This is me.
A square peg in a board of round holes that we call society.
I can’t say when I first noticed it, I mean, really saw that compared to those around me every day I just didn’t quite seem the same. I guess I was too young to realise what that really meant. To be an odd shape or an oddball that could not slide into the space life reserves for the round pegs around us. While they smoothly nestled into what was expected on the big board of life and met all those imaginary goals that someone says we should all meet as children. I struggled to understand why all the things we learned side by side just did not seem to absorb into my flat edges the way the round pegs seemed to get it. I didn’t progress like they did, my growth goals, my milestones, and everything just seemed so hard because of my clunky and unrefined shape.
When I started to see it, I guess I became very hyper focused and self-aware of the differences and somehow magnified my own sense of insecurity and lack of ability to ‘fit’ in. Straight edges, neat corners, and very black and white about everything, while they were polished and smooth and flawlessly aesthetic. They just seemed to know how to be.
Then there was me…. I took longer to process, longer to understand and I needed different things to stay calm. I was clumsy and loud and said inappropriate things and didn’t get the jokes or the facial expressions. I tried to be part of the crowd and instead was always the bystander who did not get picked for team games.
You see…. These pegs around me, they all lined up and slid into their spaces very easily and sort of co-existed without any huge effort about it, like somehow nature was on their side. Their shape, their inner workings. It was all so much of an alien thing to me as much as the roundness of their being and try as I might, I had no ability to put myself into the place of a round peg
I started to feel even more disconnected as we grew, and my flatter edges really became more prominent and refused to be pushed into the curves of the holes around me as much as they did when I was little, and the hole was roomy. I tried harder, fought to fit into that hole and would have to force myself so much more than I did when I was a little peg. The others were beginning to really see my oddity.
Highschool was the worst, and at the awkward age where fitting in is everything. They all sat snugly into their holes while I wriggled and turned and had to force myself which hurt my irregular shape. I was forced to cling on inside that space, stop myself from popping out and act like I wasn’t really a square peg at all.
Kids who saw my corners would point it out and make fun of me, show others I was different, and they could be very unkind. I tried so hard to keep it all hidden under a round mask that I fashioned for myself. I adopted round peg traits and mannerisms in a bid to not be noticed, but all the while I could see my flat edges and harsh corners and I knew they were there. I tried to disguise them and smooth them but alas. A square peg I always was even though I did not want to be. No one asked me or gave me a choice. Nature just made me this way.
Round pegs communicate with one another in weird ways, they think the same and behave in a socially acceptable manner that I guess is naturally born into round pegs. Life for them seems so much easier when it comes to relating to one another, talking and learning. They just know what to do, how to act and feel and how to behave. I guess round pegs get some sort of road map to these things that I somehow missed.
There I was … square, forced into a space I didn’t fit and faking my roundness in a bid to get by. I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t handle the fact that this was done to me while everyone around me got to be ‘normal’. I didn’t see how it could feel better and I felt alone. I wanted to be a round peg, feel like a round peg and behave like a round peg. I wanted to succeed in life.
Then one day I met another square peg, completely by chance, who at first was hiding it too. I hadn’t known there would be more like me, and the more we talked, the more we became friends our little oddities started to shine by themselves. We were not hiding anymore and a wonderful thing happened – we met others and they too were existing in this world and forcing themselves into the peg board to get by. They too could not understand why nature had made them the wrong shape.
That was until we talked and confided in one another and suddenly, it did not feel like we were misfits anymore. We thought the same, we communicated, learned differently, and understood one another in a way we had watched enviously for many years and then something amazing happened progressively.
We attracted and found more like us and society started to see that round was not a hole that fitted all pegs….. there were more. Square, hexagonal, oval, star and so many shaped pegs out there that were not round, and we were only just scratching the surface. Society is still adjusting to our existence. Not all round pegs understand us and why we do not fit in the board beside them, but it’s changing, and we are seeing boards with all inclusive shapes where before there were only round.
Society is slowly learning that maybe the peg board should not be uniform and repetitive. That some pegs need something different and it’s not because they are faulty or somehow disfigured pegs… No. We are something else. We were built by nature as something else. We are not failures or unlikely to thrive.
In fact, square pegs have many gifts and our oddity can be a gift in many ways. You will never know the delight of having a square peg in your life if you keep forcing us to hide in round holes.
I am a square peg and I am proud to be.
Yours sincerely an ADHD and ASD Person.