Fitting In….written by Sue

I’ve been thinking of this subject for awhile now and have finally got up the nerve to write it.  It’s about fitting in.  Not just fitting in when you were in school, but more about fitting in with your family, both immediate and in-laws.  I have been with my husband going on 12 years (4 years of dating, 5th year got married) and never really felt like I fit with his family.  (In all fairness I don’t know how much he felt like he fit in my family either.)  My husband and I have always been comfortable with each other, but I didn’t always feel comfortable with his family.  They are a bit crazier than my family, but in a fun and open way that my family never was or ever will be! 

When we first started dating in high school I didn’t think much of it because I was still naive and young and didn’t read people well.  As one year turned into two years and then three years, I started getting this sense that I didn’t belong.  That they didn’t like me.  I had tried to change myself to make them like me and had even tried to change what I believed in to connect with them, but I still felt on the “outside”.  Sunday was game day, and I always sat behind everyone else instead of with them because I felt like they thought I was intruding.  It was like that click in high school that you so badly wanted to get in to but not matter how hard you tried they didn’t let you in.  The more I tried to run from who I was the more unhappy I became, and I know that started to show in our relationship. 

The turning point was my wedding day.  At the end of the night when people started to trickle out (more like stumble!), my new brother in-law, Jason, came to say goodbye and hugged me.  Not that little tap tap on your shoulder that strangers do, but an actual brother to sister hug. He told me congratulations, said that I was stuck with him (my husband) now, and he meant it.  Everyone else that night gave me that same kind of hug.  That, welcome to the family kind of hug.  I realized that they liked me for me and not because I was this or that or whatever.  Thank God because the other act was getting old!  It has taken me a few years after that to feel 100% accepted, but I think I have been if not because they like me but because they know I am sticking around.  Does everyone feel this way at some point?  Does it affect you no matter your age? 

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9 Responses to Fitting In….written by Sue

  1. Ali says:

    I think we all at one time or another have a hard time fitting in. In school there are so many things you either are into or your not and kids are so mean. Families are sometimes tough too though I don’t feel they mean to be. It’s just the way they’ve always been and you kind of have to ease in. There are so many inter-working parts to a family.

    My husband’s family is very outgoing and very crazy and free spirited than my family (my family are stuffed shirts!!). It was kind of strange getting mingled in with them at first. I just didn’t know how to let lose like they did. I am now a big part of the family. It takes work, you can’t give up but I feel lucky to be with the bunch I am. My husband on the other hand, he just seems to fit in wherever he goes.

    Nice post again Sue.

  2. Joy says:

    Boy Sue, I NEVER knew you felt like this. That you felt you didn’t belong. I’m very sorry you did. I can just imagine how it was coming into this family. We are a wild bunch. Imagine how I felt going from my family into that Erickson bunch!!!

    All families are different no matter how much they seem the same. When you see people sitting in church, it’s hard to imagine how they live their real lives. We all have such different takes on things. Little quirks and things we all do differently.

    This is the only time the whole blogging deal is bad. I’m not sure who will read so I can’t really say what I feel. I don’t want to “compare” or hurt anyone’s feelings but yes, fitting in can be hard. I’m still having a hard time (I know you know what I mean) and you know what else,? I hate “game day.”

    But I always did like you and want you in our family. Why do you think I’d always tell Toby that the “little blond neighbor was out running”?????

  3. Liza says:

    This is a very interesting and neat blog. I found it linked to another one I enjoy and thought I’d see what was going on here. I like the mix of different writers. That way you get different opinions and lord knows, we all see things differently. I also like the varying posts and stories.

    I thought of this post in two ways. One way, yes in school the whole ‘fitting in’ thing is really a hard thing to go through. Unless you went to the same school your whole life, it’s really hard trying to fit in if you’ve moved and don’t know anyone. Otherwise, everyone grew up together and somehow, has a spot. You have your class clowns, jocks, nerds….all the what-have-you types.

    Families though, I have to say I feel it’s more of a matter of blending and finding your own spot to fill. Only because a family is so unique and they have always been together and then all of a sudden someone new is coming on to their turf and I feel you have to try and transition yourself and blend together. Not change but accept that this is your loved ones family. Like jobs or anything else that is new, you have to try and ease yourself in because you are the new one.

    I also don’t feel age is that much of a factor because hurt is hurt no matter how old you are and if you feel you don’t fit in, it hurts. I’m glad you feel you fit in now. It sounds like you are a happy family because I would NEVER blog with my mother in law!! Eeewwwwwwwww But that’s another very different post 🙂

  4. Lisa says:

    I totally agree. I think that at one time or another everyone has the feeling of not fitting in. You can only do your best.

