Settling in on Island of Misfit Toys


“Quod minimum, minimum est, Sed in minimo fidelem esse, magnum est.” (What is a little thing is just a little thing. But to be faithful in a little thing is a great thing.) —St. Augustine, translation by Msgr. Charles Pope

 

Jeans either fit or they don’t. Like a lot of things. This was proven to me by a column I wrote awhile back that resulted in the most feedback I’ve received in eight years of columns.

It was about nothing more than the search to find a pair of jeans that fit. A little thing. Some­thing so basic(ally frustrating.) A simplified testimony to St. Augustine’s words. And to the apparent lack of one-size-fits-all jeans. And to the collective frustration. They’re not gloves, people.

The worst thing is shoving yourself into the wrong fit. It’s uncomfortable. Constricted. Forced. And denying the truth while trying to change physics by squeezing into a space intended for another body is just dumb. Jeans either fit or they don’t. Like a lot of other things.

Most of us have moments, I would assume, when we feel like Charlie-in-the-box before he found the Island of Misfit Toys. Situations that feel like fingernails on a chalkboard where our comfort levels could not possibly be further out of whack.

I know this much: If you’re living, it happens. So my question is, why do we fight so hard in losing battles?

I could write volumes on how important I think authenticity is, as in finding a way to be OK with the fact that what is right for one person might not be right for you—and how that’s an exclusive gift and a good thing. Just like a head cold reminds you how great it is to breathe, learning to navigate through uncomfortable things gets you to a genuine place, one that fits. And you can breathe again. Or finally.

A friend and I were comparing misfit stories. Times when we fought to be a part of something that our guts were screaming at us to let go. The solution to her situation seemed obvious to me, as mine probably did to her. But when you’re in it—you just keep pulling, adjusting and twisting to mold yourself into the wrong spot.

At some point, hopefully a little spark starts to change the perspective. I was able to see that firsthand recently. Someone very close to me who struggles with being “enough” grabbed onto a little seed of an idea, an opportunity they felt in their gut was somehow going to be important for them to pursue.

So they did, and it was. At least it’s one step. Seeing someone you love in their element is like watching flower petals open. It’s this quiet, authentic thing, like an exhale—and to be as fairy tale as possible, magical.

That place was one little step away. And finally, like slipping into the right pair of jeans, it fits just right—in the gut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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