25 or 6 to 4

Waiting for the break of day.
Searching for something to say.
– Chicago

Over the years, I think I’ve lost my voice. I feel like when I was younger I had so much more passion about everything and so many things to say that it was overwhelming to people. The most common comment I heard about myself was “You’re so intense” and people found it offputting. The second most common thing I heard was “You’re so weird,” usually followed by a look that suggested I’d sprouted a second head instead of simply wondering aloud whether an octopus with a chainsaw would actually beat a shark on a unicycle in a head to head fight.

So I worked on taming that intensity. (Yes, stop laughing, friends. This is me at a lower intensity.) And while I couldn’t tame the weird, because that runs too deep, I could teach myself to keep a lid on it.

I taught myself that the things I found interesting weren’t likely as interesting to others as I thought they were.

Star Trek and Star Wars are awesome. Everyone knows that. No one needs to hear it again.
No, that casual acquaintance doesn’t want to hear about that interesting article about neurotransmitters, alcohol, and depression that you read about in New Scientist and how interesting that bit would be as a piece of character knowledge in a story.

Just say thank you. Don’t point out that the rose bead necklace they thought was pretty is actually a skull on the other side and that you wear it rose side out so people won’t notice. That’s the point of wearing it rose side out: so people won’t notice.

No, the people sitting next to you in the lunch room aren’t interested in the finer points of the benefits and drawbacks of wool and acrylic. They already think you’re odd enough for working on a project at lunch, like their mom or their grandma.

Stop going on about that re-run of the original Dracula you saw and how much fun it would be to see The Son of the Dragon beat Edward Cullen in a fight.

Shut up. You’re boring them. Nobody cares. You have nothing interesting to say anyway.

Say that to yourself long enough and often enough and you lose your voice. You become the quiet, angry person sitting quietly in the room, who can’t find the words to express why they’re angry and sometimes actually outwardly snappy. Maybe it’s because it feels like you’re all alone in the world and you have no voice to call out to the other weird people.

Maybe it’s because you can’t find the voice to put the stories in your head down on paper because you’ve been crushing who you are at a soul deep level and you need to stop. You need to say something to affirm yourself.

Something like, “Hey. We’re sitting over here in the corner of the lunch room today. Let’s talk about something that isn’t reality television, the local sports team, and the weather. To heck with all the people who go on about those things longer than mentioning them in passing. They might be the cool kids, but we’re the ones with something different and interesting to say.”

And no, I don’t know how the shark is peddling the unicycle. Maybe he’s a landshark and has legs.

One thought on “25 or 6 to 4

  1. I used to feel this way. I’ve always felt like I needed to hide myself. My geekiness. My dorkiness. My weirdness. What if people don’t accept me for who I am? Sure, it’s easier to be who you are rather than lying and keeping up appearances, but everyone wants to be accepted.

    Now I keep company with those that share my geekiness, my dorkiness, my weirdness. I don’t know anything about wool and acrylic but their acceptance of me has made me more accepting of others as well.

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