside. I want to be drunk on life. I want to run and write and love. I want to laugh more. People say I don’t laugh enough. Yes I’m a weirdo, an oddball and the most infuriating man in the world at times. But at least I am me, at least I can look at myself in the mirror and not have to avert my gaze in disgust.

And I have finally found my social media home with you – my fellow outsiders.

Viva la difference!

Do you feel like an outsider?

How have your efforts to fit in damaged others and yourself?

80 thoughts on “The Outsiders

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  1. What an honest touching post! I think you deserve a wolf whistle, if not a standing ovation for this, for accepting yourself the way you are, for embracing your quirks and for being grateful for things that hold you. Well done, you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

  2. It’s very interesting to read posts that sound something like my earlier ones. And you’ve reached a point when you realise that fitting in is part of the problem. Fitting in with yourself is the most important thing anyone can ask for in the span that we call life. Take care and have a Happy New Year, Mike.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good to be honest about where your at, freeing to know that all that work never gets us anywhere fast right? Yes I have felt like a bit of an outsider for a number of years, I think since I got married last year that becoming less important. Still learning how to be comfy in my own skin though.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I think, my friend, that you are more of a peculiar person, than an outsider.
    1 Peter 2:9 KJV – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

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  5. Ditto! A square peg trying to fit in a round hole…you summed up my life. One example that damaged myself attempting to “fit in” caused financial strain. I took a position in my career working with a group of women who valued fashion over character. Initially, I fought the peer pressure to “keep up my wardrobe” but in order to move up the chain of command it was expected to dress the part. And in addition to dressing the part there was the looking down on those who were not in the “inner circle”. In the end, I went into debt, compromised my integrity and ended up taking a position with another company. Lesson learned… Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Thanks for sharing! and thanks for being so honest!
    I have always always always felt like an outsider but I am slowly learning to accept it because in the end it’s not other people’s opinions that matter, it’s Gods! And I would rather be standing with Him and be judged by the world then be standing with the world and be judged by God!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I feel like an outsider because of my anxiety, which keeps me from socializing, and sometimes, as you know, keeps me from leaving the house. I get down on myself about it, but have realized that this is who I am right now, and I need to accept that, the way you’ve accepted that you’re a square peg. It doesn’t mean I’ll be this way forever, as I’ve made strides leaving my home by myself. I’ve been doing guided meditations on self-love, and that has helped tremendously.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel like an outsider sometimes. I’m the only homeschooler, the only Christian, the oldest one there, the youngest one there, or even the only one who has never heard this popular song. And countless other things that make me the “only one.” But I have learned to get over it. I can’t help standing out. I stand out pretty much wherever I go. So I stand out and smile. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Yes, I have but not for the same reasons as you. I did because of my faith. There were times of feeling completely alone. But those times are the ones where Jesus became my closest friend. Yes, it would still have been nice to have someone to talk to and share with but I’ve come to realize, no one understands me like Jesus. He knows my heart and He loves me with all my faults and failures and promises to complete His work in me. So that when He appears I will be without spot or blemish. Thankful to hear He bringing you on your journey to that same place.

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  10. U was an out sider at school. My ‘friends’ didn’t actually like me. They used my kindness to get what they wanted from me. I’m having a bad day, so that better be it for now, otherwise I going to burst out into tears. In a few days I might do a post on it so stick around for that. Thank you for making me feel less alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Honestly, I’m at a really bad position in my life where I feel like I’m loosing the grip on living. Every single thing I do, I question it….every good relationship I have, I sabotage it. It’s like I’m self destructing! Good thing is, I know I’ll make it soon

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing the different points you’ve been. When you look back and see where your family is now there’s a definite reason to smile ๐Ÿ™‚ We have a past, and we don’t have to let it keep its ugly claws on us.

    We are a new creation in Christ, daily being washed and drenched in His mercy, guidance, and grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have always seen myself as an outsider. I have never really fitted into a a group of friends. I tried for many years to fit in with the last circle of friends this sadly went very very wrong and i find myself very much alone. I look at others and see them all contributing to their friendship circles in many different ways, it made me think how over the years i have not really contributed to any of my circles. I firmly believe now that i am better as the loner type. Looking in from the outside.

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  14. Viva la difference in deed! I could see of lot of me in this post.. truth is, you were born to stand out… I’ve learned this “ugly” truth..well recently.. its tough being or feeling different but its a gift in disguise… im learning to be more content each day. Thanks for sharing with us. This is why I love this platform!

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  15. Your comment, “Iโ€™m learning not to look through the window and focus on what might have been but instead concentrate on what I have.” This realization set me free. It sounds simple, but it is profound. It is life changing because we have so much to be thankful for. And you, my friend, happen to be very popular (and loved!) If I ever get to Ireland, I will definitely come to see you and your lovely wife, Fionnuala.

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  16. I can wholeheartedly relate! Not a drinker but I grew up with a stepfather who drank heavily; when you live with someone who drinks, you often adopt similar traits/behaviors to cope. God bless you & keep you for your openness and honesty…it took me decades to admit that I often acted like my stepfather. I, too, have OCD, have suffered depression, anxiety and even an eating disorder at one point in my life. To answer your question about masks, I have had two marriages fail because I wore a mask. Because abuse was part of the package growing up, I never learned to speak up or share how I truly felt. Pretending I was okay even when something went against my core values, not valuing myself…until everything built up too much to contain…and I still turned it back on myself in the form of that eating disorder, wearing another mask that I was “okay” even as I dropped 7 dress sizes in as many weeks.

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  17. “I am learning to live in my own skin”–I LOVE this (and this entire post…it’s so raw and genuine! Even as an adult, I’m still a loner but I’m cautious about who I let get close to me. I used to struggle with my introverted personality (I still have those feelings at times) and I wanted to please people, too. In my younger years, I ended up in bad relationships because of those insecurities. It’s pretty scary not to truly know who you are but it’s a great feeling when you start to accept yourself. Ask God to continue to help you with things you’d like to improve on. It’s not an overnight process but He will help you get there (He has definitely helped me and I’m still a work in progress).

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