A Round Peg in a Square Hole – Is that you?

Well hello there you lovely lot. This little post is another of my Cuppa and a Chat posts. Its just me and my brain, thinking out loud, hoping to open discussion and have a chat. This post is inspired by, (but not about) my youngest son, but I think its a common thing that people, ourselves included, come across in our lifetime. Lets chat…

The comprehensive school system in the UK likes conformity. It likes its pupils to fit a certain criteria, achieve the results that they know the pupil is capable of, in the subjects that society and the school deem to be the important subjects.

Well, in my youngest sons case, he is incredibly bright. He is expected A’s in his exams, and he is the top sets for all subjects. Great you would think? The downside, his brain is the wrong shape for school. He is expected to behave and conform in a certain way, because, according to school/society histology, that is what bright kids do, they conform, and are “studious”. Well, not in my sons case. He struggles with traditional schooling methods as he finds it difficult to sit and listen to teachers ‘bang on” about things he has no interest in. He comes alive of a night time and is a social butterfly. He has to be forced to revise and is, I will admit, a little wild! He loves Science and English, hates maths. He is very good at maths, numbers come easy to him, but he detests it. He loves people, people love him, he is incredibly popular. Teach him in a way that is interactive and you get the best from him. A recent evening up at the school to discuss my son, the dreaded parents evening, made me really sit and think about the expectations we put on each other, ourselves, our younger generations, to fit the mould. The reoccurring theme from my sons teachers was, he is so incredibly bright, but distractive/chatty/unable to focus/questions everything. He dosent fit with the rest of the class who, on the whole, fit that stereotypical bright kid profile. Difficult for the school, I appreciate that, but also difficult for Fin as he has spent his entire 5 years at secondary school feeling suppressed and hating every day. That saddens me.

It got me thinking about a post I wrote a while back, Ten Things Iv Learnt (on my 44th birthday)

In that post I wrote about how I believe your vibe attracts your tribe. What I mean by that is that being you, your original, true version of you, will attract the people into your life that love and appreciate you for you. Your friendships/relationships will be more fulfilled and satisfying. You will not feel you have to filter or tone down your personality, or try to conform. I think when we are young, we try on a few different versions of ourselves. Without being a cliche, we are trying to find ourselves and work out what we are all about. Teenage angst is a real thing people!

As you grow in experience and life lessons, (I dont think age necessarily brings this awakening) the need to conform and fit fades. You learn that its more important to feel comfortable in your own skin, you dont feel the need to seek anyone’s approval. You have usually formed long standing relationships that are comfortable and natural. The people in your life, on the whole, love and accept you as you. We discussed this a bit in another cuppa and a chat post, Your not everyones cup of tea – and thats ok.

But, what about when you dont really feel like you fit the mould? I have always felt like I think differantly to other girls. Iv never quite got the rules of the jungle. At school, I would have friends in all of the typical groups, the In crowd, the Geeky girls, the Sporty girls etc. I would often get myself in trouble for hanging out with the “wrong” people from one group, by another group who thought Id signed up to their membership. But to me, they were all just people! Company to be enjoyed. I never got it, why could’nt I be friends with everyone? I never really pinned my colours to the mast for any particular group, preffering instead to have variation and enjoying varied company. The downside to this is that you are friends with everyone, but dont really gain anyones loyalty (apart from your best friends) as, I suppose, you are not giving any one group your full loyalty. I was never a pack animal, and even, god forbid, enjoyed the company of my brother and his mates!

Also, Iv always been happy to show my ambition. This can evoke feelings of distrust from others, in part, because of their own insecurities and desire to climb their own ladders. Someone outwardly showing their colours and saying, “hey, Im willing to work hard to get to where I want to be”, can make people nervous. Its strange isnt it. People need to remember that blowing out someone elses candle dose not make theirs burn brighter!  Support others, and not because of what you feel it could gain you, but because you want to see them do well!

Im a square peg in a round hole
Im confused about what mould Im meant to fit!

I think in the blogging world, its even more apparent if you dont try to fit in any particular mould. The terms “girl gang”  and “squad goals” are banded about, (we have spoken about this last month) indicating cliques are still very much alive in the adult world too! Social media has become the new playground. People trying to fit the mould, posting what they think others will like rather than their own preferences, trying to be popular and forming their own “girl gangs”. Its no surprise to any of you that I really struggle with social media, for that very reason. I don’t want to post a daily selfie, an outfit of the day, its not me and Im not comfortable in front of the camera. Not that there is anything wrong with those that do in any way, I like to see some outfit posts. But neither is it wrong those that don’t, but it seems that if you don’t play by certain rules, you struggle to get a following. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with that, I would rather be true to myself and post the things I like, than conform to what everyone else thinks we should do. I could’nt live like that. My husband would say that I have always rebelled against conformity! My attitude is a bit of a pain in the butt when you need social media to promote your blog though, Im not gonna lie!

