Friday, March 23, 2012

As It Has Never Been Seen Before

The above phrase has been somewhat overused, especially in the entertainment world. Over the years, countless movies and television shows, and even a few video games and books, have promised to show you something (or, in some cases, someone) "as you have never seen it [or him/her] before." Whether or not said media delivered on that guarantee is a matter of one's opinion and life experience. When something is that way, though, it usually isn't easily forgotten.
Most of you reading this know that I have always liked to do things my way, which has caused friction between me and some authority figures, usually teachers. A perfect example is elementary and middle school art class, where the kind of art I wanted to do was not the kind of art I was supposed to do. All of the art I grew up with either moved and made noise, such as CD-ROM games and animatronic dinosaurs, or had printed words that went with it, such as comic strips and picture books. For that reason, I did not know how to make art that was simply a picture. Additional problems were caused because I couldn't refrain from putting an allusion to one of my favorite things, which ranged from Scooby-Doo to Pokémon/Nintendo to computer games to dc Talk to Hoyle Board Games even Weakest Link, in my artwork. Very little of the other students' artwork I saw had such allusions. You can imagine that my art teachers and I regularly clashed over all that, and that's part of why I never took any sort of art class, even computer art, after seventh grade. That, combined with my lack of artistic ability, was probably why my artwork was never once hung up on the schools' walls. (Yes, my training in Web Design did require some making some pictures, but those weren't "art classes," in my opinion.)
Throughout my school years, most of the projects I got good grades on were ones that allowed for freedom. I didn't mind a few rules, but ones that had a bazillion strict requirements drove me nuts. For example, I've always liked science, but the science fair projects all us middle and high schoolers had to do were mostly nothing more than a thorn in my side, if only because of strange rules, such as having to refer to yourself as "the student" instead of using a personal pronoun such as "I" or "me". Yet, in sixth grade, when I had to make a model of an atom using whatever materials I wanted, I got an A-plus. Yes, that project did have rules; the model needed to be labeled, and ignorance of that requirement caused many of my classmates to get grades as low as C's, even when their model was well-constructed.
Nowadays, when I do or make something, unless it's something someone else has asked me to do/make, it's pretty much up to me how it ends up. When I have that freedom, I usually buck tradition in a way that most people have never seen. One such example is last Christmas, when I made cards via PrintMaster on my laptop to give/send to my friends. Most people don't give computer-generated printed cards to others in the first place; I've only known four people, two of which were my parents, who have ever done that, and three of those people, including my folks, only did it sparingly, yet I've been doing it at least somewhat regularly since 1995. However, the biggest difference was the picture on the front. Most Christmas cards have Nativity scenes, wintry landscapes, family portraits, elaborately decorated trees, Santa Clauses, cutesy cartoons, etc., on them...but mine had a picture of Victoria Justice holding a Christmas present. At least some of the friends who I gave the cards to said that they had never received one quite like it, and I was proud of that. In fact, I prefer making cards for any occasion on Print Shop and/or PrintMaster than buying them from Hallmark, just because a card lovingly crafted on a computer feels more heartfelt than just purchasing one at Hallmark and scribbling a signature on it. I'm sure some of my friends who do paper crafting (are you reading this, Lorie?) feel the same way about the cards they make.
It isn't just greeting cards, though; I always have done things like no one else, which is why this blog is called "Siobhan Thinks Differently". Everyone who has known me, no matter their opinion of me, has known me for being an original in pretty much every way. Yes, that has made certain people very critical of me; many people have taken society's rules about what someone of my age, gender, and/or heritage "should" be doing so seriously, you'd think they were Biblical commandments or federal laws. They wanted me to, as the High School Musical tune says, "stick to the status quo," but I almost always refused; I was not going to subscribe to the mob mentality, usually because such thinking and/or actions didn't work for me. Some people went entirely too far in their attempts to get me to do what "everyone else" was supposedly doing; I remember one inescapable individual who made unkind remarks about others we both knew that I won't even begin to repeat on here just to get me to take swimming lessons or do something else that went completely against my tastes. Such talk, even when I think of it now, smacked way too much of manipulation, and that's why I refused to give in to that person's demands. An older friend once told me, "This world doesn't know what to do with originals, [Siobhan]." That's very true; I honestly wonder if the denizens of this planet will ever know what to do with people like me.
Apparently, being the way I am has made me rather unforgettable; I remember an instance some years ago when I was in my local shopping mall with my brother-in-law and saw a guy who was a summer school classmate months prior to that, but whom I hadn't seen since until that moment. That classmate didn't say much to me, so I told my brother-in-law that he must have forgotten me. My brother-in-law immediately replied, "[Siobhan], how could anyone forget you?" Several others have said essentially the same thing, and I'm actually proud of that; if being an original makes me hard to forget, then, I say, that's great. It's their choice whether or not they accept me; those who chose to have said that those who haven't are seriously missing out.
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