Monday, June 1, 2009

Making the Pieces Fit

I'm not one for puzzles. To me, all the pieces look the same and looking at the box doesn't help. The exception to this is the little kiddie kind of puzzle that has like 25 to 50 pieces. For those puzzles, I don't need to look at the box. (Side looking at the box when completing a puzzle considered cheating? You tell me!) The picture on the puzzle is usually easy to figure out and the pieces are big enough that you can tell by just glancing at it whether or not it will fit. Hence, the frustration factor is lower than those puzzles with 1,000 pieces. Since I'm not one that handles frustration really well, it's best I stay away from these puzzles.

There have been times that I worked with other people to put pieces of a puzzle together. We're talking the kind of puzzle that has over a thousand pieces and the picture is a collection of kittens that are all the same color. Not an easy task. I know the strategy of doing the outside pieces first. This much I can do without much trouble. When the outside is done and I start working on the inside, my troubles begin.

First, I'll sort the pieces by color or design in the picture. If I happen to be working with the kind of puzzle where the entire thing is the same color, this strategy doesn't really work. I find that being with a new group of people is very much the same as putting a puzzle together. Once you find out where you supposed to be and why you're supposed to be there (this is like the outside pieces) then you mentally sort through the people in the group by categories of your own making. This usually is the process of observing people and figuring out the ones you think you will get along best with. After sorting the pieces, you start to work on the inside and making all the pieces fit together.

Once you've got your people pieces sorted, you chose a group and start seeing if the pieces fit together. Usually, you start with one person and break the ice by participating in small talk. If that progresses well, you carry on a conversation and try out the person piece to see if it fits with you. Forcing it to fit usually creates unnecessary tension, so if you find the person piece doesn't fit, you put it down and try another person piece. The cycle continues until you find pieces that fit you on all sides.


What if all the pieces already fit together and your piece doesn't fit anywhere? Have you ever felt this way? You walk into a group of people that appear to know each other already and you gently try your own piece out to see if it will fit them. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Over time, your ability to make the pieces fit determines whether or not you keep working on the puzzle or if you quit the puzzle and start a new one. Or start a Sudoku puzzle instead because you don't have to fit with anyone to do that kind of puzzle.

So that's where I am today.....trying my best to make my puzzle piece fit into a puzzle that appears to be pretty much on its way to being completed. I tend to be the kind of person that frustrates easily so I'm trying real hard to stay with it. It's a little hard for me because for the most part, I don't have a lot of trouble fitting in to any group. I think I'm relatively interesting enough, I'm very accommodating, I'm not confrontational, and on occasion I say something that makes people laugh. Yet, at times, this doesn't seem to be enough.

You might be reading this and thinking, "So what? Who cares if they like you?" I'd agree with you....whether people like me is relative. It's not necessary for getting the job done but certainly makes the work much easier. I can deal the whole "Do they like me stuff." My concern is will I find where I fit in?

Finding a safe place that feels like home no matter where you are is very important. I've got that at home and at work. There are a few places that I don't have this comfort and I'm looking very hard at all the people pieces to see if they fit with me. If you see me looking, please be kind. This puzzle is going to take awhile to put together and I'm trying to not give up on it. Because if I don't stick with it, I'll have to start on a Sudoku puzzle and those frustrate me too.


Carrie said...

cheer up!! I love you! and isnt that all that matters? call me one day after your class and we'll hang out!

Crystal said...

I've felt like that every day of my life. You, on the other hand, have nothing to worry about. Everybody likes you, and if they don't, what's wrong with them? :-)