Do any of you remember the Island of Misfit Toys from the old school Christmas TV show, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? For those of you who do, I want you to take a moment and think about the fact that this children’s show is an allegory for our society as a whole. Let me explain.
After fleeing his home, Rudolph and the elf that wanted to be a dentist landed on the island of misfit toys. An island full of toys that were broken, not properly made or just not pretty to look at. They were exiled to an island all alone, never to become a child’s first love. Later, Santa promises to rescue the toys, but I just discovered that in the original TV show, he reneges on his promise to return and abandons the toys.
Let’s go one step further. Santa doesn’t value Rudolph until he is able to help him with his glowing nose. Rudolph’s parents were even embarrassed by his supposed “defect”. What would have happened to Rudolph had the snow storm never come and his nose was never needed? I’m guessing he would have lived a life of obscurity, full of painful social exile.
All he wanted to do was join in with their reindeer games. Here is my question: Who made the reindeer games so damn important? In real life, not in the North Pole, the same thing happens every day. People of all ages, not just teenagers, will jump through hoop after hoop trying to fit in with a group of people, who will not accept them and are not worth the effort.
Misfits. Outcasts. Oddballs. Any of these words are used to label individuals, who live outside “accepted” norms or who go against the grain. All of these words are highly negative and grossly incorrect. Being different and aspiring towards something that is outside of the social norm is what has propelled us so far technologically and artistically. But still, people are ostracized for being too fat, too thin, wearing glasses, being too light, or too dark, or just for liking something that others do not understand. Failing to fit in, when you’re being yourself and causing no harm to anyone is far more common than actually fitting in. But people are made to feel so bad, so foreign, and so abnormal; that they think they are the only ones in the world, left out of the inner circle; when the truth is that there are far more of us outside of the inner circle than there are inside of it.
Those of us excluded from the reindeer games are generally open and loving people, as long as we have not been too damaged and made bitter by exclusion. We have character and beauty fathoms deeper than can be expressed in mere words or glimpsed by our outer coverings. So, the next time you feel excluded or like you don’t measure up, remember than the only one holding the measuring stick is you; and that you are one of the unique and extraordinary. And even if the small inner circle is rejecting of us all, they’re okay too; they just have to find the courage to be who they are inside themselves, not inside the circle.