09 February 2008
When did normal become the watchword?
I am anything but normal. I'm a self-proclaimed dork. I have gone to a bar before and ordered hot chocolate and bread. I laugh at people or insult them when they hit on me. I relate to fictional characters more than most real people. I seek people out based on the proper amount of awkwardness-- not too much, but not too little. I have an outfit I call my "Victorian childhood" dress. I read home decor magazines even though I have no need for home renovation. I feel things deeply and sense memories as physical beings. I have a hard time letting go. I hate bars and grew out of that scene before I grew into it. My daily conversations have allusions to old movies and classic novels. I buy wine because of the pretty bottles. I never had wild teenage years, and I have no problem with that. I rely on a good night's sleep. I am disgusted by the superficiality I observe around me.
It makes me sad to say so, but I feel like very few people actually know me. Even fewer really appreciate me. Sometimes I feel like I'm the token misfit who is present only to make others aware of what the weirdos are like. In the movies it's the misfit who always attracts the most stereotypically attractive guy; they want "girls with horn-rimmed glasses and vegan footwear and Goth makeup," to quote Juno. Or they are Jake Ryan and interested in "more than a party." But I think it is much harder in real life to find people who actually appreciate eccentricity, rather than keeping it around for amusement or to make the supposedly "normal" feel superior. I don't want to think about myself as being different from everyone else-- but the more I look around the more I become aware of it. I want my quirks to be an added bonus that makes me me, not an impediment to connection. I used to have a theory called the Chipped Teacup Theory. The idea is that some people are chipped teacups on shelves, among the normal, "perfect" cups. Sometimes they sit ignored by those who think them deficient, but others snatch them up because they realize the chips add to the cup's beauty rather than taking away from it. The chipped cups are special, and not in the derogatory, scare quotes sense. The main problem with this theory is it that it leads one thinking of herself as completely separate from most of the world...how am I supposed to navigate if I expect most people not to "get" me?
I was thinking of the film version of Mansfield Park the other day-- nothing like the book, but entirely beautiful. Fanny Price is different from people in her world. She is also different from any other Austen heroine and has attracted the most critical controversy, scholarship, and discussion. She is not beautiful like Emma Woodhouse or charming like Elizabeth Bennet. But she has Edmund, who doesn't need her to explain her quirks. I relate to Fanny Price-- feeling like "like is just a quick succession of busy nothings." But I have yet to find many friendship Edmunds or even the real deal Edmunds, who are permanent fixtures, embrace my intensity, and assure me that "surely you and I are beyond speaking when words are clearly not enough."
Words are overrated sometimes. Banter is just banter. Connections are a sense, an intuition. An intuition that seems...evasive...or at least cruelly fleeting, in my case. It's a thought I don't want to have...but can you really ever find yourself in this world? Or are we discouraged from that and encouraged to embrace the ordinary?Look at the intensity. And the understanding. Oh yes, I've been here before.
"There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time."