Being Different

When I was in high school, I was considered one of the odd people. You know, the kids who are generally shunned because we simply don’t fit in anywhere else.

As expected, we got together and formed our own group, hanging out before and after school. For some reason, I started thinking about them this morning.

Y’all know why I was considered weird, and you know how I turned out. I wonder what happened to the others? After I graduated, I purposefully lost touch with all of them, and I’ve never attended any reunions, though I received invites the first ten or fifteen years. After that, they lost track of me, and I let them.

There were the Asian twins, Linda and Susan. Back then, being Asian was notable, especially in a mostly white suburban school, and so they were considered odd. I had to walk several blocks to the bus stop, and as they were on the way, I often swung by and picked them up. Their mother would turn the temp in the house up to eighty degrees before taking a shower. Many a time I would walk into their house wearing full winter gear and feel like I was in a sauna, but I wouldn’t take any of it off because we were “leaving any minute.” 

I spent most early mornings with Jay P down in the theater area, backstage where it was quiet and dark and we wouldn’t be disturbed. He was large, not light of foot, and wore Coke-bottle glasses. He was also an amazing songwriter and played the guitar beautifully. He confided he thought he might be gay, and I guess I said the right things, because we remained good friends. A couple years out of high school, I heard he tried to kill himself by jumping in the river. He changed his mind and checked himself into the psych ward at the hospital. During an initial exam, it was discovered he had prostate cancer. He lived and ended up marrying Karen, another weirdo in our group. After that, I lost track of them.

There were others, too. Many others, all people who were square pegs trying to fit into round holes. One in particular stands out, though I never knew him well. I think his real name was John, but he insisted we call him Seneca, after the Roman philosopher. He was tall and thin and yes, wore glasses. I don’t remember particulars about my interaction with him, other than that we took on student council and the principal in order to change rules we thought were stupid, and Seneca was our front man because he was smart as a whip and everyone knew it.

Looking back, what gives me a warm feeling about this particular student was how readily everyone eventually accepted Seneca: his choice of name, his intelligence, his wry sense of humor. He was decidedly different, but he embraced it and found good friends who accepted him exactly as he was. Knowing how terrible high school kids can be, I’m still amazed he pulled it off. He was exactly the type of kid who would be bullied today, but he escaped it. I suspect he did so because he accepted himself first, and that eventually made everyone else do it, too.

________

This first pic was taken late in the afternoon, and the butterfly that is normally white turned green because it was sitting under big leaves. white butterfly in plant 8.13.14 sm

And here’s another pic of the “big sky” we get here in Florida. We sure do get some gorgeous cloud formations.

Big Sky 8.13.14 sm

 

Have a great weekend! See you Monday.

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About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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16 Responses to Being Different

  1. A.M.B. says:

    Beautiful words and beautiful pictures. I hope you have a great weekend too!

  2. Oh, I love the green butterfly! But that sky! Omg, gorgeous for sure!

    I had very similar experiences being an outsider in school. 7th grade was the worst, for a while I was a class pariah, you know what I mean. I was slightly chubby & had a case of acne, but my main issue was shyness. Which just gets worse once you’ve been marked out as an outcast. But luckily things got better as time went on. I had a group of friends in High School, not quite fellow outcasts but just others who were out of the mainstream. Mostly fellow nerds or just quiet. One girl was Asian, drop dead gorgeous girl, funny because her name was Linda too;) And one girl, Stephanie, was a tomboy & jock, very outgoing, super nice & so funny, just the best personality. Which, at the time I thought, wth is she doing with the rest of us? But now I wonder if she may have had gender &/or sexual orientation issues/questions. There were certain things that lean that way, looking back. And I had a kinda/sorta crush on her, which freaked me out at the time ;D

    • I had a crush on a tomboy too. Like your Stephanie, she was a jock, friendly, outgoing, and kept her dark hair cropped very short. I lost touch with her, but I wonder now what her orientation/gender was.

