Tuesday, January 12, 2010
SOMEONE IS BOUND TO LABEL ME WEIRD NO MATTER WHAT
Halloween is my favorite holiday because I can be weird!
Sure I’m a healthy girl. But I have an affliction. An affliction you have never heard of. An affliction so chronic, I can’t seem get rid of it. There is no cure for it. No one is running marathons to raise awareness and find a cure for it either. You are born with it and it’ll stay with you until the day you die. My affliction is WEIRD.
I used to sit by some very “untouchable” girls in junior high lunch period. What I mean by untouchable was that they were neither popular, weird, burnout, geeky, or slutty. No one picked on them. They looked average-- the girls next door who kept out of the spotlight. I thought I was safe sitting with them. But eventually one of them would blurt out to me or someone else that I was weird. Like this other quiet girl I sat with at the cafeteria in ninth grade. She kept out of the spotlight and hung out with friends who weren’t picked on but not the talk of the girl’s room either. I thought if I sat like her, acted like her, even mimicked her faces, my weirdness would become extinct. One day we sat quietly while “Lauren” was writing a letter to her other unnoticeable, noncontroversial best friend. I couldn’t help but peek at the words as she was expressing how she hated lunchtime. She said she wanted to die. I kind of felt bad that she was feeling such pain. Why didn’t she share that with me? The next words she wrote answered that question. “And Nona, she is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo totally weird.” The “o”’s filled the whole one line of the loose leaf paper. It ripped my heart out. It signified her having a strong emotion and opinion about me.
She said, “I had never met a person ever in my life that was anything like you.”
Weird? How was I weird? Here I’m working my ass off trying not to be weird. I followed the crowd, from wearing rock shirts and stone washed jeans (this was the ‘80s), writing rock groups on my three ring binders, even buying the in-style sunglasses. It was a 24 hour job. Always on the alert. Stress! My eyes and ears were working overtime. My brain was doing double power. But someone seemed to notice something in me that wasn’t like everyone else. It pained me and sometimes I just wanted to give up. I wanted to be that girl no one could make fun of. That no one bullied if I had blurted a socially inept remark, not on purpose. I wanted to feel safe and comfortable and racked my brain to figure out ways to do it. And then eventually I threw the towel in. In college it was a different world. There was still immaturity but the cliques were vague and people focused on other things more important than picking a person to make fun of, or calling them weird. Like hooking up. Except for this one time. I was living next door to someone in the dorm who had made a comment about me to my face which was so profound. She was from Massapequa, Long Island and she was blunt. Her comment wasn’t negative nor positive, but potentially factual. She said, “I had never met a person ever in my life that was anything like you.”
(Part 2 coming next week)