Friday, April 15, 2011

The Outsider's Manifesto

It's not really a manifesto, I'm being grandiose.

I observe children a lot.  Not only do I have my own, but I work in a building full of them.   I appreciate a lot of qualities kids have that society hasn't squashed out of them yet.  Young ones are a bit too honest for most people, they don't have much of a filter and I'm often surprised to hear them say things that I'd be an asshole for saying myself.  That is a mark in their favor in my book.  They live in the moment and haven't forgotten how to have fun.  Stupid shit either doesn't matter at all or matters way too much, mostly it depends on how much sleep they got the night before.  Hmmm, I guess that sounds familiar.  Every once in a while you meet a kid that is the obvious outsider, you can see that not only do their teachers and peers know it, but they are utterly aware of it themselves.    

I was that kid.   It sucked at the time.  I would imagine blossoming into a large bosomed bombshell with a genius IQ and such a dizzying array of talents that I was hands down the most sought after lady on the planet.   I indulged in this fantasy for one reason alone.  Because I wanted to be happy, and in my young perception of happiness, acceptance from others seemed to be critical to the goal.   

Fast forward three decades or so.  As I gaze down at where my heaving cleavage ought to be, I see that my dreams did not entirely come true….not in that way.   I'm happy regardless.  This is not because I found acceptance from other people.  It is because I gained the sight to see that I don't really want it or need it.   I have the ability to adapt to whatever environment I'm catapulted into pretty easily, that is a plus for me.  However, it still leaves me hovering on the fringes, nothing much more than a keen observer in any given situation.  

Thing is, I'm more than fine with that.   I embrace my role as outsider, mainly because I know that I'm so diverse in my tastes and opinions that I'm just too damn awesome to be pigeonholed into any category comfortably, not because there is anything wrong with me.  It works for me, I'm pleased as punch with my little place in the world.

I'm the nicest woman you'd hate to fuck with.  I live my life in a middle class Southern suburban environment by a philosophy and set of ethics that would inspire any self respecting housewife to run straight to church, just in case my mindset is catching.   Fellow parents and co-workers never know what to really make of me and my old party friends think I've been in a bore coma for the past decade.  My favorite things range from classical ballet to MMA.   I love skulls and granny shawls... my tattoos tend to be covered by expensive jeans and semi conservative attire these days.  Two of my favorite books are 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Talking with Serial Killers'.   You get the idea.    Hence, the word 'juxtapose' is dear to me.   It's not that any of these things are really unique on their own, it's the fact that they all must stand cohesively together to encapsulate who I am.  

Even amongst groups I run in that pride themselves on not being part of the herd, I will never be a part of the 'in crowd'.  I will never be popular, universally loved or even understood much… regardless of what circle I'm in.  Not one person in my life will ever know me as well as they seem to think they do, I will forever possess the ability to shock the hell out of all of them if I simply decided to do so.  The beauty of this is that I wouldn't have it any other way.   I have come to accept that not one friend will 'get' everything about me, they will mainly just love me for the part that drew them in.  I'll take it.  That is reality, and as an adult, I prefer to deal in what 'is' rather than what I'd like.   Just so happens that I like it just fine, too.   Besides, it makes it all the sweeter when you meet someone in the crowd that can appreciate the outsider enough to want to get to know more.  Those are the few worth having around, I'll take a handful of them over throngs of superficial acquaintances any day of the week.  

I look at that kid who doesn't know how to make things ok for themselves just yet.  It's hard living in a system that doesn't celebrate the individual, but rather rewards conformity.  I'd love to tell that child to embrace their layers, that they should be so grateful to be wired completely opposite of the one dimensional aspect of their peers.  I wouldn't have believed it myself, it's a journey people have to make on their own.   The most I can usually do is smile and nod in a conspiratory fashion when I know they need it.  If memory serves, that can make all the difference when you're living in a sea of those that will never understand.    


  1. You need to write for a magazine or something....seriously!

  2. Oh, that's an over the top compliment…. but I may wish it to be true if I don't stop wasting time on this instead of all the paperwork I'm supposed to be doing for work.