18 November, 2012

Self: realization, appreciation.

I spent so many years of my life trying to repress pieces of myself, depriving myself of things I wanted, or wanted to do, in order to try and seem 'normal' or fit in better. Not always, really, because my family, God bless them, is full of weirdos and crazies, and it's part of what makes them so spectacular, but when we were apart and I was with other people, I wanted to fit in. To seem cool.

And even though I grew out of it years ago, I think, at times, there are still little things I do without even noticing. Like it became almost second nature to me, to adopt these habits and make them my own because it's what the normal people did.

It irks me when I notice them. I get mad at myself, because knowing what I know now, how little all those things really matter in the grand scheme of life, I'd take them back if I could. I'd be my weird, crazy self, every single day of every single year. I'd wear what I wanted, and cut my hair strange, and dance like an idiot in public...more than I already did. I mean, I couldn't hide my true self all the time. I can think of some really awesome moments in time that probably would have embarrassed normal people, that are treasured memories to me. Like the time I dressed as an old lady and sat in a wheelchair in a Fredericks of Hollywood.  Or the fact that I took my 6th grade school picture with bells in my hair.

There were also things I had no control over, that may have bothered others, but did not faze my family one bit. Like when our house flooded? We lived in a hotel for a week, then came home, pulled up the carpet, and lived with concrete floors. We also put everything (literally, y'all; EVERYTHING) into huge plastic bins, and the next time it flooded, we were fine. (Well, minus the fact that turning on a light or fan would lead to being shocked. That was an adventure in itself, though.)

I can't say that I was ever embarrassed, though. I think it was more of a feeling that I should be. I can remember one incident in particular; I was in second grade, and we had just moved from Edinburg to Eagle Lake. I had started school not knowing anyone, and not ever having attended a public school. A cousin of mine was in the same class, but I still didn't really know him, only that we were related. Anyway, one day in the first week of classes, we had music class. Our teacher played some music and we were instructed to dance. Now, I had been taking ballet classes from the time I was 2½, so I danced. Almost immediately I noticed that everyone else was just standing in place and kind of...shaking. After almost kicking the kid next to me in the head, and realizing that even the teacher was staring, it occurred to me that no one was actually expected to dance. I think that was one of the first times there was a full on realization that I was different.

Now that I look back at it, I know that it wasn't just the dancing that made me different; it was how self-aware I was, even at seven. I know I've talked before about how it can be hard for me to differentiate between the knowledge I possessed at the time of particular incidents, and the knowledge I have now, but that memory is quite clear. I remember feeling like I should be embarrassed, but I wasn't. I was sad for everyone else, because I thought to myself, "they've never had ballet lessons!" I didn't dance like that again, not because I cared what anyone thought but because I was worried about crashing into someone else, since they didn't seem to move.

And it is that sentiment that followed me for years; I'd do something, act a certain way, or say something, and then realize that I was getting funny looks. And so, I learned what kind of actions are normal, and acceptable, and what kind will lead to people thinking you're weird. What's strange to me, though, is that it was public schools that were harder to fit into. You would think that private schools are full of snobby kids, but honestly, that's where I thrived. It was second grade, fifth grade, and junior high that really threw me for a loop. By high school, though, I'd found my niche (theater), and the kids who accepted you as you were.

I am really glad, though, that I can appreciate all the random adventures that I had growing up. Like the time the 'Poop Lady' was trying to open our screen door, yelling for matches, and my mom and I had to hide behind the (open) front door until she left. Or the time my aunt almost got bit by a rattlesnake because my dad brought a live one home (in a bag) and she didn't believe him. Getting attacked by a baby cougar...in my own living room; that's one of my favorites, actually, strange though it may seem. The time I had a friend sleeping over, and we ate cereal in the dark, and when I went back to the kitchen I realized that the cereal was full of ants. (They still don't know, to this day.) Falling through a chair while I was chasing a chicken crocodile and pretending to be Steve Irwin. 

So this is me. Strange. Bi-polar. Addicted to expensive sunglasses, but won't pay full price for clothes. I'm bad at geography, but I love Egyptology, paleontology, forensic psychology, and nutrition. I'm messy but I like structure and for things to be even. Apparently, my pronunciation of 'Charlotte' is weird. I can't click my heels but I insist on trying anytime I jump off a curb. I like love classical music. I don't cuss. I'm about 85% sure I have Misophonia, which I believe makes my social anxiety and going out in public that much worse. I have been known to collect random animal bones I find in the woods. (Or you know, anywhere.) I cry for no reason sometimes. I cry for every reason other times. My brother is my hero; always has been, always will be. I'm scared of crickets and vacuum cleaners, but will pick up any spider without a second thought. I have what I call an audiographic memory; in that it is eidetic as far as sounds are concerned. I love animals, but also enjoy wearing real fur. I used to be tall for my age; that stopped around 4th grade. I wore a vintage, non-prom-like dress to prom. I talk to my pets, and treat them like my kids. I don't want kids. Not any, not ever. I don't like settling. Some days I want to buy a house, but it's mostly because I want to paint, and decorate. I really prefer the freedom of being able to move wherever, whenever I want. When I like a song, really like a song, I can listen to it over and over and over and over without getting tired of it.

Here are documentations of some of the aforementioned ventures, along with a couple of other treasures...enjoy!

And proof that it runs in the family...

The End. Have a great Sunday!

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