The Odd Duck Out

Posted on

Photo: I’m not even sure what kind of duck this is (the rest are definitely mallards).  Based on my research I believe it may be a “manky mallad”  of some sort but I am not certain. Still, odd duck – even more fitting! Photo shot and edited by me. Reifel bird sanctuary, Summer 2012.

I have always felt like the odd duck out. The odd coloured one. The one that people had a strange fascination towards but still never befriended me. The ungainly ugly little duckling that no one wanted to play with (growing up didn’t make it better either).  The one who is even unsure of who one is. But still, no matter where I was or who I was, I never quite fit in. Duck. Duck. Duck. Weird duck. Duck. Duck.

For one, I am not good at math nor have a May birthday (much of my family is). I am a girl (unlike my any of cousins as a very young child). I am quite literate and occasionally artistic (my family isn’t). I like horses and of course, my family doesn’t either. When I was a child…no one really wanted to play with me. At least, not the “typical” children. Like the odd duck, I never really understand why no one wanted to play with me but I accepted it. I mean what else you do, demand people to play with you? (I may have tried it. If I did, it did not work.)

I never had really close friends or best friends (if anyone becomes my BBF….congrats, you’re the first)…all my friends were always quite light, superficial. I only had friends as a younger child. By high school, although there were a few acquaintances within classes, I had mostly become a loner.  Undergrad – both my lower levels at a local college and my upper levels at a local university was a massively isolating experience.  People talk about social lives in college/university, but I don’t think most understand how profoundly isolating it is when all you do is go to class and you don’t really have any social skills.

I ride horses too and I’ve been riding for a while (never said I was good at it…but I stay on most of the time).  Did I make any friends there? Of course not! Even common interests cannot bring me together with a friend (even though it felt like I sucked at horses compared to everyone). I did eventually had some acquaintances when I hung out at the barn…but still never friends and it was not uncommon that they ignored me. I always felt like the tag-along…thing anyway even though I was older than them. I wished for a equine friend but that didn’t quite happen either. I guess you need the horse to do that…or better horse or friend-making skills. However, I got bullied around by a young horse ….interesting but not quite the “special relationship” I was looking for. Class divides (oh they exist so much) aside, I’m also nearly the only flat-only mostly recreational rider in a barn full of jumping show horses…things that I don’t do. Even if I did jump (and I don’t for several confusing reasons), I’ll never show at that level. It’s a sport for the privileged and I will admit that equestrian is elitist…and I am so far from that socioeconomic class, it’s not even funny. That would likely never be a part of my world. Oh yes, the inferiority complex is alive and well (not as bad as it has been though).

I never had pets as my family is not into animals so I had relatively limited exposure to them. I rarely had any close friends. I was always the odd duck out, alone. Whereas it got better for the ugly duckling, it got worse for me as I got older. I did not become a swan, instead I became more isolated, odder. The one that people ask if I’m okay or lost as I wander out, or stare out into space, mind lost in thoughts. Eventually, I would be the one that people may be slightly fascinated in (at least during high school) but remain distanced. As if I was wearing different feathers, a different pattern than the other ducks that everyone looks at but find it’s too different for them. I stand aside, never fully included and never fully belonging.

I go to school but I am isolated, distanced even though we are all in the same place. It’s as if I occupy a different dimension than everyone else, momentary disseminating and reappearing randomly. Sometimes we see each other, but we hardly ever interact. The two dimensions rarely  “Integration” is a misnomer. I may have gone to class with “typical” students. I may did the same academic work that everyone else does. I did “integration” periods in elementary school and was eventually fully integrated by grade 10. But again, “Integration” is a misnomer. Just because I occupy the same space as “typical” students does not make me part of their world. The rest of the ducks make friends, socialize, while I waddle off, on my own in search of my own pond. I still haven’t found it.

But I’m tired of not belonging, in nearly every space.

Yet,  I don’t want to be like the other ducks.

For All the Dreams I Never Really Had

Posted on

We grow up, supposedly to reach our dreams, to reach to the future. But what are  nearly “universal dreams”and to what end?. But these defined so-called dreams – weddings, making a family – what if you don’t share them? I acknowledge that they are to an extent – or at least the procreation one is necessarily to the preservation of our species but I don’t subscribe to it. But what about something as simple as “having friends”. I have some of these dreams – living in a place I could call home, having a good career and the personal aspects of “the dream”. But I don’t get any of the social ones.

Parents are funny. Their dreams always revolve on “milestones” such as seeing their kid going to school, getting married, having kids of their own and so on. Heck, even driving (which I don’t do either). But there’s one major problem with that assumption: how do you know if the dreams are the same for that person, people. Why do people assume that their dreams are the same as everyone else?

I find it both odd and sad that people automatically assume that one needs friends to be happy. That one needs to adhere to the “dream” of marrying and having kids of their own. Or even hanging out with friends, like any “typical” teenager (which of course I never did).

