A poor fit

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and musing, while running round like a bluetailed fly.

I’ve spent my life as the proverbial square peg being hammered into a round hole; so much so that I feel I have actually lost my real shape and have become an amorphous blob that squidges and squeezes and stretches to fit whatever space is available. I also feel this is reflected too in my struggles not to turn into the Fat Lady at the Fair.

OK, you could say I’m flexible or adaptible. Or that I am multi-talented and able to turn my hand to anything. All of which are true enough.

What I am getting at is the constant erosion of my perception of who I am and where I fit in this life. I’m many things, obviously. A teacher, a healer, a mother, a wife, a writer, a poet, a ….well, fill in whatever label you feel might fit me from what you’ve seen and read here. But beyond all those things, who and what am I?

My current profession is a poor fit, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I am a good teacher, a very good one if I set aside false modesty. I’m a bloody good guide and courier. But to do these things, something essential to my soul is shunted to that inner “backroom” like an old carpet bag waiting for collection at the end of the day. I don’t pretend to be anything, or anyone. But a huge section of the real, the essential ME is missing.

I constantly have to monitor what I say among people, constantly simplify my language, my choice of topic. Some of that might be put down to being among folks whose first language isn’t mine, but even so, you’d think I’d be able to speak my thoughts in the staff room. I thought so too, until someone had a go at me last year.

Life for me is the Bed of Procrustes. You may remember the story of the Greek chappy who made his overnight guests sleep in a bed that supposedly fit everyone perfectly. Well, if the guest’s head was over the head end of the bed, Procrustes whopped it off with a sword. Ditto the feet. If someone was too short, he mashed them and bashed them out until they did. He met his end at the business end of Theseus’ sword, but his legend lives on.

I simply don’t fit.

As far as I know, I don’t fit anywhere. Apart from the fact that the interview I went to last week was almost certainly pointless because they’d already earmarked their internal candidate, I would not have been appointed because I would have been too good for the job. I know too much; I’ve read too much. I’d have made the others feel very uncomfortable. And I hate that. I don’t feel superior to anyone, and yet, it seems as if people perceive that I must.

I’m too big for Procrustes’ bed.

So what goes, then, my head or my feet?

Or should I be a modern day Theseus and in some strange esoteric way beat the bully and free myself?

Answers on a postcard…

No, really. Any ideas of how to beat this metaphor and ease my own reality would be gratefully read. I’m increasingly uncomfortable.

9 thoughts on “A poor fit

  1. Oh, this sounds very familiar. I feel like I don’t fit in my job and have to bite my tongue nine times a day. No words of wisdom, I’m afraid. I suppose I would take them myself if I had any.


    • The thing is, Alice and Retired Eagle, it’s not just this job. IT’s everything I have ever done I have never quite fitted.
      The weird thing is that yesterday I did a reflexology session for a new colleague, something I haven’t done for almost 3 years, and I was surprised that after such a time I was still good at it. I shall see what she has to say about it today though. I had to give up because we moved to a house without a suitable room to work from, and that hasn’t changed nor my feelings about the world of those sorts of things. It unsettled me quite a lot.


  2. Well, Viv, I don’t have an answer. I lived in the same staff rooms, eventually as the principal. The best I could do was to keep the focus on them, their world, their issues – letting them be the centre. Only then was I somewhat tolerated. There was no desire on their part to ever know who I was. It hasn’t changed much. Now I am retired and still no one is around with whom I can talk to about my interests. Yet, I am doing well regardless. I have learned to respect my “self” a lot more within.


  3. I can’t help telling you I felt pretty much the same way about my teaching job. Everyone praised me and assured me what a brilliant teacher I was, yet I felt completely miserable. It was a role I was forced to accept due to the fact that finding a suitable job is so difficult in my country (anywhere, I suppose). I kept going to work with a huge lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach every day. I sincerely hope it’s not the same with you. At least not to that extent.

    As for people whose first language isn’t yours, I believe you shouldn’t try to simplify the way you speak. Some of them, like myself, are avid learners and treasure the eloquence of native speakers. Also I believe it’s them who need to rise to your level, not the vise versa. 😀

    Anyway. You should be proud of yourself and I wish you to feel really happy about who you are.


    • Shiona, if I were with you, I wouldn’t try and simplify my speech. But even when i talk to English people, I get blank looks and asked if I swallowed a dictionary. The owner of the school I work for had a go at me for it, even. I am as I am, but it doesn’t seem to earn me any favours.
      I’m in dark glasses after a nasty accidnet yesterday, involving my right eye, the sharp corner of a document wallet and Norwich cathedral. I couldnt work this morning because oif it. A+E said stay off work till Friday. Funnily enough I have just been asked to do 2.5 hours private tuition on Friday afternoon, so the money I lost by not working today is made up for elsehwere. I can sort of see again but my eye hurts very badly…


      • I am so sorry to hear you were in such pain. I truly hope you feel much better now.

        Hm… as far as language is concerned, they say fluency does not necessarily make one an actually intelligent person. While I try to refrain from totally rejecting this statement, I do believe that having poor knowledge of one’s own language definitely means one is simple-minded.


      • …..or certainly poorly educated…which seems to be increasingly the case with English kids, sadly.
        My one-to-one this afternoon went really well; my Russian lady was very nice and very well read. I introduced her to the book Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris, author of the famous Chocolat, the film of which I do sometimes use with more advanced students.
        Blackberry Wine has one of the most accurate lines about writing I’ve heard: “the process of writing is a little like madness, a kind of possession not altogether benign”. This is how it is for me.
        Thanks for your concern; my eye is much better now, thank God!


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