Monday, December 5, 2016

Square Peg in a Round Hole

Are you a "square peg in a round hole world"?

I heard this phrase recently in something I was reading and it really struck a chord with me. Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you strain and strive to fit in, you feel like you are always just missing the mark, trying to squeeze in until it hurts. Feeling defeated. 

Of course it depends on the people in your world. I am fortunate to have some wonderful people in my life, both family and friends. But aside from them, when it comes to systems and school and grown-up deadlines and bills to pay, and a house to maintain and keep organized. I feel like I am constantly missing the mark. At least the mark that others create for me. 

In college, I went on a trip to Costa Rica. It was a wonderful trip. We helped build a church in a town just outside of San Jose. Just like anything where you are working together as a team for a good amount of time in a foreign environment, you tend to get to know the other people pretty well and bonds form quickly. At the end of the trip everyone was given some sort of award for the week. Awards like "hardest worker", "best cement mixer", and some other more comical awards. I got the award:

"Tico Time Queen"

Tico Time is the lifestyle of the locals in Costa Rica. It is much different from "Gringo Time" or white people time. Its a very laid back attitude. No one really cares if you are 5, 10 minutes or even a couple of hours late to a meeting or a party.  If you show up at the time they told you to, you will most likely find the hostess still in curlers or the party not quite ready for you. 

If you know me (or knew me in my younger years especially) you understand why I won this award.

This is MY lifestyle! It just feels so right! I tend to show up almost every time about 5-10 minutes late. It doesn't matter if I wake up earlier, get ready earlier, or plan ahead. It's like a have this internal clock that ticks just a bit slower than the rest of the people on earth. I had finally found my people!

My mom and brother used to joke that telling me to hurry while we were out and about was like asking honey to come out of the jar fast, its just not in my nature. 

The problem is that this Tico Time Queen has grown up into a responsible adult with three children to take care of and get to school on time. Wouldn't you know I have a son who marches to this same internal rhythm? 

I see the stress in his eyes trying to get out the door on time. Trying so so hard to fit into the round hole. To remember every form to return, every assignment to complete. I see so much of myself in my oldest son Calvin. He spends so much of his time reading and creating. His mind is often navigating the bigger questions of life, pondering our existence, reading about space, coming up with inventions and manipulating another lego spacecraft. He is so smart and such a dreamer. He is a creative type, just like me. The blessing and the curse. The square peg in the round hole syndrome. 

Recently, I had a conversation with both of Calvin and Jack's teachers. One of them mentioned to me that Calvin has been consistently late (insert enormous mom-guilt mixed with fear of failure) she continued saying that if he just gets here about 5 minutes sooner, he will be fine. 

Then I headed across the hall and had a similar chat with Jack's teacher, who stopped me from apologizing for sending Jack to school late. She continued to say that it was all good and that some of us just run on a slightly different time-frame. She went on to say that she is also this way, and that it drives some people crazy. But "It's all good! We are all here and we are learning together and that is what matters most! "

I needed that. I needed that permission to be myself. To be seen as a GOOD parent even though we do tend to run on a different schedule. 

Don't misunderstand me if you are the round peg. Please know that I do value being on time. I do see the value of structure and order and all things that revolve around the ticking hands of our societal clock. 

But at the same time, I also need to feel valued for who I am. I need to have the space and freedom to be a creative type. To be VALUED for the contribution I am making in society. 

I wish that also for my son who will likely spend a lot of time thinking and creating and revolving around the rhythm of his own heart beat for his whole life. 

May we all revolve around the rhythm of life itself. Not the rush and drive and anxiety of trying to get there at any cost. 


"We're all here and we are learning together and that is what matters most!"

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