So, what can you do if you need in some ways to play the game, but find yourself rebelling and kicking back against the rules? How can you do that but still keep your uniqueness? I have had this discussion with my youngest son, as he is about to try to make his way in the working world, and if I am honest, I cant work it out! I dont know what to advise him. Of course you have to conform in a working environment, but still be you. My son is probably cut very much from the same cloth as me. Both of us have been described in the same way. Free spirited. Head strong. Cant be controlled. Rebels against routine. Quirky. Thinks differently. Wired up weird. There own person. These are ways I have been described all my life, and my son has been too. (Which is probably why I have always embraced his spirit)

The sad truth is though, that you have to learn to play the game. You have to push yourself into a mould a little to achieve what you want to achieve. Finley will have to go to interviews in his suit, not in his self styled ripped jeans and a hat. The same as I have to occasionally be in a photo on my Instagram. (Never an outfit shot though, I draw the line at that) haha! Also, for me, if I have learnt anything the last year, its that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. We owe it to ourselves to be true to our own truth, do what makes our soul sing, and find your happy. Its no harm to break the mould when you feel the need to and always, forever, be your unique, individual, beautiful self.

So, my question is, do you find that you feel pressure to conform? Do you feel that you sometimes feel like you are not truly being yourself? Are you aware that sometimes you act a certain way to make people like you or accept you? Do you think its a confidence thing or a “quiet life” thing? Id really love to hear your thoughts on all this!

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  1. Lise
    June 14, 2018 / 8:34 pm

    I definitely conform in work situations, because I usually cannot stand being around people but I can’t make a living by staying at home not talking to anyone.. So I just suck it up and go about my day. It feels awful when I get home again but I honestly haven’t found any other way to go about it. Now if I could start my own business, and only having it be online, then I wouldn’t give a crap about conforming to society. I’d like to think that could work for Finley too, start his own thing, do it his own way and be successful that way instead of getting a suit and tie job and having to do the same things every day.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 14, 2018 / 8:39 pm

      Yes I totally agree about work situations Lise, we have to tow the line there. Iys our individuality and uniqueness that seems to be getting lost isnt it. I love that you say you hate being around people, that made me chuckle. My sister in law often says that she wants to stay home because its “too peopley” haha. Yes I think Fin will end up working for himself. He wants to do promoting and something that allows him to be very sociable. He will be on Love Island given the chance! gawd help me. Thanks for stopping by lovely xxx

  2. June 15, 2018 / 7:04 am

    Thanks Kerry for such a thought provoking post. I couldn’t comment straight away as I needed time to think and work out if I’m a conformist or not. I’ve come to the conclusion that by and large I am, but not totally. There’s still a bit of me who would love to throw caution to the wind and do something totally unexpected. My mum told me that once I’d reached that ‘certain age’ I should consider dressing appropriately ( whatever that means) and wear sensible shoes, which I do, but that’s my choice and also I fall over wearing anything with the slightest heel! She wasn’t too impressed when I chose to wear a wedding dress six years ago rather than a flowery chiffon two piece.
    As far as social media is concerned, and here I refer to Instagram as I rarely do Facebook or Twitter, I personally find accounts that consist of nothing other than pictures of outfits, cakes or flowers rather boring, they are too niche for me. I prefer to see a snapshot of people’s lives, warts and all. I’ll happily post a picture of the washing up if there’s a story to tell!
    What a fine young man Fin sounds. He’s his own man and bravo for being himself and not conforming to what people expect him to be. Clever people who don’t conform shine and stand out from the crowd. My youngest is very clever too, although he adores Maths. He is doing an actuary graduate scheme at Lloyds, and although he loves what he does, he hates the whole corporate, team player thing. He isn’t getting the promotion he deserves because he isn’t one of those team players and doesn’t conform. He’ll qualify and then he’ll be out of there and good for him.
    Eek, I’ve gone on far too long and I need to get to work. Toodle pip and keep these fab posts going. Xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 15, 2018 / 8:18 am

      Thank you so much xxx Ohhh you haven’t gone on too long for me! I absolutely love that you gave it such thought, I really appreciate that. I think unfortunately, society makes us have to conform in certain circumstances, and thats fine, but we do seem to want to crush individuality and uniqueness from an early age don’t we. Its like we want to pigeon hole everyone and when they are outside of a certain box, they are seen as different. Im the same as you, I like to see variation and life in my feed, but then Im not a big clothes shopper haha! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. I love to hear other peoples opinions.

  3. June 15, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    Very thought provoking! I think as long as we conform to the requirements of being a decent human being, then everything else about us is inconsequential.

