Sunday, 1 December 2013

Am a I contrarian or just weird?

I'm having a quiet day at home today; playing on the computer and waiting for some packages to be delivered.  It means that I am engaging in more discussions in the various Facebook groups of which I am a member and over and over I find myself taking a position different from the majority of other respondents.

Here's an example - A woman asked advice regarding a person she was dating who texted that she might be going to prison... this in the US...  Comment after comment said "RUN" and I agree that will probably be the most appropriate course of action but I just can't help writing about how harsh the justice system can be in the US, and that there may be extenuating circumstances, and that everyone would have responded differently if the post had come from the woman who might be going to prison, in the form of something like "I might have to go to prison soon because on top of having made some bad mistakes when I was a kid I also got caught shoplifting at Walmart last year when I lost my job and had no money for food for the kids."   I really struggle with blanket assumptions and snap judgments... in fact I struggle with judgments in most forms.  I just think things aren't black and white and that the shades of grey really deserve our attention too.  I can't get away from the idea that there but for the grace of Herbert go I.  Who hasn't done stupid things and had a lucky escape?  I know I have.  I think I have written before about stones and the sayings about people in glass houses and also people without sin...

I have never, in my life, felt like I fitted in anywhere.  Just briefly in the mid to late 80's when I had a fairly good collection of lesbian friends I thought maybe I had found my place but over time it dawned on me that a shared sexual orientation is NOT sufficient reason to be friends.  At school I was tormented in spite of my greatest efforts to fit in and be like the girls around me.  I was emotionally and physically attacked repeatedly without fighting back.  My mother subscribed to the theory that you "Never let them know they have hurt you.  Don't give them the satisfaction." and I tried very hard to live by that advice but I am not made of the same stern stuff as my mother, I'm just too easily wounded.  Ultimately I realized that my mother was wrong because when the girls saw that they had hurt me they backed off.  I even had a very strange experience where I overheard one of my tormentors, who had been picked on that day, asking a teacher "Why can't I be more like Displaced, she never lets them hurt her?"  It was a surreal experience sitting silent in a toilet cubicle while this girl cried to our teacher.  She never knew I overheard that and she never knew just how much their taunts and jabs had hurt me.  My school days were spent with an odd collection of other misfits who were not like me but who also wanted to have friends even though we shared little except our exclusion from the other cliques.  It wasn't until the last year or so of school that I became friends with "The Best Friend" and started to gain a little acceptance from the maturing "popular girls".  TexLOML was there then and used to say that one of the things she liked about me is that I was "quirky".  Of course I didn't know that until we got together.

I'm not a "girly girl" and I don't fit really well with women who are straight...  I'm not really butch or femme and I struggle with fitting in with lesbians...  Men seem a little distant, I'm not femmy enough for most gay men and I'm a bit challenging for most straight men.  I'm, as I said in a recent Facebook post, a butch handy princess.

This island, where I live, has been described as the place where people who can't deal with the real world come.  That is a harsh and broad description (though there are a lot of people here with mental health issues - of whom, in the broadest sense, I am one).  I would prefer to say that it is a colony made up of a larger percentage of odds and sods than most places.  This means it is a bit of an echo of my group of misfit friends from school.  The people here are mostly accepting of difference, and friendly, but that only goes so far and really being part of any of the circles takes a LONG time!

I think everyone likes to think they are unique and different.  I can look at the most "ordinary" or "normal" person and they themselves will say that they are "crazy" or "odd".  Maybe it is just part of the human condition to see our own eccentricity and individualism as bizarre or extraordinary?  Maybe in this way I am EXACTLY like the other lemmings?  Yet still I never fit.  I don't even fit in with my family!  I don't know whether there is anything to be said for star signs or not but I do know that I find Sagittarians wonderful and scary and that I have been surrounded by them all my life...  My mother, one brother, my step-mother and step-sister, my sister-in-law, The Boy's father, my grand-father... this in a very small family!  They have cropped up with monotonous regularity in my friendships and even once as a lover.  The Boy is a Leo which is not very different.  My family is full of charming, tactless, people who stomp unwittingly all over my poor, vulnerable, little Cancer heart.  I know that my lesson in life is something that I need to learn from the Sags otherwise why would so many be in my path?



