Wednesday, August 1, 2018

I've gone identity mad!

Take a seat son, I'm about to drop some wisdom on you.

Back when I was in high school there was a group of girls that I wanted desperately to be friends with. Yeah they were "friendly" with everyone but they weren't up for solidifying new friendships. They kept to themselves and hanging out with just one of them was never an option. They were a package deal and did little to hide all the amazing fun they were having without the rest of us losers. We, the outsiders, could only hope that one day we would be invited to be one of them!

Finally the clouds parted and the angels descended upon me. Theyinvited me to go shopping with them. I was over the moon, I had been chosen!

The day came and I excitedly ran out of my house hoping my parents wouldn't step foot outside and embarrass me. I quickly jumped into the car and was brimming with conformity. They were fabulous, and a warm sense of accomplishment washed over me, biggest accomplishment thus far hands down. The driver looked around excitedly and put a CD into the CD player (so cool).

A song came on that I had never heard and the girls around me erupted in squeals of "YES!". This would now be my new favorite song, obviously. I liked sound of it and didn't know exactly what the lyrics said only that it repeated the name Grace Kelly. I vividly remember this experience and the accompanying "I can't believe this is happening!" feeling that came with it.

My day out shopping with them turned out to be rather disappointing, as I did not understand their inside jokes or share in a lot of their interests. Often I listened in awkward silence just grateful to be apart of it and hoping no one would sense me as the intruder I was.

Disappointment led to sadness when I had spent all my money and the girls I was with kept going and going and going. They were like bottomless pits of money.  I couldn't keep up this ruse for long, it was either buy another top at Hollister or skip lunch. Much like the earlier experience, this realization is a vivd memory.

I was never invited on an outing with them again, and that was ok, mostly. Going out with them that day made me realize how out of place I was with them and how I could never  truly belong.

 Fast forward to now years old and I still really love that song. Both because it's an amazing and because it reminds me of a time where I felt like I belonged.  However, today as I singing along to it the irony of it slowly set in...
Do I attract you?
Do I repulse you with my queasy smile?
Am I too dirty?
Am I too flirty?
Do I like what you like?

I could be wholesome
I could be loathsome
I guess I'm a little bit shy
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me without making me try?

I try to be like Grace Kelly
But all her looks were too sad
So I try a little Freddie
I've gone identity mad!

All these years I had associated this song with a feeling of belonging when the lyrics were the exact opposite. Wow. The song speaks to an unnamed individual who refuses to accept the artist the way he is. He offers to amend whatever necessary to gain approval only to realize that nothing he does will make the other person accept him. Having had this realization he accepts that he can't help what the person thinks of him and how this lack of control brought him to the brink. To finish he realizes that the unnamed person is a victim of their own elitism in that they are told what to think and invites them to "walk out the door".

Who knew the universe was trying to school me that day I excitedly sat in the car with the "cool" girls?!

Listen, not everyone is going to like you. People will form their own opinions about you and it's not you, it's them. Jen Sincero compares it to peoples reactions after a movie, some people hated it, some people loved it. The movie, was just a movie.

 You don't have to change yourself to make friends. You don't have to try. True friendship is an organic process and good people will be drawn to you. You will make connections and friendships by being yourself. Those with similar interests and humor will come to you, those that are loyal are your friends.  I am still trying to learn this lesson for myself at the ripe old age of 28. High school ends but the social hierarchy never will. It never will. Which is why you need to stop giving a F about it! Let it go, be free of its oppressive nature.

"Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain." 
-CS LEWIS





PS. When he says tried a little Freddie he means Freddie Mercury from the band Queen. Who was also not initially accepted for being himself, but  became a legend because of it.