Are you an outsider? It's really amazing how many people consider themselves to be outsiders but who really aren't. I think at our late age, we like to think of ourselves as outsiders to differentiate ourselves. But how do we really know? Does the feeling of being an outsider make you an outsider? Is that good enough or must we be scorned by most of humanity to make the grade?
I'm not sure. I like my own company best, but I'm pretty social. I can hold my own with pretty sophisticated people--hell, I can drink my beer out of a glass. However, I make verbal blunders wherever I go. Some how I have this feeling I can never get it quite right, like how when I was a teenager I dressed like a little old lady because "petites" fit me better and that's where my sizes were aimed. Now I'm old and I dress like a teenager because those clothes fit me better.
Someone told me once You must have been so popular in high school--I mean, just look at you (whatever THAT meant) and I just laughed and laughed--I'd just come from a fabulously fun weekend at a science fiction convention where I'd served on a panel examining the reality of ghosts, for crissake (one I missed a big party at home for).
I guess I feel like an outsider because I always have to take a deep breath before parties, because I worry too much about how I look, because I'd often rather chat with friends online than in person, because I enjoy hard core science fiction and high fantasy best, and I don't mean Twilight neither, because I love punk rock and other harder music better than...um... Maroon5? I like some of my friends because they're just fun--I like a very few bestest because they really talk about things like writing and insecurities, and the way people interact, and death and the million meanings of immortality, and what we believe and how it influences us and I don't know, real stuff.
And I enjoy and admire the folks who walk to their own beat, especially overweight*, salty D&D players who kind of snort rather than laugh and folks who can speak a bit of Romulan and others who whack at each other in full kit with bamboo swords--people many of my neighbors wouldn't look twice at--and I still feel this sickening insecurity take root when I meet fading high school football players and cheerleaders, even if they're in their 40s and our kids play together and they're really nice people.
I mean, normal people don't walk into WorldCon and breath a sigh of relief, do they, like they're in a new world that feels like a lost home? Normal people don't keep good friends who live across the world because, despite living a rich, full life, they make that connection that seems too odd to even try to explain to other friends since it happened online.
I miss the SCA. I miss the invisibility I enjoyed in jr high geekdom. I miss riding horses all day and writing bad prose all night and playing make believe and openly indulging my belief in ghosts and God.
But I have no idea if any of this really makes me an outsider, or if I just feel that way and-- like they always told us when we were younger: everyone feels that way-- so we're all actually just plain old insiders.
* you know, I hope that isn't offensive. I'm not implying that all D&D players are overweight or that it's an issue or anything. Actually the opposite. Lots of people are...anyway... and it really...well. You know. I guess I meant to say that it's a problem for some people (especially where I live) but that I could really care less how much somebody weighs (besides me). And so I wonder if that makes me different somehow too, since it seems to be such an area of prejudice?