What doesn't belong in this picture? That is the theme of my life these days.

I feel like this red tulip. Like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

Wasn't that an uplifting way to start off this blog?  Truth be told, I have been the complete opposite of uplifting these days on this blog. Heck!  In life.  Yeah, I know.  Just a regular big ole storm cloud.  

The long and the short of it is that I am struggling.  

Shakespeare had a quote from Richard III (or Richard the 17th, I can never keep them all straight -- okay, I'm just joking about Richard the 17th ... maybe) that goes something like this ... "Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York."  Honestly, it's been 20 years (20!!!!) since college, so I don't really recall what the reference to the sun of York was all about, but man!  I can definitely sidle up next to that winter of our discontent business.  I feel like I have been in a winter of discontent for a while now.  

I just don't feel like I fit in. I suppose it's as simple as that.  

I am a single woman in a sea of coupled people.  

I am a 42 year old single woman in a sea of 20 and 30-something singles.

I am suppose to be strong and independent, the very thing that scares everyone off.

I am quiet and "stand-offish" in a new group, and apparently gregarious and extroverted in groups I know.  So, either a wallflower or the one that seems to suck the life out of the room.

I prefer the reality in my mind rather than the true reality that surrounds me. So, honestly, we probably should put air quotes around that first reality, because what goes on in my mind?  It never seems to come to fruition in real reality ... a double negative or something there.  Like how I did that? 

I despise sappy, but secretly desire the old-fashioned values that are wrapped up in sappy.

I am a single female that owns a cat.  Not 20, just one, but apparently, that qualifies me as a cliche.  

I am a single female that owns a cat and teaches fourth grade.  Apparently, that qualifies me as another cliche.

Oh crap!  I'm a cliche!

And cliches stick out like ... like ... well, like a red tulip in a sea of white ones. 

My pastor warns all the time lately to guard our hearts against bitterness. Trust me, this fact, the "all the time" business?  The irony has not been lost on me.  And apparently, I'm not doing a very good job of that either, of fighting off the bitter, because I'm going to admit to you.  I'm bitter. 

I know, I know.  What do I have to be bitter about?  As I look around, I see the abundance of riches I have (not the monetary kind), and that alone shouldn't make a girl bitter.  And yet, I find myself leaning that direction.

I hate feeling out of place.  

No, I don't want to be a cookie cutter.  

No, I don't want to be a Stepford wife or girl or anything ... whatever.

But, being vastly different ... well, let's just say, it's lonely being the red tulip in a sea of white.  And that loneliness is taken as desperation or weirdness or quirkiness or all of those things rolled into one.  

I've said it before, and I am winding up to say it again, but this is NOT how I saw the trajectory of my life. At 24, when I sat on a canoe livery dock and begged to God for a radical change, I never expected this.  And while I stand in wonder and awe at the way pieces have fallen into place, not by my own doing, mind you, I am blown away.  Absolutely blown away by the weaving of what I asked for and what has come true.  Still, as I sit in amazement, I feel guilty that there are other parts that I wish I didn't have to own.

Trail blazing isn't fun.  It's exhausting, and I'm weary.  There are days I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if this "being an example" thing is really for me.  And I feel the guilt of just wanting this one more thing ... 

Being red in a sea of white ... not belonging in a world that everyone else belongs in ... it's a struggle ... 


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