  3. Allison says:

    I dealt with my feelings of being different and not fitting in by ignoring and denying them. I imagine that is why I don’t have very good memories of high school. I let the group I was friends with dictate what I did. I was a scared and angry kid who was also dealing with my Mom dying so fitting in seemed the only course at the time. Yeah, not the best time of my life by far.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Karen H. says:

    Your story about high school reminded me so much of my son’s struggles and to a degree my own. But like you for him there were added challenges. Ironically even though I didn’t know everything he was dealing with at the time the one thing I have always told him, besides what an awesome person he is, was that he has to like himself before he can expect other people to like him.

    I’ve always believed that if we don’t like ourselves as individuals and respect ourselves we can’t expect other people to see the the person that is there and we shouldn’t it’s such a dangerous thing to let someone else determine the level of self worth and self respect we deserve.

    Unfortunately parents and society in general frequently forget how delicate a person’s self esteem is during those early years and the role we as adults need to play in nurturing and helping to create healthy self images in all children, not just the ones we think are ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’.

    • A lot of people today seem to have forgotten quite a few things about nurturing others. It doesn’t take much effort, either. A kind word or deed here and there… that’s all it takes to make someone’s day.

  5. Jaycee Edward says:

    I didn’t mind school. I wasn’t popular, by any stretch of the imagination, but I guess I was well-liked. I was a straight A student, so I got along with all the nerds and geeks because they were in my classes, but I also partied pretty hard in school, so the burnouts accepted me too. I hung out with kids way older than me outside of school. I really feel sorry for kids in school these days. Even good-looking “normal” kids are bullied just because some clique closed their eyes and chose…..THAT ONE….to pick on. And the bullying is far more mean and dangerous now. As an adult, though, I think the internet is an awesome tool to “meet” people before we ever lay eyes on them. And the great thing is, once you’ve “met” someone and learned to love them for what’s on the inside, what’s on the outside or their sexual orientation no longer matters.

    • I’m not quite that trusting. I talk to people a long time online before I decide whether or not they’re being honest and forthright. Not everyone is, ya know. But in our community? Good people.

      • Jaycee Edward says:

        I don’t mean everyone. But there is a core group of you that I’ve come to “know” just based on online interaction and I know I LIKE you guys. I don’t care what sex you are, who you love or what you look like.

  6. Helena Stone says:

    My years of school hell took place during primary school. I’m still not sure why they picked on me but boy, did they ever. So, when a picture of my class in year five appeared on (my other) Facebook timeline last week I wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as the others were. Jaycee got it right when she identified me as the introverted one hugging herself on the right. I think I hugged myself for six years solid. And I bet you, if I were to ask those others who were commenting on that photo about it they wouldn’t remember any bullying.

    High school was better but only because I decided to put on a mask and pretend to be someone I wasn’t. It took me a while before I was happy to be who I actually am, but I got there eventually.

    On a different note, your pictures, as always, are wonderful. We get nice skies here. The skies were you live are spectacular. Thank you for continuing to share all that beauty with us.

  7. I believe I said you were the introverted one hugging herself on the LEFT next to the hot teacher. ;o) I was more amused that even at an early age, you managed to seek out the hottie. Haha!

  8. suze294 says:

    School is a trial – i was outside the in crowd but in 1970’s UK country high school, it wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately I have to send my kids now, I would hate to goto school now.
    Love the moody weather picture.

  9. Patricia says:

    Yup, I was with that oddball group too. And glory hallelujah, several of us are still friends today.

  10. Carole says:

    Wouldn’t you just love to hire someone to find these people (if we had all the $ in the world). Not too necessarily contact or talk to, just to satisfy a curiosity of “where are they now” type thing. I have that w some elementary kids I was close to. I live in the same town I was born & raised in so I see people all the time from high school. It’s the people from further back I’m curious about.
    Interesting how & what you remember about them.
    Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend yourself! 😘

    • I’m mildly curious, sure. I didn’t mention several others I’d like to know about. But I suspect I might be disappointed to hear what happened to most of them. Sometimes it’s better not to know! 🙂

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