If you don’t mind haunting the margins, I think there is more freedom there — Colin Firth
I think of myself as an outsider. I’ve always been an outsider.
My friends might argue that particular self-assessment is incorrect. They could be right. I do enough to fit into society. Be the good citizen and everything that comes with that role.
Regardless, I’ve always felt like an outsider. I base that on my childhood experiences growing up in an area that had been considered a rough neighbourhood. I think it still is looked upon as rough or at least not as sketchy as other parts of the city.
The friends I made in elementary school didn’t last beyond Grade 6. Too young to be emotionally attached to anyone who wasn’t family. The friends I made in junior and senior high didn’t go beyond Grade 12. I hated junior high because that was the time period when I was bullied by a selfish bitch who was so insecure about herself that she thought being the tough chick was the best way to be popular. I have nothing but ill will for her. So, the faster I got out of Dodge, the better. She made her insecurities my problem so, no, I don’t have any empathy for her. If I get the opportunity to punch her, I might become a little empathetic towards her. If you tell me I should forgive the bully, you had better stop reading right now and don’t come back because forgiveness is concept I don’t buy. Grades 10-12, I learned people had different ideas of what friendship entailed. Yeah, fuck that nonsense and fuck the twat who taught me that lesson. Apparently, I didn’t cater to her ego enough.
Well, there were the three friends who I met in Grade 7 and who remained in my life until my late 20s/early 30s. I walked away from them. I’ve discussed the reasons in previous posts. Not rehashing it again.
So, yeah, I’m an outsider. I’m also a late bloomer and that most likely muddles things for me. But if I think about it, I probably wouldn’t change a thing. Given my temperament, I’m perfectly suited to be an outsider. I might even be a low-level outlier for all I know. I have no problem being a lone wolf. The mechanics of relationships, especially the romantic kind, leave me baffled, claustrophobic, disappointed, homicidal and indifferent.
I’m better off in the margins. No expectations to fit in. Just acceptance. There’s a freedom to be myself, to explore my perceived eccentricities, to indulge my imagination and to create.
The times I moved away from the margins amplified the feeling I was unwelcomed or at least, welcomed IF I played by the rules. It didn’t take me long to figure that out. It’s one of the reasons I never had a legitimate chance at being a full-time photojournalist or sports photographer. But to be honest, I’m a better picture editor than I am a photographer. And I believe I am a better fiction writer than I am a picture editor. I’m glad I’m not a photojournalist or a sports photographer. I’d be missing out on the shit I’m doing now and what the future might bring with it.
However, it doesn’t mitigate the fact that whenever I tried to play by someone’s rules, it never really worked out all that well for me. There was, and will always be, someone who is better at following the rules than me. So, why should I even try.
Maybe I wasn’t eager enough to suck up to someone or wear the knee pads and kiss someone’s ass or suck his dick, figuratively speaking, of course. Maybe I always believed there had to be another way to do things and not feel like you sacrificed your gut instincts to do it. Maybe I believed you should at least like what you see in the mirror every time you wake up and walk into the bathroom.
So, I’ll play along. Up to a point. Then I’ll go back into the margins, unintentionally make my own rules and create. Work in my own little vacuum and only look to outside resources after I share what I’ve been working on with a very small handful of people who I implicitly trust.
Which reminds me… I have to pick up a copy of Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion. For who don’t know him, he wrote One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest. Sometimes a Great Notion was recommended to me by my writing mentor after he read an excerpt of my work-in-progress, otherwise known as my writing project.
Reading Kesey’s book is research. It’s the same kind of research I did when my mentor recommended very specific books, written by Elmore Leonard, Mickey Spillane, Frank Miller and James M. Cain, for me to read. Kesey’s book has been ordered and I should have it in my hands in a week or two.
Back to the margins I go. Where I am most comfortable. Where I am at my most creative.