Thoughts on being exactly who you are even if it doesn’t “fit” with society.
I’ve always been a bit of a square peg in a round hole. Don’t misunderstand. After a bit of time, I grew into loving the trait instead of loathing it. Self-acceptance for being exactly who you are is a beautiful gift. And whether people accept me or not, is their business, not mine. But from my earliest memories, I was the odd girl out.
I felt that way in school. I can recall seeking the company of teachers instead of classmates. Maybe it was a less risky and much safer choice. After all, they were paid to be nice to you. I even have memories in elementary school of a teacher eagerly steering me toward the children playing four-square to my overly shy self’s horror. I’d rather stand alone than be smacked in the face with a red ball. Which most assuredly would have happened.
Even back then, writing saved me. I remember writing a piece in fifth grade where I gave the four-square balls a backstory, names, and personalities of their own to the great joy of my pubescent instructors. Ah, an oddball writer was born. I couldn’t play ball, but by damned, I could write about it!
I felt that way in my family. I still feel that way with my family. Maybe everyone does. I am the black sheep in all my fluffy glory. My father still likes to remind me of this fact.
Yet, publically and on the surface, I can appear quite different. It was an acquired skill for self-preservation, I presume. I can play any part that a situation calls for. Almost an out-of-body experience. For a painful introvert, you can place a microphone in my hand, stick me in front of a crowd of 500 and I’m quite at ease. More so than I ever am whilst participating in a one-on-one conversation. That’s the spot my awkwardness bubbles to the surface.
I remember even in high school being named the “prom queen” which surprised me beyond my realm of understanding because I didn’t even get asked to prom.
I like to think I received the honor because the overwhelming majority of teenage anarchists voted for me. Because I never felt like I was one of the “cool kids” or that I fit in on any level. For me, my circle consisted of one very close friend. Several decently close friends. But it was only with the one friend I felt comfortable enough to reveal the full ramifications of my uniqueness.
I felt safe with her. I still do.
We’re still friends today and I adore her beyond words. And I still feel safe with her enough to reveal the deepest parts of my soul. That doesn’t happen with very many people for me—ever. As a matter of fact, I could likely count on one hand those closest to me in my inner circle that has a true grasp on all my messy glory.
I don’t know who said that people are never against you, they are for themselves. On some level that is fully and wholly correct. But there is a place where only a few dare tread. They lift a middle finger to the world, get the neck tattoo, and continue about their merry way.
I like those people.
Often times I wonder if I’ll ever find that place where I “fit”. The thought is immediately intercepted with the thought of “why would you want to?” And so I remain happily on the fringe finding a bit of my own tribe there.
I had a wonderful dinner recently with my beloved and his friends. They all ride dirt bikes. Even the chicks. Which makes them quite cool in my opinion. But I was lost in the conversation. What do I know about mixing oil and gas when you are riding a two-stroke. Maybe the fact that I now know you mix oil and gas for a two-stroke gains me some points. Maybe the fact that I even know what a two-stroke is. But alas, for the most part, I sat quietly, drinking the amazing margaritas from one of my favorite little places peering over the shoulders of our dining companions and noticing any recent MLB trades popping up on the TV.
Is it common knowledge that makes you feel a kinship with other human beings?
Because I don’t think I lack knowledge. The problem with me is that I know a lot of things that would only serve me when playing trivia. I’ll tell you right now if you are playing trivia, you want me on your team. Because I know a lot of shit about a lot of things. None of which makes me any money.
I know things like, how many stitches are in a baseball. I know that when I was a teenager Tip O-Neill was the speaker of the House. And I can name all the speakers since. I can tell you the first person to grace the cover of Playboy. And I can happily spew Kerouac quotes at you until you want to punch me in the face.
I can also tell you this–that you don’t ever have to be accepted to feel accepted. Truth be told, the only acceptance that truly matters is that which burns in the center of your own soul. You give it to yourself.
Loving and accepting yourself is a life-long pursuit for many. Myself included. I’ll falter now and again, desperately wanting that love and acceptance but reel myself back in and focus on what I can control, which is me. And only me.
And…it’s ok to be the odd person out. As a matter of fact, it’s kind of an honor because it means you are strong enough to do it.
Oh, and one last thing.
There are 108 double stitches in a baseball. 216 single stitches. The first and last stitches are hidden. It’s sewn by hand with 88 inches of waxed red thread. So if common knowledge makes kindred spirits, now you and I are friends.
And I am grateful.