This is probably all on my mind because I have been a little lonely lately.  Not much has been happening in my social life while others are "so busy!" including TexLOML.  She and I are back on good terms (thank Herbert) but she's still not ready for us to hang out together or for me to be included in her social engagements.  Since Mah Jong on Wednesday night I have been home alone every evening (it is now Monday).  I don't mind my own company but it isn't good for me to have too much time hiding in my cave (with the air-con on costing a fortune I bet!).  I have really put it out there that I want to be more social and there isn't much else I can do short of approaching strangers and asking if they want to have a drink with me LOL.  I don't work so the impact of all this solitude is amplified.  I am thinking I might do some volunteer work...  I just need to think about that idea for a bit longer before I will move on it.  Another reason this might be exaggerated is that I have pretty much furnished the house and also run out of money so I am not getting that shopping therapy I was accessing for a few weeks.

Back to the initial point...  I'm really not sure why I have to clang a note so different from the herd...  It might have something to do with not being very black and white about things.  I always see so many simultaneous sides to every issue... It must make me look wishy washy but I'm not really indecisive or vague...  I just always want to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Except right wing politicians, religious extremists, and corporate rapists they get no leeway!


11 comments:

  1. I'm sorry that my response can't be something original, but what resonated loudly as I read your heartfelt words was something I wrote about 10 years ago:

    Picture a person who stands apart from the crowd who sees things not in black or white, but in varying shades of gray. Picture a person who closes their eyes and hears the beat of a different drummer, then marches proudly and eagerly away to do their own thing regardless of the consequences or popular opinion. Picture a person who is not a polished gem, but a diamond in the rough…someone who believes true beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and that the best things in life are free. When I picture this person, I see myself. Who do you see?

    After reading your blog post, I think I can say you see yourself, too. Being different can and often times does make a person experience loneliness many times throughout their lives. It seems like every time I feel the loneliest and that being different is a horrid curse, some kindred spirit always finds their way to the same spot I rest upon and makes me smile.

    So with an outstretched hand and a smile on my face, I'd like to welcome you to the group!

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    1. Thank you Mildred - I see myself in some of your words except that I don't proudly and eagerly do my own thing... I struggle and try to be accepted and the thing I need to accept is that I'm never going to fit!
      Thank you for your friendship - the communion with those I "meet" through this medium does make a difference and I am grateful to be included in "the group"!

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    2. So now that we have that figured out, stop trying to be accepted in places where there is no acceptance. Go to the place or places that will embrace you for who you really are. There are real people who try very hard not to judge. Those are the ones who will accept you no matter what.

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    3. But Mildred, how do you find those people?

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  2. Displaced, there is no such thing as 'normal'. :-) I know where you're coming from, I'm a misfit too. I went through hell at school wishing I was 'normal' and you know what? I envied you. Yes, you. You had the confidence and wit to stand up and say what you were thinking in class discussions and debates; by the time I'd thought out what I was going to say, somebody else had already said it, and you with your quick mind were usually one of the first. I could never and still can't think on my feet like that (which is why I take my time writing instead). Not to mention your (then) athletic ability, of which I had zero.

    You're still that same brilliant person with that same brilliant mind and quick wit. If people can't see that it's their loss. You're kind-hearted and able to see more than one side to most questions and debates (except those stated in your last sentence of your post LOL!!). I hope that living on your 'island of misfits' you'll finally find some kind of acceptance for being the fantastic woman you are and being yourself on your own. Being a small community it'll probably take twenty years (!). I'm glad you and TexLOYL are getting on better; hopefully you'll soon be able to go to the same social events without too much tension, and you'll be accepted as part of the social scene on the island.

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    1. I was thinking about you as I wrote that stuff about school... I knew you would get it. We grew apart in secondary school - I hope I was never cruel or mean. I always remembered you as a friend. You were so quiet and self contained and I was always such a target with my smart arse remarks and my impatience with other peoples speed in catching on. I always knew how smart you were even when it wasn't vocalized. You were never left behind. I'm a friendly person but I find it hard to make friends. Thanks for remembering who I used to be :)

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    2. You were never cruel or mean… we, sadly, just didn't talk any more like we used to. I was quiet because firstly I was shy and secondly hated school so much that I didn't dare open my mouth and say something that could get me a detention. Loathed the idea of an extra minute spent in that place let alone an extra hour, LOL!

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  3. That was a great post, Displaced! It reminded me of how having a shared disability is not adequate grounds for a friendship, and how physical attraction is not adequate grounds for a marriage.

    It's strange how we perceive ourselves as freaks, when we always seem to perceive our family situations as normal, even if they are unorthodox.

    Love from your favourite armless left-footed redhead :)

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    1. Kerry you are my favourite armed left-footed redhead too! Thanks for your comment and yes it is exactly the same as a shared disability not being a good enough reason for friendship! Love to you too!

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