I missed a week of posting because I didn’t know how to write this one, I kept getting upset and overwhelmed, or slightly self-indulgent and not objective. I still cried my way through writing the better part of this but I’m giving it my best shot so here goes.
I recently decided to get some help with figuring out what next, and I wasn’t sure where to start. My reasoning behind it was that I just, have never fit – not anywhere or at least not for long. I am often described as high energy or ‘too’ much. I care too much, my expectations are too high, I’m too loud, too busy, etc. etc.
So I decided to get tested for ADD/ADHD, Cognitive behavioural functions and disorders. I am very logical and I like to think I am reasonable person. After reading about how ADD/ADHD presents itself in girls I thought that sounded like it could be me or at least some of the struggles resonated. However the biggest push to get assessed was that I wanted something to be clinical or fixable because I so often feel like the odd man out.
I struggle with relationships, and it often comes back to me being the problem. When I was struggling at my last job, I decided to look at it as a problem to be solved – so I set upon the task of showing how we could make changes so that both parties would be set up to succeed, at least that’s how I looked at it. My mom’s first reaction when I told her my plan was to say maybe I need to be medicated. And the reaction from those involved or reading my proposal was thanks but no thanks, I was just the problem, I needed to ‘get along’. So much so that three months after leaving they took my solution and have made changes but are searching for someone to fill the position I was hoping for.
I don’t know why but I have a hard time just getting along and as much as I try, I fail.
It could be that doing your best, pushing others to be their best, wanting the best is more important than getting along to me. The thing is, although I’m not unreasonable if I ask for specifics about the situation that caused a rift or where others feel I have wronged them, I more often than not don’t see the problem. That or I don’t think I am wrong in my action or reaction so the problem is just me; it’s how I see things or my values, my beliefs and inflexibility in them. I am inflexible in things I am passionate about, it just so happens I have a lot of passion.
I’ll often hear, it’s not what you said but how you said it. As mentioned in my last post, I’m always blown away by this. What I said should matter, if there is value in what I am saying, it should matter. If I seem frustrated maybe listen to what I am saying because it will explain why I am upset and maybe my reaction is warranted. If there isn’t value in what I’m saying than ignore me and blow it off. If my reaction isn’t warranted then please tell me or if I am wrong, misinformed; take the time and let me know. I don’t walk around looking for ways to ruin people’s day, or make them feel bad or inadequate. I don’t want to stop learning or know what’s best, I know I’m not perfect – help me learn.
So this is what brought me to getting assessed – I was convinced that there had to be something to explain me or that I could get help. What I learned was that there is nothing. I tested at average or above for everything except self-worth and self-esteem. I am slightly hyper but have no attention deficit at all, I actually have very good attention. I’m not bi-polar, I’m not depressed, I am sensitive and I am direct.
So what is my problem? I am a triangle peg in a round and square world. If I try to fit either shape, I have to shave off or hid bits of myself or turn myself sideways and only really half fit. That’s how I feel – it can be lonely and scary. I really don’t know where to go or how to succeed.
I’m currently reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson. My ex and kids gave this to me as a Christmas gift in hopes of it helping me figure some stuff out. I’m not all the way through so I’ll have to come back after I’m done to comment again but so far it’s interesting but not all helpful. He talks about having a finite amount if F’s to give – and although I think the concept is healthy, the fact is I don’t know how to just not to give an F, or, I try, and it makes it worse because I think more about what I’m trying not to care about.
The attempt is to say that there are things that matter and things that don’t. I’m the person that a lot of things matter to them. I’m someone that some things are right and some things are wrong – there is no gray. That doesn’t mean I don’t have empathy or compassion but that there is right and there is wrong, so some or lots of things just matter.
An example is that a few weeks ago my daughter was getting off the bus, when I could see that two boys were fighting in the back of the bus; they were genuinely laying into each other. So I stepped onto the bus (which now I know, didn’t before, is against the rules and will not do again) and said to the kids, voice raised – “Boys, is this appropriate? Get in your seats. I’m getting calls from the Vice-Principal that this bus is out of control. Stop fighting and keep your hands to yourselves. Got it’. My thought process was that if my kid was getting beat up or fighting on the bus, I would want an adult to step in, and not necessarily call the office because it would be too late to stop them from getting hurt and that might result in them getting in more trouble or even suspended from the bus. The bus driver is sweet and his job is hard, maybe he feels its at stake if he says the wrong thing or maybe there is another reason he is uncomfortable, or maybe he has tried. Anyway the behaviour was wrong and needed to stop so I did what I thought would help.
