Recently I feel like a misfit. I don't really feel like I belong most places I go.

I think that I am confident enough (or learned enough acting skills from Mr. Bowden in the Wilson High School Theater Department) to pretend like I should be where I am, but internally it's a struggle.

Stereotypes and labeling are funny things. It makes sense why they exist--they are usually true, right?

Wrong. Well, kind of wrong.

They are sweeping generalizations of groups of people or things, and often times they seem accurate because a majority of those people or things fit into the categories we form. So in that sense, they appear truthful.

But I don't know that they actually are.

I think stereotypes and labels can become an excuse for us to not try and understand the depth and complexities of the people and things around us. If almost immediately we can place someone or something in a category, then we assume we know enough about them and can feel okay relating in generalities. This means solving their problems with simple answers. This means forming opinions about them or the situation based on what we think we know of them, instead of really getting to know them.

In other words, judging people instead of listening and understanding them. (Listening and understanding does not have to mean agreeing or supporting. Listening and understanding means trying to be loving and caring.)

Maybe that is why I feel like a misfit. From different people and in different places I am categorized as a lot of different things. I feel judged for a lot of different things. But I don't feel like myself within any of those definitions.

It's not that I mind them terribly (although some I do). It's that I am having a hard enough time figuring out who I am (again and again and again) and I don't think any one of those labels encompasses who I want to be or how I want to be defined.

I don't have a solution for this. Except maybe that ultimately I want to be known as Lindsey. My name encompassing the whole of who I am as an individual.

I am not my job (or lack thereof), my successes, my failures, my fears. I am not my relationships, my preferences, my roles. Sure those could be used to describe things about me, but they are not me.

I am my story. I am being created and renewed daily. If you desire to know me, listen to me. Journey with me. Celebrate life and grieve hardship with me. Remove your preconceived thoughts about me and give yourself (and me) space and freedom to discover the core of who I am together.

And I will try my very best to do the same for you, because you deserve it. We deserve it.

Truth be told, we are all just a bunch of misfits trying to find a place in the world. Trying to belong and be "normal" to blend in, or to not be "normal" to not blend in. (Which, as a sidenote, is still a form of trying to blend in anyway with all of the other non-normal, non-blender-inners.)

Each of our lives would be a pretty entertaining sitcom. Like TJ always says, "People are just funny." (Don't believe me? Take some time to people watch today. There is a reason it is a popular pastime.)

Think about our quirks, our idiosyncracies, our bizarre habits. No one really fits anywhere because what is normal anyway? Yet that is exactly why we fit. We are all misfits, so let's love one another for who we are.

Maybe today we should practice letting go of the stereoptypes and labels we give ourselves and others. Instead of fitting people into predetermined boxes, let's take some time to listen and observe, to see past the generalities and open our hearts to the misfits around us.

You never know, that misfit could very well be me. Or you.

Or a glimpse of God...and we just might overgeneralize away an interaction with the divine.