Are You An Outsider?

I’ve always been an introvert, an outsider, not one of the ‘in crowd.’ It started at school where I was a shy, chubby boy who was rubbish at rugby and didn’t speak to a girl until I went to university. That boy still exists, I’ve just got better at hiding him, laying down layers of defence mechanisms to convince the watching world that I’m confident, capable and charismatic. I’ve got quite good at it, a chameleon hiding amongst the hyenas.

I’m married to a wonderful woman and we have three fantastic kids, in addition to the world’s most disobedient border terrier. I hold down a responsible, interesting job and we are financially comfortable. I’ve run ten marathons and written and published three books. Not bad at all. Yet, beneath it all, I still feel I’m on the outside, looking in. I still believe others look down at me and close ranks when I dare to edge towards them.

You might say this is all in my head, to wake up and smell the coffee. But old habits die hard and this is one of the hardest. My natural leaning is still to change my personality, beliefs and morals to fit in with others. I’m willing to discard my true self and play a role in order to be accepted by the cool kids. This temptation is probably at its highest on social media where it’s so easy to forget who you are and create an alternative version of the truth.

The great thing about temptation, though, is that you can resist it. Which is what I do. Every day I try to be me. Sometimes it works to my benefit while on other occasions I fall flat on my face in spectacular fashion. But at least what you see is what you get. Warts and all. This is why I turn up here every day and write. To connect with, and encourage, others who feel equally torn between reality and fantasy. I say…be true to who you are, even if it leaves you on the outside looking in.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

27 thoughts on “Are You An Outsider?

  1. I hear and feel this 100%. I have always acted the chameleon to fit my surroundings as best I can. I am trying (like you) to resist this urge and be true to myself. That’s one of the main reasons I created my blog, so I could be unashamedly and 100% myself. Even my writing name, Luna, is a direct nod to my favourite outsider in Literature. I can only hope that in reality I eventually gain the courage to be as outwardly Luna as she is at Hogwarts.
    Great Post Fractured Faith! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After I was removed from the job I had held for so long, I was given the time to set aside the ‘work place’ me and rediscover the me that I had stuffed in a box. I was so intent on trying to fit in with those around me in some way. It didn’t help that I forgot to lock that box and from time to time me would escape and make her presence known. Me, doesn’t fit well with the so called normal folks. This forced early retirement has been a blessing in many ways. Because I have come to find that I really like the authentic me, and authentic me has forgiven the one who tried to stuff her in a box.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephen, this is so powerful. So important. I for one am glad to have discovered you here in the ‘net-world.’ You have added much to my own perspectives and understandings. Rock on!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Perhaps we can be outsiders together! You are speaking my language as I too, despite the “seemingly comfortable lot in life” I find myself in, do not feel as though I belong anywhere. Nor am I exactly sure just who I am after years of living my life for others. It is here, in this realm of words and thought that I feel I find kindred spirits and glimpse myself again. I am glad to share this outsider perspective with you. No, make that honored.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As one certified introvert to another, let me tell you I am glad you show up here daily Stephen. You have helped me and I’m sure many others by your example of honestly looking at and attempting to deal with the stuff of life. Please keep stopping by!
    Chuck

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think we’re all outsiders to a degree. In-crowd included. We’re all trying to prove we belong–and really, we do. This messy, crazy, beautiful world needs us all to show up–authentically.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I find it helps to remember that, for most people, we’re just extras (or non-player characters) in their movie (or game). If you aren’t the main character in a particular drama, then you don’t need to worry about what others think because they aren’t thinking about you at all.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I feel the same that’s why I go with the fake it till you make it mantra sometimes but that’s just too exhausting and not me. that’s why I write because writing is the only thing that connects me with my inner thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Word of advice: Stop it.
    A therapist told me this years ago, and his advice stemmed from an old episode of the Bob Newhart Show. The episode was a patient stating his ailment to Bob (Psychologist), and Bob simply said, “Stop it,” meaning, stop feeling that way.
    I’ve learned recently that we only have the present moment—the past was then, and then was then the present, and the future—not here yet—will then be the now.
    We all tend to drag the past to the present moment and define ourselves through that old history, but really, what the fuck for?? We are ONLY who we are AT THIS VERY MOMENT. Stressing about the past or present is not who we are. It’s just destructive thinking ( of past and future) that paints the picture of failure. That’s the truth.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for showing up, and being you! I haven’t quite gotten to the write-on-my-blog every day stage. I still have doubts about people having any interest in what I have going on in my head, and in my little piece of the world. Keep being you!

    Like

  11. This is very profound, Stephen. I admire you for being brave and opening up about this because there are so many who wouldn’t. I too am a natural introvert. It’s human nature to want to fit in with the cool kids, as you mentioned, or at least, beat them. Thank you so much for posting!

    Like

  12. Thank you for being you. It took me forever to get past trying to fit in. Ironically, when I stopped trying to fit in I became comfortable in my own skin. To paraphrase Robert Fulghum, one day you walk out to the mailbox in your old bathrobe and bunny slippers and realize you just don’t care what people think. Some call this going to seed. I call it the beginning of wisdom.

    Keep being you. I think you’re pretty cool!

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  13. For too many years I forced myself to attempt to fit in. To be upbeat and chatty, especially with those I worked with. Going out for lunch or for after-work-frivolity was so hard when all I wanted was to be alone to read a book (or work on one of my own). Now, I’ve finally broken free from that person and I’ve allowed myself to be who I truly am…a loner, an introvert who needs little contact with others, or what you would term “an outsider.” It’s so freeing to no longer struggle to be what others expect or what I think others want me to be. I am who I am, and those who still like me are my true friends. The others are mere shadows in my world and I don’t miss them.

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  14. Sometimes the only way to see the really amazing stuff is to be outside looking in. Easier said than done of course, as you so rightly point out!

    I am glad you keep writing, and look forward to reading more of your words. 😁

    Like

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