Not your ordinary

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

I often don’t quite fit in. I don’t know if it’s my upbringing or my personality that shaped me to be this way, but I just can’t seem to connect with people when it comes to pop culture. This has come up quite a few times recently, as I’m getting to know my coworkers and our conversations inevitably turn towards movies or music or drinking. I’m not into many of those things that others get really passionate about and it can be alienating. How did it get this way?

I grew up very shy and rather introverted, so I dove into books. I’d read upwards of 30-35 a week – so much that my mom made me a special bag so I could carry them all when I left the library. The first movie I ever saw in a theater was Titanic when I was eleven (and I went with my dad). That was also the time I started to listen to music. Television kind of entered the picture, but there was no single show that I kept up with. I was far more involved with writing in my journal and reading til my eyes went bad. My parents wanted me to focus on school, so they didn’t get me video games or too many distractions. Since they had no cultural background in this country, I didn’t learn very much beyond what little I was exposed to.

In school, it was a lot easier to connect with people because of the activities we got involved in. I had friends who were interested in academics, JROTC, band, swimming, and track & field depending on which group we were in together. We were normally too busy doing what we were doing together to get distracted talking about random things. When I first started working full-time, I figured being the odd one out was normal since I was in Singapore, which had a completely new culture to me. Then I returned to the states and I started to notice that there were people who were cool to work with, but not the kind I’d call up to hang out with. Things were a lot easier when people were perfectly fine with my complete lack of knowledge when it came to a lot of what they talked about.

Lately, I’ve encountered quite a few situations where people go off on tangents related to entertainment or drinking and I have no clue what’s going on. I’m just not that into movies or TV shows and I don’t drink. I’ve never really minded what sets me apart, but I’ve gotten a lot of flak about it more recently and that makes me sad. Just because I don’t share the same interests and passions doesn’t mean that I’m a complete aberration; I’m different, that’s all! And why is being different so wrong that people need to judge me? It gets tiring after awhile, constantly fielding questions to the tone of “You don’t like [insert something you love]? You’ve never [insert your favorite activity here]?! What’s wrong with you??” Nothing is wrong with me. I’m just not you.

It’s hard enough trying to connect when I’m not interested in the topics being brought up. But I don’t go around imposing my opinions on other people and I wish they’d do the same. I know they don’t mean to be so insensitive, but when everyone treats me that way, it makes me feel like an outcast. I thought I’d grown a hard shell after a lifetime of not fitting in… unfortunately it seems it still hurts. While I’m perfectly fine with being a little “out there” now that I’ve outgrown my shyness, I still want to be accepted. Maybe I need to go find more social groups with interests aligned with mine. Yoga and cat shelters, here I come!

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