Monday, April 06, 2009

I'm such a wierdo, and I think that's cool

If I could have spoken when I was born my first words would have been something like:

"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


Kimberly Zook said...

I loved bugs too! I still love them. But gosh, what a hard experience you had with the praying mantis. I carried bugs around at recess with me too and on family vacations I took photos of bugs on the monuments, but not the monuments themselves. I wonder if a lot of writers have some odd querks or bugs to them from their childhood that set them apart and because of that we became skilled at observations! Great post! Thank you :)

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I've never felt like I fit anywhere either. Most of the time I feel proud of being so unique, but then sometimes I wish I fit in somewhere. I did feel like I fit in with the homeschooling community but my decision to send my kids to school lost me most of my so-called friends. The blogging community really helps with a sense of belonging. I'm so glad I know you! And, I think most writers are a little bit weird because we are so unusually introspective, and extremely observative, and sensitive both for ourselves and others, and many of us leave ourselves open like a book.

Brenda Jean said...

I remember the first time my kids found a neighbor kid smashing a spider in the garden, and were horrified because we loved watching them make webs and had always talked about how they were garden helpers.

I've never fit in either, and spent a lot of my life trying to MAKE myself fit in. It's only been since I just decided to just be myself that I started feeling comfortable. Being unique is a good thing:)

Putz said...

i always liked the quiet studious girls in science club that always could wow me by making a concoction in one of their test tubes...five were in my high school science club when i was in france and one was a italian catholic girl named carol tytaskiss...i think her father was muslim and not italian...all on her mother's side, but did she know her catholic theology...i was very much in love with her by the way

Loren Christie said...

Thank you for the very thoughtful comments. I didn't know other little girls liked bugs. Brenda, I have to admit that if a biting spider or mosquito is inside my home it is history. I'm allergic to some common spiders. As far as being studious and quiet, well, I was not that quiet. Math and science were NOT my strong subjects. I was a strong writer and good at critical thinking, so I excelled in English and social studies. I went to public schools, but my Catholic faith was very strong thanks to the direction of my parents, and some nuns who gave me service opportunites.

Anonymous said...

Bugs are cool and gals who think bugs are cool are cool too!


Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

My older girls liked bugs but as you know the toddler hates them! I always thought all Long Island spiders were non-poisonous until my mom watched me "save" one but putting it outside. She cleared me of my misconceptions.

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.


Loren Christie

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