    Of course I want my kids to be good people but my biggest hope for my children is that they manage to be that whilst marching to the beat of their own drum, even if that scares me as I know that’s the only way they will be happy in life

    I conformed for far too long and made far too many mistakes as a result. It’s better to make mistakes acting as you, rather than how others want you to act. I like you, have friends in all sorts of camps and I’m so happy for it – they each have something different to teach me, it helps my view of the world to be much more holistic.

    Your son will be just fine. He’ll probably end up in a job that actively encourages self expression rather than 9-5 office suits. He’s a smart boy and he’ll know what the right thing to do is at the right time. He’s got love and support behind him and that will see him through.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 15, 2018 / 4:42 pm

      Alex thank you so much for popping over for a read, much appreciated. I love your view, that a rounded group of friends is more holistic, thats exactly how I feel. Its nourishing. I have always encouraged my sons to not chase money, but find what makes them happy so they are not doing a job they hate. I know some people dont agree with that thought process, but seeing your kids happy is the greatest gift eh! We always thought Finley would end up in the arts or something, but he did a few tv commercials, and didnt love it like we thought. Im sure he will find his way. Thank you so much for your input, I love hearing and learning from others xxxxx

  4. Jean
    June 15, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    Well Kerry this post definitely got me thinking. When i was a teenager because i lacked confidence (and still do) I would copy everything other girls wore and did because that way nobody would notice me and I wouldn’t stand out which was fine but you then become too much one of the crowd and get lost and forgotten unless you had the confidence to “have a voice” which I didn’t. If you have the strength of character and confidence to be yourself which Fin does he should go for it, grab the world with both hands and above all DONT CONFORM be an individual and enjoy life to the full

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 15, 2018 / 4:44 pm

      Yes, yes, yes, I totally agree. I truly think that we owe it to ourselves to not become lost. To always be true to ourselves, Confidence is a tough one and like you, I can lack in confidence but as I have gotten older, learnt to care less how others view me. Im not sure if that comes with life experience, age, or a mixture of all! Thank you for reading and giving your input xxx

  5. June 15, 2018 / 5:33 pm

    Such an interesting post, I felt I had to reply! I sometimes feel like I’m so out of the box I’m probably in another box on another planet entirely haha. I haven’t exactly gone a typical route with things since leaving school. I’ve never been one to conform for the sake of conforming either, except for doing what’s right. I might have been super quiet at school but I was always my own person. Now I’m nearly 30 I’ve come to realise there are times you have to change your perspective slightly to get to where you want to be though. Vx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 15, 2018 / 10:10 pm

      Thak you so much Victoria, Im so glad you felt compelled to reply x. You and I would get on great, I will be on that other planet with you haha. I agree with you that we do have to tow the line a little sometimes, its a fact of life. I do think we can keep our individuality though, its just finding our way isnt it. With my son, he obviously has to make his way in working life, but Id never want to crush or change his spirit! Its a tricky one! Thank you so much for your input, it makes me so happy to hear others input and view. Thank you x

  6. June 15, 2018 / 6:42 pm

    I always felt like an outsider growing up. When I was in highschool, a lot of the popular boys fancied me, one in particular told me he really liked me. But the popular girls would always be incredibly bitchy because I was quiet and kind of awkward. I don’t think I fit in anywhere, and even when I went to work in cosmetics, I struggled to make conversation.
    And that’s actually kind of affected me throughout my life. I usually find only one or two people in a group who I relate to or who I connect with.
    In terms of blogging, I think my posts are different to many I see on my feed. I don’t know if I’ve noticed it clicky at all, but in my year of blogging, I’ve had bloggers tell me how much they love my posts or how great we are as blogging friends, and then one day they just stop communicating.
    I play the game on social-media because I know what it can do to help further my career. I like my feed and what not, but I’m aware that I have to use similar filters, post certain images and follow people etc. But I think it takes up such a small percentage of my life.
    You’re son sounds like a great all-round person – intelligent and popular. I find school puts people in boxes, whereas work has more freedom. From reading your description, I’m confident he will flourish when he starts work.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 15, 2018 / 10:17 pm

      Ah Im sorry you have felt like that. You come across very confident now, so it obviously helped shape and build your character. Thats a good side of it I suppose. Im not sure I have found blogging clicky, but more that there are those that only like fashion posts, those that only like interiors and so on. People like a niche. Thats why I think I struggle because I am random in my posts and literally visit my Insta etc 4/5 times a week at best hahaha! I really hope your right with my son, I do worry. its trying to find the balance between not selling your soul, but having to play the game! this thing called life eh! Thank you so much for your inout and view, as always, much appreciated xxx

