In the grand scheme of things, I've always felt a bit like a square peg amid a whole lot of round wholes, rubbing up against others but never quite fitting in. I grew up very poor in a wealthy-ish neighborhood, went vegetarian before some of my peers had hit puberty, shaved my head at thirty-one because I thought it might feel good. In case you're wondering, it did. Mostly though, I've lived with a pervasive sense of existential crisis throughout my life—never quite sure who I am or why I exist, if there is inherent meaning in things or if it is only my ego that assigns value and makes it feel that way.
Here's a confession that I rarely admit to: I struggle to make friends. Struggle so hard, in fact, that I have less than a handful of people who really know me at all. Being able to make small talk is not one of the attributes I was blessed with. I'm more of a scrunch-my-face-in-concentration-while-shopping-for-groceries kind of gal, because even then, I'm lost in deeper thought than most people would find reasonable. Apparently this makes me look angry when I'm not and more than a little difficult to approach. Relax folks, I'd like to say to everyone. I'm not mad at you. That's just my face.
I make my own laundry soap and use baking soda in place of deodorant. This is for several reasons: one, because I'm frugal. Really, really frugal. Two, because I despise the number chemical and foreign substances that are in nearly all of our day-to-day products. And three, because I like to walk a fine line between what is considered normal (washing clothes and smelling good) and doing the things that are better for me (denying consumerism, avoiding toxins, saving money), popularity be damned.
I'm not your average girl. I follow the Dalai Lama on Twitter but wouldn't recognize any of the Kardashian's if I stood with them face to face. I eat beans for breakfast and long for the cold and dark that is the hallmark of an Alaskan winter. My skin plus the sun? That's just asking for trouble. I'm passionate about human rights and animal rights and equal rights for all. I have an unreasonable attraction to British men and cry with astounding regularity. In my perfect world, we would all strive for kindness toward each other rather than seeking individual fulfillment because, I believe, it is the only way to find happiness and peace.
I was not one of the cool kids in high school.
I am still not one of the cool kids.
I am who I am, which is hard to define, but this I know for sure: I am a displaced Alaskan at heart, no matter where I go. I am restless and introverted and interested most in those things that matter more deeply than any object or place or amount of money ever could. And if there were a scale out there somewhere that measured our normalcy and our conformity levels? Well then I'd be here, a standard deviation or two to the left, and just This Side of Mainstream.