Friday, April 1, 2016

A Zebra in a Sea of Horses

Everyone knows that I'm sort of... unique. What everyone doesn't know is that it's not something I've ever actually wanted to be. No matter how hard I've ever tried to fit in at various points in my life, I've always stuck right out like a sore thumb. Sometimes that's a good thing, but most of the time, it's not. Or at least it isn't to me.

Part of that has to do with being mixed race. The rest of it has to do with being neuroatypical. Even at my best, I was never conventionally beautiful, nor have I ever had what you call a winning personality. I'm witty, smart, and have a good sense of humor, so I've always been able to attract people or attention if I really wanted to. But I've also always been painfully aware that I'm not what any man -- Seth probably included -- had in mind when he pictured his dream woman as a young man just getting started in life and deciding what he wants for the first time. Especially not physically speaking. That hurts sometimes.

I wonder all the time what it would be like to know you're actually what your partner always wanted and not just some aging, second-rate alternative that probably had to grow on them over time. I wonder what it's like to meet your partner's parents and have them instantly like you and see you as someone they'd actually like to have as part of their family. I wonder what it's like for your parents to ever have seen you as something other than a huge disappointment. I wonder what it's like for people not to have to "learn" to like you or accept you. I wonder what it's like to know that you've always been everyone's first choice. -- exactly what everyone always wanted and had in mind.

Most of all, I wonder if my parents would have even wanted to have children if they knew I was what they would wind up stuck with. I wonder if Seth would have been deeply disappointed if some time traveler from the future came up to him when he was... like... 18, showed him a picture of me, and told him that's the person he'd ultimately wind up with. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder. Because the social ideal of what a woman should be -- whatever it is -- sure as hell isn't me.

The thing is I'm the odd animal on the carousel -- the zebra, or the ostrich, or the random dragon in a sea of horses. The animal that's kind of cool because it's out of the ordinary, but that obviously doesn't belong there. I'm not the menu favorite that made the restaurant famous and got all the customers through the door. I'm the special of the day the waiter has to convince you to try instead. There's technically nothing wrong with me. I might even seem like a better option to people that up and decided they were sick of the same old, same old that day. But I'm never, ever even close to what people had in mind when they pictured the ideal partner/daughter/employee/friend back when all the world's possibilities were still wide open.

Most days, I'm at least OK with that. I mean... it's not like there's anything I can do to change the basics of who and what I am, so I have to be. Other days, I find it seriously depressing though. So depressing that I get urges to hurt myself or punish myself because I feel so much hate for my body, and face, and background, and personality at that exact moment in time. I don't hurt myself, because I know it's not what God or the few people that actually care about me would want, but I want to all the same. Those days are hard.