Saturday, November 28, 2009

Finding My Own Kind

Back when our kids were little, we used to get a book out of the library that had, as one its characters, a bird that would fly far and wide searching for its own kind. My family knew that I identified with that bird, and they even used to kid me about it.

While I was growing up I never "fit in." I wanted to find people who shared my interests and attitudes, but I was often disappointed when they thought of me as "odd" or "other," or simply too difficult to deal with. Perhaps that is why I stopped doing facebook: it is too personally painful to look back and, once again, feel like an outsider (though, in retrospect, I imagine it was often by choice). It is not that I am a snob. I am functionally social, and have conversations with neighbors I meet in the store and people who go to concerts. I also try to keep up with local and non-local happenings, both musical and non-musical. I do have friends, but, perhaps out of self-preservation (and also out of impossibility), they tend not to be like me. They also tend to live in other places.

When I was a young adult I had the opportunity to leave my life and language behind and build a whole new life from scratch in a new country and speaking a new language. The first several months were filled with wonderful adventures: even the most mundane tasks were fascinating, and even the most uninteresting people were fascinating because everything I talked about with them was in my unschooled German. The excitement faded, however, when my German became functional enough to say pretty much the same things I would say in English. I was faced, once again, with myself.

Dragging that self along with me through the various stages of my life that I have enjoyed since I stopped living it in German, has finally become kind of fun. I have come to like the person I have grown into, and, perhaps, I would be really freaked out if I were to meet someone now who happened, in this world of zillions of people, to be just like me. Still, occasionally, I find myself on the lookout for another of my own kind.

While casually moving through the internets, I happened upon a person who shares my name. She is a painter in England, and her paintings seem to share some of the properties of some of the music I write. My own kind? I highly doubt it, but it is still interesting to contemplate the idea.

1 comment:

Maria Ljungdahl said...

From my own experiences I conclude that maybe it is better if an odd person is not blessed with being very social, but happy on their own. Less frustration, then, when it's hard to find anybody else who are interested in the same stuff, with the same attitudes.

Thank you for yet another interesting blog post!