October 25th, 2004

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Another Chapter

About Chapter 5, "Weirdo 101"

.... I'm pretty sure I could teach a class in how to be strange. There's very little doubt that I've been an oddball from the start. I tried, vainly, while in my late teens and early twenties to create a kind of golden past - some memory of being a popular grade-schooler with a sparkling personality. This persona was cripted from hazy memories, a general need to stake myself out as a "normal" girl, and just more of that general story-telling lying I've done all my life. I've given up normal. Normal is dull. Also, in my case, entirely false.

In tenth grade I made a vow, first term, never to wear matching clothes. I wore alvacado green cordoroy shorts, singing reindeer socks, and a red paisely shirt, all on the first day of school. Forget the fashion police, the good sense police should have taken me out with a snipper bullet to the kneecap. I think I know why I did it. I was trying to be different. I was embracing my outcast status. I was an idiot. Nothing changed when I decided to wear ugly clothes. And in a few years, having realized what a dumbass I was being, I inventied that sparkling seven-year-old story - as if I could change anything by messing with my own history.

No, I've always been weird. As a baby I often sat and stared. I watched. I was a lump with a suspicious expression (it's remarkable how little I've changed). My mother called me "Pumpkin." I try not to be bitter about the fact that my older sister was sometimes called "Princess." I've long come to terms with why she got to be Royalty while I was fat orange fruit. Anyway, I was full of quirks, even as an infant. I had abnormally large feet. I hated my knees to be bare. I learned to walk early - except that I walked like John Wayne in a spaghetti-western gunfight. I was scared of puppets.

Moving a little forward in time, I'll tell you that at some point, I got shy while in crowds. Downright withdrawn. Unless I had someone with me, then I was back and forth more than an eager to please politician. I could be loud, rude, obnoxious - as long as there was someone there to play my role. I'm still that way. Just recently I was in a wedding, and having no one with me, I wandered around a lot, not sure what to do with myself, and not talking to anyone. I'm pretty sure that kind of behavior has psychopath written all over it.

I can't try to be not weird. I'm wired weird. I'm afraid that trying to go against my nature would be a little like dropping a toaster into a bathtub - never a good idea, no matter how badly you want toast while taking a bubble bath. I might short curcuit.