I don’t know why, but for some reason Maya Angelou’s poem keeps resounding in my head. In particular, it’s this stanza here:
The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom
I sat in Max Brenner’s this afternoon with my brother and mom who came to visit me at school during this lovely (and much needed) long weekend. We are sitting over some shared delicious spinach asparagus crepes and sloppy joes (an odd combination of food that is a burst of orgasmic flavor at separate bites). Anywho, we sit quietly, as usual. Enjoying each other’s company. We don’t need to say much like most of the other people around us. In fact, I’m pretty sure we didn’t have a proper conversation throughout dinner. Not awkward. That’s fine with me. I just fully soak in her presence and company; I’m sure she’s doing the same…
The only words I do recall being exchanged, aside from the occasional “Oh man this food is so good” is her observation that I look nothing like people here (in reference to not just the wide variety of people in Max Brenners but in reference to New Englanders). You look like a total thug compared to the nicely reserved dressed girls here. I looked around…sitting in my obnoxious patterned and colored Adidas kicks, my hoop earrings, and ripped up jeans.
I looked around. I mean, I’ve always known I dressed differently from the person next to me and got commented about my style. This time, my “antithetic” style made me feel straight up ostracized and excluded from people. We’re always taught at school to “Be unique!” and “Be Different!” but man, does anybody else feel me on how emotionally burdening that is?
Even without being taught those life mottoes, I always liked going against the norm. When everybody else liked blonde haired Barbie, I liked the black Barbie or brunette Barbie. When all the girls wore pink and drew everything with pink marker, I picked up my blue crayon. I slashed off six inches of my hair when everyone else went for the beautiful wavy long hair. I never stuck to one group of friends, I was friends with different people of different backgrounds because I constantly was seeking something kind of off-beat or atypical in my life. I purposely went out of my way to try things that not everybody liked-food, clothing, ideas, etc.
I don’t know how all of this hit me at the very moment I’m slobbering all over my sloppy joe. It just hit me: I desire to belong to something. I want so much to be a part of a community.
I’m sort of tired being that red plant in a green forest. I used to like it…felt like I brought a fresh unique perspective.
But now I’m just aching to stop being recognized as that “girl who’s weird” or that “girl who’s different.” It was fun and it was cool.
Oh gahd I’m going to stop now because I just sound like one of those 13-year-old hormonal going through major teen angst and on a “The world hates me” tirade.