Until I was about seventeen, I wasn't myself. I mean, I was who everyone kind of expected me to be, but I kind of failed at that. I wasn't interested in: (a) generic rap, (b) sports or (c) devilment. I kept my head down and did my work, and if I got an idea I didn't tell anyone about it. I strived to fit in, doing crazy, stupid things like listening to a band because people liked them, or buying a DS because I thought then I could be included in a group of people who had an "exclusive" club.
As I came to the end of my time in secondary school, I wasn't afraid to let people see some of the real me. I was asked a few times by first years (I was a Prefect - first years knew who I was), "Aren't you cool?" What do you say to that? I wasn't going to lie, and I wasn't going to lecture them on the meaning of the word cool. I said to them, "No, I'm not cool." They laughed, I kind of laughed, and we went our seperate ways. They asked again the next week.
See, cool by my definition is what people decide they like. Okay, someone can look cool without actually being cool (they can look cool and be cool, too, obviously). But cool implies that everyone likes what I do, that a majority of people think that what I do is what they'd like to do. I wasn't cool. I was weird.
Summer - boring. I won't bore you with the details of those few months. The most exciting thing was getting my place in college. That's it. That was my summer of 2009. It was in September that I made a few changes, though. I stopped giving a damn about what people thought of me. I didn't hide the fact that I was a writer, that I was loud and hyperactive and that I disliked sports. Actually, that's not even entirely true. I dislike soccer, and I can't watch a lot of sports because they bore me, but I like GAA. I'm just no good at it, and when I was younger, Gaelic seemed too much like soccer. In short, it was bawring.
So, I started college. I let people know I was a nerd. "I listen to music from the Internet and I watch lots of Sci-Fi. Also, every morning for the next four years that we're here, you're going to hear me say hi to some of my friends, because I'm that loud. And you'll wonder how someone can be so happy on a Monday morning."
Monday mornings... there's a fun one. Most people are severely depressed on Mondays. Not me. I go through most weekends without seeing my friends, so when Monday comes along, I'm more than happy to see them. I'm bouncing-off-the-walls, ready-to-explode giddy! This does different things for different people. Most keep a certain distance from me for the first half hour, until I've calmed down a bit. One friend and I had a thing where we'd high-five once a day instead of saying too much. I think I hurt his hand with explosive amounts of enthusiasm.
This all comes down to one thing: by general consensus, I wasn't normal. General consensus is wrong. I was normal, but I wasn't the same. A friend, the same high-five-till-you-hurt friend, has me talking about any problems I have. That's normal. It's not generally accepted - guys talking about feelings? That. Is. Ridiculous! Right? Nope. It's different, though.
Of course, I still get asked a few of the same questions in college as I did in secondary school: Why don't you drink? Did you write a book? What's it about? The answers are this: I choose not to drink. Yes, I wrote three (that was the old response; now it's Yes, I wrote four, but I haven't had a chance to use that that). It's complicated. Very complicated.
That's. Not. Normal. People want answers. They want to know what's going on. Someone not drinking is weird. If you saw me on a night out, you might not guess that I'm sober, though, because I tend to be a bit... can you guess the word? HYPERACTIVE. Wonderful stuff. But it still confuses people when they see me with a Sprite and wonder if there's Vodka in there, too. Bartenders probably get confused when I order drinks for other people, too. Like buying a mate's Guinness for him, or giving a girl a Jager Bomb to help make her night better, because she's lost her bag. Actually, I order three Jager Bombs once. That must have confused the girl behind the bar!
The book thing is more difficult to deal with. People will ask, because they'll have heard from somebody. It's a small college, so word gets around. Generally my reponse is, Did you not know that? Oh... Then they ask what the books are about. I literally cannot summarise four books in a short enough amount of time. I tried before. Someone then asked, Where do you get your ideas from? I suppose the best way to deal with that question the next time I'm asked it is to just say, In general, from the people I know here, and wave my arm around the building a bit.
I suppose it's my own fault. I could try fit in and not let anyone know the real me, but that's no fun. I'd be a carbon copy of the society I hate. I'd be drinking to satisfy other people, trying to play soccer despite the fact that I suck at it, and listening to music I can't stand. That's no way to live. I'd prefer be an enigma to people. I'd prefer be weird than be the same. That's probably because I'm a twin and look the same as someone else.
I suppose I have a new response to Aren't you cool? I probably won't ever get asked that again, but I have a response to it. What do you think? Yeah, that'd really mess with someone's head.
Written as part of Challenge 2, Normality of Summer of Writing 2010. Full details here.