As a kid, I was oblivious to other peoples opinions of my weird ‘style’ that is to say I wore hats that may have seemed ‘strange’ at least the kids thought they were weird (strange on me anyway), I also had weird hair styles. I gelled my hair without a thought about the ‘social norms’ I mixed so called ‘trends’ into one and it got a lot of weird looks. Those weird looks didn’t deter me because I was oblivious. I saw their looks and I just puzzled over them instead. Eventually, though I learnt my lesson after a lot of mockery from both kids, their parents and my own family and it became clear to me those looks they were giving me were expressing amusement at me. So I learnt to blend in. I watched peoples expressions and then I changed my behaviour till they no longer noticed me at all. Now I’m anxious about even the most remotely ‘normal’ piece of clothing. Because here is the thing…. they used to mock me for the ‘normal’ stuff too. It was like once they’d pinned me in the ‘weird’ category it was also weird for me to be seen in ‘normal’ stuff. The moment something made me look more ‘human’ more like I was someone who also had ‘normal’ interests despite the quirky stuff meant people would smirk at the idea of me having any normal traits as well. That’s why I was laughed at for wearing of all things a Linkin Park jumper by other fans of Linkin Park. Linkin Park was cool in their heads, I was weird. My weirdness was in such a different category than their ‘cool’ category that to see me in a Linkin Park jumper really tickled them. With that came the assumption that I obviously had no idea who Linkin Park was and was just wearing a jumper falsely advertising myself as a fan. When I said I had their album, they laughed some more. The idea I listened to something ‘cool’ that they listened to was such an alien concept to them. Their facial expressions were foreign to me too. I had learnt after many lessons what the smirk meant, but I still didn’t fully grasp the concept as to why they found me funny, I just knew they found me funny and not for good comedic reasons. I didn’t know if it was the way I stood, sat, smiled, spoke, didn’t speak, shrugged. Was it my face? Was it my teeth? Was it my hair? Was it the way my lip has slowly become more sort of ‘slanted’ (can’t think of another word for it)? What was I meant to do differently? I mean I know absolutely that I was supposed to talk more, I know my selective mutism was probably a significant factor. But tell me this, why do adults continue to do this to me now?


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