Monday, April 06, 2009
I'm such a wierdo, and I think that's cool
"Dude, Where Am I?"
I've been told that the look on my face was unforgettable: sheer shock and confusion. I was wide-eyed and quiet. This question seems to be weaved into my thinking pattern, as I often feel out-of-sync with most of the world.
How long have I felt like an unusual person? I guess it first started in Kindergarten, the first time I stood next to a group of children my age. I was so tall and skinny. Like a bony giant, I towered over my classmates. As I grew I noticed that my actions and feelings seemed to single me out, more so than my looks. I was very sympathetic and sensitive. Watching another kid get picked on bothered me so much. Before I could imagine the consequences, I'd be stepping in the middle, or sitting in the empty seat beside the loner. I was the community lawyer. My sentence was often persecution by association. Children can be cruel. I came from a home where I was special and treasured. I didn't understand the aggressive behavior of some children.
In Elementary school I loved bugs. I saved their lives in our family pool with the net. One day I found a praying mantis with a crushed leg in the playground. I wrapped it in a napkin and carried it toward my classroom. I believed that my teacher would know how to help it. I thought this bug was beautiful; it fascinated me. In my overactive child's imagination, its head was almost human. I got as far as the blacktop, where children were lining up to meet the teachers. Someone spotted the bug in my hands and the next thing I knew I was on the bottom of a pile of kids. I got pushed to the ground trying to protect the bug and my face hit the blacktop. I was OK, but the praying mantis was smashed. I did not cry until I was walking home from the bus stop because I didn't want anyone to see me get upset. Who ever heard of a little girl who loved bugs? I felt so out-of-place.
I remember the day the social table turned for me. I was about fifteen. It was a scorching summer afternoon and I ran barefoot from my pool to catch the Mr. Softy truck. I forgot a towel and I was dripping wet on the pavement. I had tunnel vision for vanilla/chocolate swirl soft serve with rainbow sprinkles. (Some things never change.) I turned around and there was a line of boys behind me, silent. Beyond them, I could see more waving to me from the porch of a neighbor's house. My hair was pasted to my head like a pile of brown seaweed, but I smiled ear to ear. In an instant, I was hot. "I'm so not ready for this." I thought, running back to my driveway. Dating was not high on my priority list. I just wanted to eat my ice cream and be left alone.
I think that as adults, we carry every phase of our development, and all the associated feelings, with us throughout our journey through life. I still feel confused by popular attitudes and behavior. I still feel out of place in my actions, and feelings. What has changed now is that I have realized that I don't have to conform. All I have to do is be Loren and be brave. Where I am right now is at home in my own skin.
Today my life is hectic and it's zooming past me. I find myself still wondering where the heck I am, but not in the same ways I did in the past. It turns out that I am exactly where I should be. I often pray that I will be strong enough to continue facing life, as frightening and strange as it may seem. I like being Loren, even if I do get smashed occasionally.
Picture is from Yahoo Images of a Praying Mantis
Dear Internet Traveler,
Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.