The puzzle is the problem: fitting in

Sophie Bolen, Staff Writer

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It is okay to not fit into the puzzle.

In fact, I find puzzles to be quite irksome and useless. Sure, puzzles can be a fun way to entertain and strengthen the brain, but the only thing I get out of a completed puzzle is a sigh of relief. I truly feel little to no pride looking at a purposefully broken picture that I put back together for fun. I also endure the same feelings when I apply the puzzle metaphor to real life.

Both middle school and high school are essentially about “finding who you are and where you belong.” I’ve witnessed friends come and go. Some friends have waded out of the friendship pool peacefully deciding “this is not how I want my life to go” and onward they sail, floating to a new group to see if that’s where they are meant to be. Some friends move on violently, like a little orange lifeboat thrashing and flipping in a deep sea storm, motivated by confusion and uncertainty.

I, myself, have traveled through friend groups. Most of them are because I got bored, I found out the true heart of so-called friends, or sometimes, I simply grew apart. So many people try to find their group of steady friends during high school, desperately trying to answer the question of “where do I fit in?” Therefore, the puzzle isn’t a puzzle; it is a safety net. After school, you won’t have that same group of friends, and it won’t really matter. Don’t get me wrong– friends are wonderful. I deeply cherish my friends and adore them. We get through life together. But we don’t “fit in.” We come from different backgrounds. We like different music and have very different opinions on subjects of the heart and the head. Having a group or a safety net is fine, but finding your identity in your group is toxic.

High school should not be about fitting in. “Finding who you are and where you belong” should not be the case. It should instead be about finding who you are at your core, through your soul and heart, and sharing yourself with people you love. With a good heart and self-discovery, you belong everywhere. Life should not be about fitting in to the perfect puzzle; it should be a journey of self-discovery and then applying that along the way into circumstances and people.

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