I have these moments at work, at least once a week, when I hear someone talk about me. It’s not always in a negative way, but that’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is the strange assumptions they make. I’ve had people assume that I am a crazy cat lady, I never drink, I drink too much, I only listen to Joni Mitchell, I smoke pot, I have no life outside of work, I have kids, I’m still in college, I’m a townie, I’m a professional chef, or that I’m generally a very unhappy person.
I’m not actually any of those things, and it confuses me because I’ve worked at this place for four years now, but I am still some sort of magical creature that appears randomly and no one knows anything about. Seriously, four years and no one has figured out that I’m not from this area.
I’ve come to the conclusion, for the tenth time in my life, that I am, and always will be, a ridiculously misunderstood teenager. No matter how old I am.
I’m sure it started when I was little. My parents and siblings were always active, athletic people. I didn’t mind being outside, as long as I could sit in the shade with a book. I didn’t like to run or sweat or compete for various trophies. I only get weirdly competitive with board games. (Like Sorry. I’m not allowed to play Sorry anymore.) But it frustrated me that my family never seemed to understand why I didn’t want to play softball. They knew I was bad at most sports, yet they kept pushing me into it.
It happened again in high school. I wanted to write this short story for my freshman English class. Instead of writing it like beginning, middle, end, I wanted to write it from several different character’s point of view. I wanted to challenge myself as a writer, because I just starting to realize that I had something that I actually wanted to do. My teacher discouraged me though. She told me to just write a normal story. I could understand why she’d want to read a normal story when she could be reading something very exciting.
For the most part, that pretty much summed up the rest of my high school experiences.
I took a creative writing class during my senior year. I was thrilled to be able to work on my craft with a teacher that I actually respected. We wrote quite a few different things in that class. One of them was a short play. I liked the play I wrote. It was a bit quirky and odd, but I got positive feedback form my classmates. I was encouraged by my classmates and teacher to enter it in the school talent show. I was nervous, but I got a few students to help me perform it. It turned out to be a huge mistake. One of the actors took it upon himself to make it a comedy, which no one else seemed to understand. Once it was over, I just stood by the stage curtains because no one clapped. It was like they didn’t realize they were just supposed to enjoy the moment they were witnessing, and the strangeness of those two characters coming together. I was embarrassed, but unimportant enough at the school that no one said anything to me about it.
College, for the most part, wasn’t too bad. I had one moment though that I really regret because it’s in print. A friend who worked at the newspaper asked me to write a small piece to fill in some gaps for the paper one week. So I wrote up something about people getting too wrapped up in their lives to notice what was in front of them. My friend edited it into a sadder story, giving it the headline “Invisible to Everyone Around”. I was horrified when I was it, but couldn’t bring myself to confront my friend about it. Most of my close friends said that they ignored the headline because they could see the sarcasm in the piece. To the other people that read it, though, including my professors, I became an even weirder, sadder girl with no friends.
I’ve mostly gotten over that strange college incident, and I’ve forgotten most of high school, so it shocked my when it happened at work. I had a girl tell me how boring my life was, and how repetitive my job was one day. I didn’t know what to say besides “Go away.” I think my life is very interesting. Or at least mildly so.
Instead of freaking out about how horribly misunderstood I am at work, I’ve decided to just ignore it. If they want to think I only listen to crazy female singers(I don’t even know any to give examples of) then that’s cool. They want to think I just stay home every night with my cat, go ahead. I wasn’t going to show them how many drunken selfies I’ve taken so far this year anyway(I get more photogenic as the night wears on).
The important thing to remember is that I have an amazing group of friends that do understand me, even in all of my strangeness. I have an awesome roommate that calmly deals with my creepy sleepwalking and annoying OCD. I have two more close friends that would drop anything to have coffee, no matter what time of day.
My coworkers don’t believe I have five tattoos. My friends don’t even question why I have them in the first place. That is why we’re friends.
I still feel hilariously misunderstood by my family, but there’s really no way to avoid that. “I love you, even though you’re the least athletic of my children,” my dad said to me over the phone one day. That accurately sums up my relationship with my family. They don’t understand me, but they still love me.
Thanks for reading this long rambling piece. Feel free to leave questions/comments/concerns at the bottom!
Here’s to the end of this crazy snowy weather!!