Dear Future Me:
I didn’t think I was going to write a letter about conformity today, but it is something I’ve been thinking about. Because I used to be kind of a weird, awkward, creepy kid and pre-teen and teen, and now I’m kind of a weird, awkward, creepy adult but I’ve gotten really good at passing for normal. It’s fascinating how good we’ve all gotten at passing for normal.
So I used to constantly say things that either made people uncomfortable, bored them or were totally irrelevant to the conversation. Back in grades 1-2-3, when being smart was cool, I had no shortage of friends. Then we all turned eleven and the world when fucking cuckoo-bananas. Or at least, that’s how it seemed to me. Make believe was so passe, and all the girls who used to eagerly pay soccer-baseball and pretend to be unicorns with me suddenly wanted to talk about hair, makeup, the Hansons and cute boys.
You know what I did not give half a flying fuck about back then? ANY OF THAT NOISE. I still barely give even half a flying fuck about most of that stuff. Although the internet just told me that all three Hanson brothers married and became fathers before the age of thirty. What the eff, guys? I definitely thought the youngest one was a chick until fifteen minutes ago.
So while all the girls in my age group were giggling about how cute so-and-so was, I was regaling them with wondrous facts. Nothing says “ostracized” like interrupting a pre-teen gossip fest with a delightful nugget of info from the natural world.
“Hey everybody, did you know that the back feet of the male platypus are poisonous?!”
The popular kids and I eventually worked out an arrangement where I didn’t talk to them and they didn’t talk to me, which seems far more cruel than it was. Heck, we had nothing to say to each other. I didn’t want to talk about lip gloss and they didn’t want to talk about white-tipped reef sharks.
We were better off apart.
Now, I am no longer the kind of person who just talks about whatever the heck I feel like, irrelevant of your interest in it. (Well, not all the time, anyway). I can pass as normal in most situations, and can take an interest in even the most inane conversations, because I like talking to people. So I make talking to me easy, and now that I’ve been doing it for a while it’s become very natural. This is how I have conversations now:
-Identify person. Friend, family, coworker?
-Subjects: my weekend, their weekend, How is the day going? Man, look at that (snow, sun, tree, panda), How is your (husband, child, addiction, car?).
-Make a penis joke y/n?
-Relate similar story to show empathy
-How about a penis joke now? y/n?
-Politely disengage from conversation.
And that’s how I manage to get along with a decent number of people pretty regularly.
I’ve also figured out how to dress most of the time. I know what professional looks like and I know what casual looks like and I can even do my makeup if I feel like that is an appropriate kind of thing to be doing. But mostly passing for normal has been controlling what comes out of my mouth.
And that time I blurted out that I was composed entirely of womanly steel gonads, that my body was merely a collection of feminine testicles?
All my love,