Do you fit in nicely? Or have you always just not quite fitted anywhere? I’ve always been a little bit “out”. Nothing drastic, just little things.
I love sport but I’m pretty hopeless at it, so I’ve never been the first pick, or best player or anything.
I also don’t understand fashion trends and have no eye for colour, so I’m usually wearing the wrong thing. It doesn’t help that I don’t know clothing ‘rules’ so I’m the hatless one at a wedding you’re meant to wear a hat to. Or I have a long dress when it should be short.
Over the years, being out of kilter has been my norm and I’ve stopped worrying so much about it. The more I worried, the more I buggered it up, so I went with the flow, instinctively knowing I’d get it wrong.
People always comment on my non-conformity, pointing out in subtle and not-so-subtle ways my failings. I was at a wedding once (a winter wedding, in the early 90s) and feeling rather good in my black suit with green jumper, until the girls at my table had a huge discussion around me and came to the conclusion that black at a wedding meant you wished the bride poorly and green meant you were jealous. Yep, that was subtle!
About six years ago, I started going to RWA conferences and was shocked to find that I fitted in…or, at least, I didn’t stand out.
There was no ‘norm’.
Just an eclectic bunch of people who love writing.
At an RWA conference you’ll find sporty people and non-sporty. Fashion- and colour-conscious and those not. The short and the tall, and everyone in between.
And people accept you.
You write what you want to write and the same thing happens – you’re accepted.
What’s more, others support you, compliment you, and make you feel part of the group. It’s such a novelty. In fact, it’s such a great feeling that I want to hug those conferences close and never let them go. It’s like being part of the Ninjas, but bigger.
In a crowd of 350 RWA conference goers, I’m not an outlier… and it’s so damn nice to have found my tribe at last!