This is not my dream. Marriage? Kids. Nah. Okay so, maybe that will change (in 4 billion years when the Andromeda crashes into the Milky Way) that way but for now, that is not my dream. At all. And I can’t fathom it either.

Friends. Love. Work. Marriage. Family. Those things are all so deeply foreign to me even though I know that many people are steeped in them. But I am not.

I haven’t had very close friends for nearly 12 years now.  As much as it sounds sad to admit, generally people who hang out with me have to be paid to hang out with me…or at least have at some point. I do not have a social life. I have never had any romantic interest in anyone – I don’t even know what leanings I have….I am possiblyasexual at this point.  I’m not even sure what love is.

But I don’t really need that to be happy. These things are expectations that are products of society. They are not part of me.

My younger days were more “normal” I suppose.  I ran around. I played imaginary scenarios on the playground with my friends from the same program  – some days we were bats, some days we were just people (we had imaginations  okay? Anyone who doesn’t think that we are incapable of imaginative play needs to be hammered on the head). I talked to everyone (although I never met friends that way. Ever. I think they just thought I was weird.). I even played a small part in a play (I was Rudolph in the now bizarre in hindsight Christmas musical with reindeer and dinosaurs).

Well, okay. I never formed many strong bonds. I never really made a friend with any “typical” students of my own age. I never learnt to skip rope or do the hula hoop and I hated aspects of PE (but I also loved some parts, like chasing around balls on my own….which I did badly but enjoyed). Greetings were always a horrible chore. They still are, when I am forced to do them. They become ritualized, mechanical and as a means to an end for reasons I don’t understand.

I don’t know exactly when the walls started to close in. I didn’t know what happened really. But eventually, as the gap between me and everyone seemed to widen, my world became more and more isolated. As high school came along, it seemed that my “typical” peers were a hundred steps ahead of me in everything, anything…and it was growing, endlessly.

They moved. I stayed stagnant in all but school not involving math. I now pace the halls alone. My best friend is my computer(s).

Would I want a “normal life” or a “social life”? Whatever that means. Whatever that is.

I don’t think so.  It’s been so long that I barely remember when I had friends.  I’m not the greatest with spoken words, but my words seem to come alive when written. In pictures. In videos. In internal voices.  I love the internet. I love computers. I like horses. And other random things. (nah, I don’t think you can combine those very well…not at my level at any of those.)

I also apparently like flying into doors and such too. I’ll write more about that later. But let’s just say having a strange love affair with movement (other sensory things too…I loved those brumble balls even when I was like 8 and I still enjoy the vibration of moving vehicles) etc + being clumsy = “dangerous”.  And weird too. Sigh.

Now, is if only there is an positive way to describe “social skills equivalent to a moving rock” (it does nothing, as do I and then I flee if I can…often the fleeing part comes first though…). For the most part I guess I have the social skills of a pet rock though. Seriously.  I am so disconnected to the world. Trapped in abstraction, thoughts and generally, my own mind.

For the record, in every online version of the  myer-briggs test (MBTI) that I’ve tried, I end up as INTJ.  (My sister is apparently a ISTJ). Maybe it’s completely stupid but it seems to fit me fairly well. J is my weakest, the other three  (INT) are usually (but not always) quite strong. I don’t know…I kind of like being a INTJ…  I’m not a scientist but I probably could have been if I didn’t suck so immensely at math. I like popular science (i.e. science with no equations or math). As an aside, I could be a INTP but I’m not sure.

Family, in name only

Posted on

I always feel so distant from my family – especially one side of the family in particular. Aunts, uncles, cousins. It’s almost as if we were strangers that just happen to be related by blood somehow. But we don’t know each other. Not really. We just eye each other, not knowing what the other is thinking. Not knowing the other person. We’re just strangers who are in the same space based on the claim of shared bloodlines and/or martial relations. In some cases, such as with one of my grandmothers – we’re even separated by a lack of common language. So we’ve never talked. Not once. Probably not ever. And she’ll never understand. I could publish articles, write a book or whatever and she’ll never understand (unless it was translated, maybe).

To be honest, I haven’t even talked to my cousins from that side. As a child. I never played with them. To be they were always separate, strangers. Separate strangers.

I know they all look down on me. Maybe they won’t admit it but I know they do. I guess that makes sense. I’ve always been behind in terms of maturity and of course, socially. Even though they can speak English, it still seems that we are not speaking the same language.

Maybe it’s because my language is so textual, literary. I am way better at writing than speaking. There are a lot of words that I can write but cannot say.  My imagined conversations probably seem more scripted than spontaneous. I am so connected to this language (English) yet know nearly nothing about my ancestral language.

So we look at each other. Not knowing, not trusting. All we know is that we are supposedly related.