The reaction of the first two people I told this story too, was to tell me how wrong it was for me to do that. I should have kept my nose out of it, that it wasn’t my business. In all fairness the first person knows more school rules and was probably just trying to warn me I might be in trouble, but my thing was it was the right thing to do. Now if it were strangers on the street, adult strangers or teenagers that could hurt me or retaliate maybe I wouldn’t have been so brazen but I would seek help. I want to live in a world where it’s ok to call out what’s wrong – and this unfortunately makes me the odd man out a lot. I felt awful for days and didn’t feel better until I confessed to the principal that I did this, she told me the rules to which I will now follow.
The thing I get caught up in, is when not fitting in, or being told that I need to let things go. It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me, and as I have already mentioned apparently there isn’t. I wanted to write this because I know my sister doesn’t 100% believe this, in fact she said when I told her that my assessment came back with nothing that I should check the credentials of the psychologist and the tests. So even in my own my family I’m the triangle among the squares and circles.
This feeling with my family has been duplicated with relationships outside, friendships, romantic, work or otherwise. When I have bad days or more so when someone hits a spot that matches a hurtful thing others have said to me, or a weakness, or something I am actively trying to work on, even from years past, I start to beat myself up. I’ll focus on the fact that they must be right, because this person thought so too or I should be better. That my parts of my family, those closest to me believe I should be medicated so I can stop caring, and my response which is that medication won’t make someone more competent, or another person less of an asshole, falls on deaf ears so it’s again that I’m the problem.
I don’t believe we can control our feelings, we can try to put perspective on a situation but ultimately how we feel is how we feel. I often feel I have an expiry date to how long people will tolerate me for. That the longer I know someone, or more so, the more they get to know me the less likely they are to like me or love me; this feeling contributed to my lack of trust and the failure of my first marriage.
I do say I’m a ‘Love me or Hate me’ person, there are a few people that have always been great supporters and have made me feel valued. It’s not that they don’t call me out when I’m over the top but they do accept me as I am, unconditionally. I have learned to say I am hard to get to know and accept that I am tough for some to ever really know.
For a long time I tried to morph, and I tried to hide or I tried to not care but that hurt me too because I was always trying to be something I’m not. I want to say that I believe in medication for those that need it. I have heard from so many that it saved their lives and helped them be the best version of themselves. I do think there are people that medication isn’t going to help, people like me that are just triangles in the round and square world. For us, we need to invent our resiliency, be ok with being different – find focus in our sense of self, our successes, our strengths and continue to work on being the best version of yourself.
So I am going to work on accepting my odd shape and focus on opportunities or possibilities where I can be accepted even with my pointy bits. I wanted to write about this although as always it feels not quite finished but hopefully it give some perspective. Those that appear confident might be often crying when alone. That those down one minute and positive the next might be just trying to find a bright spot. That because someone seems strong doesn’t mean they aren’t hurt or injured when you aren’t fair to them.
I never know how to end but thought of this – I know life isn’t fair, but it really should be whenever possible. The things about life that aren’t fair should be natural disasters, cancer or loss of loved ones; they shouldn’t be caused by others or how we treat each other as fellow humans. Be kind to triangles, circles and squares since we are all here doing our best.
Thanks for reading.
5 thoughts on “A Triangle in a Round and Square World”
I have always thought of the differences in you as qualities that I envy for not having myself: bravery and earnestness. This is an odd observation but I believe that if you were a male a lot of the “problems” you have outlined here would fall away and the strong personality traits you have would be appreciated and admired. In leadership roles men are often referred to as firm, powerful and demanding where women are called bossy and abrasive. Megan, your strong, triangle, personality just does not fit into the submissive, feminine, circle. And, thank god it does not!!! The historical stories we hear of women playing important roles in the Civil Rights Movement, I bet those women had personalities similar to yours. They were no starfish ;). They would get on top and demand justice – regardless of the adjectives others would use to describe their behavior. Clearly, gender stereotypes are stuck in the past. Women like you will slowly, slowly change those. Do not falter.
Thank you Heather! Your words are so appreciated. I have wondered if being a woman has played a role in how I am received – my idealistic side wants to believe that this doesn’t factor as much as I know it does.
Love you, my “triangle” friend. I have never met anyone with as much compassion as you!! Don’t change!!