Monday, August 19, 2013

An Outcast...Like Always

My experience was NOT this idyllic!
Many of you reading this probably went through kindergarten, though it was so long ago that you probably remember very little of it.  I know not everyone went through it, though, because my mom said that she never went to it; back when she was a kid, it wasn't required like it is now.  Those of you who are parents probably either remember your child(ren)'s first day of school, or are already preparing them--and yourself--for it.  I actually remember kindergarten to a degree; that's what happens when you have a better-than-usual memory.  What do I remember most about it? Simple: I didn't want to be there.  I already knew everything that I was supposed to be "learning," and my teacher was rather aloof and unkind.  After the first day, I told my mom that I had learned everything I needed to know and didn't need to go back.  From what I hear, that's a somewhat common response; however, I said it because I didn't want to go back.  Since I was advanced for my age, my teacher ended up putting me by myself a lot, if only because, as she told my mom in a conference, she "just [didn't] know what to do with" me.  My mom has always said that the main reason for kindergarten is to learn social skills...but, how can one learn those when he is always put by himself?

Though that was a long time ago, it seems that people never have known exactly what to do with me.  Some of my other teachers have despised me; in fact, one seemingly got fired because she didn't follow my Individualized Education Plan.  I had a lot of trouble making friends in school, if only because my tastes in things were different than that of my peers, yet I was very vocal about what/who I liked.  Even some adults I used to know as a kid just didn't seem to understand me, and it was a source of strife for us and others.

What's funniest about this image is that this cat looks just like mine!
Being different, which everyone already knows is one of my signature traits, makes it quite hard to get along in many situations.  For example, most people love dogs; either they have one or more and love it/them, or they wish they had one, but they can't because they're allergic, their landlord won't allow it, they can't afford to keep one, etc.  Those who don't like dogs usually are scared to death of them and/or have been brutally attacked by a vicious one in the past.  However, neither of those are true in my case...yet, I still don't like dogs.  Sure, they're cute on TV and in movies; in fact, I've been a fan of the Garfield comic strip, which is very pet-focused, all my life.  Other famous fictional pets I've liked were Scooby-Doo and the unnamed terrier on the short-lived sitcom Complete Savages.  I can even take real-life pets in small doses.  However, I don't want to be around one for prolonged amounts of time, and I definitely don't want to own one.  When people hear that, though, it's usually offensive.   They don't just wonder how could I not like dogs; they wonder how anyone couldn't like them.

Preferences aren't just on computers!
The same is true for not only my other dislikes, but also many of my likes: What kind of guy doesn't like sports? Who over the age of fifteen cares about anything on Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel? Who under the age of thirty chooses to read a book for fun? How could any young adult choose not to watch "R" films; is that not a privilege of being our age, one that kids and young teenagers don't have? Still, when people have argued against such beliefs of mine, they have never been able to convince me.  Some people present it respectfully, yet I still disagree; others try to use harassment and personal attacks, in which case they've essentially forfeited their argument from the get-go.  Some folks have told me I should consider looking into sports; at the very least, checking out the scores and the highlights from each "big game".  The fact that I am happy when a victorious team makes my friends happy is a step in the right direction, I'll admit; still, I can't get too involved with such matters because...well, it isn't me.  My preferences in pretty much everything are one of the things that make me who I am; take them away, and you don't have me anymore.

It's the truth!
You may be thinking, " can you live in such a way? Don't you want to have friends to hang out with, to talk to, and to do stuff with?" First off, to assume I don't have any friends is incorrect; I have friends I go places with fairly often.  Are they around my age? No...but why should that matter? Having a designated "age range" for your friends is rather unkind, not to mention judgmental.  Not only that, but, as a Christian, one is required to take a narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14), which may include avoiding "popular" things if you know they're not good for you.  Prolonged exposure to pets frustrates me; sports, especially American football, are too slow-moving for me; I rarely forget entertainment, so, if I saw a sex comedy or horror movie, I'd still remember parts of it, even a decade or two later; and, taking away Disney Channel from me would be like taking away one's significant other: I could survive, but I'd be very bitter against the person/people responsible, especially if I had any reason to believe that he/she/they did it with ill intent, and I would still want it back.  (Seriously, that's how important it is to me!)  My friends understand that, regardless of how they feel about whoever and whatever, and respect it; anyone who doesn't shouldn't even be my friend in the first place.

Still, sometimes I wonder who my friends really are.  It's not that I fear that someone who I've trusted for quite a while will suddenly turn against me and start plotting to kill me; it's that I sometimes wonder if those who I consider friends are just merely being polite, and actually despise me for whatever reason.  I've had people tell me multiple times that they would confirm my friend request on Facebook, only to just keep it pending for a long time.  (To me, "social lying" is just that: lying, and, therefore, wrong.)  Other times, it seems that people would rather not interact with me, and only talk to me because I walked up to them and said something, or called/instant messaged them for whatever reason.  True, some of that may be because people are busy, or have more immediate pressing concerns; still, sometimes, I wonder if it isn't because they'd just rather not be bothered.  People have described me as "outgoing"; I think I can be a little too much that way, even bordering on audacious at times.

Whatever the case, though I do have some very good friends--who are hopefully among the ones reading this--I still often feel like the singer of Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams": "I walk a lonely road; the only one that I have ever known!"  I've always been a bit of an extrovert: wanting to meet and talk to people, no matter where I am.  Maybe my problems wouldn't be as bad if I were to keep to myself more; that way, I wouldn't be tempted to go to the extent of forcing myself on others, as I have been known to do sometimes.  The fact that I am unable to drive limits my social interaction quite a bit; that actually may be a Godsend.  Though I enjoy talking to people, it has led me into trouble quite a few times; maybe I should be more cautious about who I'm talking to, what I talk about, and when/where I do talk.  It's hard not having that much social interaction, but, God never promised life would be easy!

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