Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You've Got It; I Want It! (Wait...Do I?)

If they can have it...why can't I?
From around 1996 to 2000, the most common four-word phrase out of my mouth was "all the other kids".  When I wanted my mom to buy me something, or to take me/let me go somewhere, my appeal was that "all the other kids" got to have whatever or go to wherever.  Of course, I knew I had no idea what every coeval individual around the planet was doing, but I believed that every person around my age that I knew, whether from school, church, Scouting, my neighborhood, or elsewhere, got that privilege and I didn't.  The same was true when I was required to do something I would rather have not had to do: "All the other kids" didn't have to do it, so...why should I?

However, that all changed because of two personal experiences in 2000, though the realization took place later.  The first one involved a fellow Cub Scout who had wanted to lead our patrol on a weekend camp-out, but didn't win the election.  He ended up proving he was not leader material when he had three separate meltdowns that Saturday.  One was during a box maze; another was on a rope bridge; and, the "grand finale" was at our campsite, which was because he was "homesick."  Never at any other point in my life have I ever been happier that someone I voted for did not win.  He apparently thought he could do anything else the other Scouts could do, but he was wrong.  Later that year, I was attending a sports day camp at a local Baptist church with another Cub Scouting buddy, and was able to ride there and back with him and his family...until the last day, when some friend of theirs, whom I didn't know, picked them up.  I knew about it beforehand, and my brother-in-law was able to pick me up; however, when I rode there with said friend, he and his siblings were all carrying tennis gear for after the camp session.  On the way home, I lamented to my brother-in-law about missing out on what they were doing, and he simply said, "What do you care? Since when have you been into tennis?"

I missed it...but I DON'T regret it!
After those two incidents, I became my own person.  Sure, I still had items I wanted and places I desired to go to...but I didn't sit there and tell my mom or anyone else that "all the other kids" were getting whatever or going wherever, usually because, in most cases, they weren't and didn't have any desire to do so.  I also became more willing to refuse invitations and offers to go places, even when "all the other kids" were going.  People invited me to go on outings involving large bodies of water; I said no, and refused to budge, even when my reasons were refuted.  Tons of folks strongly suggested I should go to my middle/high school dances, especially the eighth grade dance, "ring dance," and prom; I outright refused, even boldly telling a well-meaning teacher, "I don't give a crap!" Though I was met with criticism in all those cases, I'm pretty sure those who truly know me would understand why I shouldn't have gone; I don't have any regrets about supposedly "missing out".

You may think that, with all the talk about me being original and unique, I don't want anything anybody else has.  How many times have you heard or read me say something to the effect of one of these phrases?:
  • I'm going to like what I want to like, and I don't care what anyone else has to say about it!
  • Why are people unfriending me because of my constant references to _______? Don't they realize that ________ makes me happy in the same way that others' relationships make them happy, which is why they bombard their Facebook friends with posts about them?
  • It's not a good idea for me to ________.  Here's why:
  • So what if whoever or whatever wants to take away what I like? I'm not going to give him, her, or them that power!
  • If you don't like the constant references to _______...there's the door! No one is forcing you to stay on my friends list!
  • ________ had a well-meaning suggestion, but, when I refused, his/her insistence made it turn into harassment.
The longer you've been in contact with me, the more you've heard all that...right? What might surprise some of you is that the "all the other kids" desire still lingers a bit in a certain area: relationships.  Sure, I don't sit around and regularly lament about the fact that I have no significant other--though I used to, as some of you know--but the amount of coeval friends and friends of friends who have gotten into serious relationships continues to increase.  When people post about it on Facebook--I know; it's their right to do so--it's sort of advertising their relationship.  I mentioned in an earlier post that advertising in general creates a need where there wasn't one before, such as the mother and teenage daughter who were in a grocery store and said they had no need for an item...until they saw a end-of-aisle display for it, and they then proceeded to put it in their cart.  The same is true with me seeing others' relationships: When I see significant others happy, smiling, and celebrating getting married, I start to think: Why don't I have one? Where's mine? At times, it makes me want to act like I'm two years old.

Did ALL of my peers have tons of these? No!
However, when you have a case such as this, you have to check out all of the facts.  Going back to the "all the other kids" thing: One of the biggest debacles my mom and I had during that time was over Beanie Babies, those once sought-after toys that hardly anyone wants anymore.  I kept telling my mom that "all the other kids" had more of them than I did...but I glossed over two important facts.  First off, though many of my friends and other peers did have a larger collection of said toys, not all of them did.  Some didn't even collect them; even one kid in my neighborhood said, "I don't get any Beanie Babies; the only ones I can get are the ones I buy myself from the [dollar store]!" I only got them for Christmas and birthdays, but that was more than he did.  Second off, I was given more than one chance to work for them, and I never did; I worked harder on the ClarisWorks spreadsheet to keep track of what I was going to do than actually doing anything.  Even non-"other kids" desires involved details that were conveiniently left out.  Some of you may remember me talking about a "kick" involving having pizza for lunch on a Sunday.  What I always said was that I remembered an old friend and I doing just that back in 1994 or 1995, and that my mom should do it again.  However, what I didn't say was that, after some thinking, I couldn't be 100% sure that said memory was actually on a Sunday; said old friend came over both Saturdays and Sundays, and, since my memory doesn't have a time stamp, it's impossible to say which day it was.

The same is true of relationships: Though many of my friends around my age are in serious ones, there are still right many who are not only single, but always have been.  Still others have had significant others, but continue to have problems because they chose the wrong people to date.  I can't honestly sit there and say that all my coeval friends have found "the one" for them...because, when I really stop and think about it, that isn't true!

I will end by saying this: It's no secret that my tastes in pretty much everything are different.  People all over the world love theme parks, pets, beaches/pools, and sports...but I can't stand them, and want as little to do with them as possible.  Not only that, but, you'd be hard-pressed to find another adult--of any age--who likes Disney Channel and Nickelodeon productions, contemporary Christian music, libraries, books, superhero cartoons, and reality competition shows...yet, I like them all.  That right there is why I have a broad group of friends; most people can find one or two things in common with me, because my interests are that diverse.  However, it makes it impossible for me to find a social group, because my intense despising of what "everyone else" likes means that I won't join them on an outing involving any of that.  Even more to the point, it also makes it quite hard to find a significant other, because very few people are going to truly respect such tastes in anyone.  I've experienced incidents where friends would appear to be fine with my interest or lack thereof in something, only to say the exact opposite after an altercation would arise.  Though some of those people may be still among my friends, I have a feeling that not only do they still feel that way, but there are others--including potential dates--who would agree, but aren't saying anything.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you don't truly respect my preferences, I can't see why you would consider me a friend in the first place.

Any comments?

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