  5. SKL says:

    This is a great post. On one hand, there is the age-old issue of relating to in-laws. People joke that mother-in-laws are just difficult, but really, it can’t be that every woman who is normal in every other way gets weird when her child marries someone. I’ve watched my mom become a mother-in-law and my sister-in-laws navigate the whole thing. It’s actually quite interesting (I can say that since I’m not married and my daughters won’t be getting married for a long time). I think many mothers do feel disappointed when their children change as they mold to their spouse, but I think a bigger issue is that the daughter-in-law sees the “established status quo” in the family as something she “has” to adopt in order to be accepted. I also feel that this is rarely actually the case. It just takes time to figure it out.

    I have two older brothers, and the younger of them has always looked up to the elder. Well, Brother 2 had gotten engaged to a rather heavy woman, and he introduced her to Brother 1 at a party. He asked Brother 1, “what do you think?” Brother 1, who had always been spaghetti-noodle skinny, said something like, “well, you know how I feel about fat people, but if you love her, that’s great.” OK, shallow, etc., but Brother 1 isn’t a mean person; just didn’t know what else to say to “what do you think” when he didn’t know anything about her except how she looked (since she was extremely quiet). Unfortunately, SIL heard this exchange, and this was the cause of much tension at family gatherings for years. It didn’t help that she was a liberal and actually cried when our family started its usual for-fun ranting about some democrat or other, welfare bums, etc. She tried to be “non-confrontational” (another slow-burner there), but her silence made everyone feel she didn’t ever like being around us, and people in my family started getting a negative impression of her. Finally what broke the ice was when SIL found a great opportunity to embarrass Brother 1 and everyone laughed at it. At last we could see her own sense of humor and justice, and you know, we liked it! At some point, it became the general opinion that she has a lot more sense than her husband, my brother. I do have to say that what really sealed it was when she brought the cutest little grandbaby into the world. OK, I take it back, mamas ARE weird when it comes to babies.

    As for generally fitting in: I can’t say much, because I rarely feel like I fit in anywhere. Since Kindergarten I’ve generally felt like others would rather NOT have me around most of the time. I know this isn’t actually true, because I have the love of many good friends, family members, and colleagues who tell me I’m a wonderful person. I think it’s my quietness with folks I don’t know; a friend told me it makes people think I’m stuck up. Who wants to approach a person who looks cold and disinterested? Yet if I try to change my outward behavior to “warm and inviting” or whatever the extroverts feel when they enter a room, I find I can’t do it; it just makes me ten times more awkward and uncomfortable. So I just have to learn to like the way God made me, and not worry about fitting in.

  6. Jane says:

    I just cant stand anyone “having” to fit in. It just doesn’t seem fair but it is such big part of life in many ways. No matter where, it happens. In the workplace, school, community and even families. I grew up where I live now and so have most other people I know but it still happens. You have your ‘classes’ no matter what and it can cause many hard feelings. I feel bad about young kids having to try and figure out where the best place to be is because in some cases, who you hang with can make you or break you.

    I do feel like some others above have said, in a family, you have to make your own spot as they were where they were before you came and hopefully it all works out. I really love in laws but like I said, I’ve known them all my life.

  7. jason says:

    I don’t pretend to like anyone. ask Sue. People I think Need to decide in life when to lead or follow. then decide when to care if people follow your lead. I can be a complete ass when you first meet me, I don’t need more friends. But if you take the time to get to know me you’ll understand I would do anything for someone who earns my respect (a friend). Sue put up with my distance for year’s and didn’t let it affect her relationship with my brother. For that she earned my respect and the title of sister (not in-law)

  8. Joy says:

    Jason, I’ll be the first to agree with you. YES, you can be an ass but then….your like this and you show your really nothing but a softie.


  9. nikki says:

    I always thought you fit in just fine. That crazy family is pretty welcoming. Now look, we’re crazy!! Game day is pretty nuts but I liked it. And I miss it, just hanging out having fun. I felt a little nervous at first too though, but that’s just because it was a whole new group of people and I’m not good at stuff like that. But I’ve learned especially over the last couple years, you have to be yourself because you are only lying to yourself if you are pretending just to fit in. From my own personal experience I lost what I thought was a good friend when she treated a new friend of mine like she was nothing. She was so rude I was shocked. And the way my new friend (candi) handled it was amazing. She doesn’t care what other people think, but let me tell you it infuriated me. How can you treat someone so bad just because they don’t fit your perfect little mold!! I love Candi just the way she is.

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