  7. June 16, 2018 / 1:27 pm

    Really enjoyed this post Kerry. I’ve always felt a bit like a bit of a weirdo and have found it hard to fit in or conform to the norms of society. School is absolutely awful for making you feel like you have to fit into a certain ‘box’. At first I definitely felt like I needed to put my blog in a certain catergory but now i’ve just decided to roll with it and post about what I want. Brilliant post, as always xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 17, 2018 / 8:11 am

      Thank you so much Grace xx. Im glad that you found you wanted to not put yourself into any kind if niche, it makes us far happier to just write whatever the hell we like dosent it. I think school tries to pigeon hole everyone because it makes it easier for them! Then the playground mentality is that you have to fit into and stick with one group. Thank goodness many of us (but not all) grow out of all that rubbish. Thanks for reading lovely xxx

  8. Susanne
    June 17, 2018 / 11:36 am

    This is such an interesting post. I just recently read an article about schools in Sweden and how they aren’t made for the children, but they think children have to conform to the school, and if they don’t, it’s trouble. This is probably the case everywhere and it’s so sad. But I love to see people stand up and be who they are. When I was in school I was an oddball and had to suffer for that of course and I just wanted to be like everyone else because I didn’t want to stand out so much. After 20 when I moved away from my hometown I started having my own interests in life and decided to just do what I wanted to do, and if my friends weren’t interested, then I would go on my own. I’ve definitely found throughout life that the older I’ve become, the less I care about being like everyone else. Especially in the blogging field – outfit posts bore me to death, and the only beauty blog that is somewhat interesting is yours – because I know you have a real passion for it.

    As for your son, I’m sure he will do fine once he’s out of school because he seems to be strong and one who stands up for himself.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 17, 2018 / 8:45 pm

      Ahhh Susanne I am so happy to hear that you found the strength to not care so much. Its really like a feeling of freedom when you realise isnt it. You and I would have a ball chatting over a whisky or two….. I think as my blog grows, I am finding that I am happy just being a bit random and covering anything and everything. I think I was putting pressure on myself for a while to fit a niche, but I git ver that pretty quick hahaha. Im so honoured that you like my beauty posts, I try not to overload with them but it is something i like to share with my readers, just like I like to share them with my mates. Thank you so much for reading and giving your input and view. I appreciate it s much xxx

  9. June 19, 2018 / 5:20 am

    💖 this post. Living in New York you can decide to conform, or not. I have to conform in dressing if I show up at a restaurant Uptown, where I can dress funky downtown. So depending on where I am going I conform to the norms. I also believe in living authentically when blogging, friendships and relationships because it’s exhausting something you are not. xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 19, 2018 / 9:13 am

      I agree with you 100%, it must be exhausting and incredibly tedious to write about or talk about things that don’t interest you mustn’t it! Thank you so much for reading xxxx

  10. Hi Kerry I loved reading this post, it is so relatable, my sons were similar to your son at school, they both hated secondary school and because of this didn’t want to work as hard as they would have done if they had enjoyed it – a completely different attitude to primary school where children are nurtured and encouraged. Anyway that’s water under the bridge now. Myself, I feel more confident as I have got older and now, particularly leaving my ‘conforming’ job feel I can spread my wings a bit. I’m fairly new to blogging but I’m not trying to fit any mould, I like to just write what I feel like writing about – what a rebel I am haha 😂 I particularly love your message in the last paragraph ❤️

    • kerrylifeandloves
      August 10, 2018 / 8:12 am

      Thank you so much for stopping by xx. Its hard to parent kids like this isn’t it, as I never, ever wanted to change him or squash his spirit, but at the same time they need to know that at times we all have to conform! I am so glad that you are able to spread your wings more now, its always good to have the opportunities to see what we love and what we could become, no matter what our age! Im so glad you enjoyed the post xx

      • Yes you’re right and I don’t think parenting is ever plain sailing! I think there are challenges whether we have boys or girls – in different ways, but we deal with them and learn as we go 🙂

        • kerrylifeandloves
          August 11, 2018 / 5:20 pm

          You are so right. Thank goodness for gin I say! hahaha xxx

  11. February 9, 2019 / 8:13 pm

    I have to say one of the positive about aging is not giving as much of a #$*^. I was always out of sync now I embrace it. Whatever. I hope you son can get to that point – I think he will with you as his mom.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      February 9, 2019 / 10:18 pm

      Ah than you so much, thats very kind. Funnily enough, since leaving school and starting college, he is in a lot less trouble, and is more settled. In part because he is allowed to express and question, which is what I have always taught my kids to do. Question what you dont understand. I truly think he will flourish now. I totally agree with you about not giving a hoot. I love the saying, “your opinion of me is no business of mine”
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, much appreciated xx

I love reading your comments x

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