|Best mash-up image ever. :)|
I spent part of last week with a group of friends--most of them new friends, as I was meeting them for the first time.
I had hopes that at least one of them would come even a little close to my level of geekiness, but alas, that proved a false hope. None of them had ever seen so much as a single episode of Doctor Who. It did make me very grateful for Jeff and Beastie 2 who got my obscure hints during our games of Taboo and Catchphrase.
Me: "On Doctor Who, you definitely never want to..."
Me, with hand cupped over mouth: "Are you my mummy?"
Beastie 2: "Gas mask!"
Everyone else: *blank stares*
This is not a new feeling for me. I'm the oddball in my homeschool group (the only mom who needs more than two hands to count her piercings) and my Christian writers group (the speculative fiction and horror writer). I was a punk-rocker in my teens and early twenties. (Technically, I still am, but the look is tamer these days.) Growing up, I was nerd, geek, girl-who-loved-sci-fi, tall and lanky, etc.
You'd think I'd relate strongly to feeling the outcast. And yes, at times, I truly have. But over the years, I've realized that I am not an Outcast...
out·castI am an Outlier.
1.a person who has been rejected by society or a social group.
synonyms: pariah, persona non grata, reject, outsider, leper
1.a person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system.
"less accessible islands and outliers"
2.a person or thing differing from all other members of a particular group or set.
"an outlier in Faulkner's body of work"
The difference is, an Outcast really wants to be in that main body, right there with everyone else. An Outlier, though, simply sits apart because that is who or what they are.
I enjoyed my time with friends last week. We talked and joked and, of course, played board games. But not once did I wish to not be the oddball. Not once did I wish my to hide my geekiness so they would accept me. Not once did I feel Outcast...but I definitely felt the Outlier.
It's accepting that difference in me that allows me to have fun in these situations though, not just during those times where I'm with my fellow geeks or punks or whatever. Letting go of any need for approval of my quirks lets me see them as simply part of who I am, and think only of being the best me I can be no matter who I'm around.
So, I stayed in the shade the whole time we boated, and I used Doctor Who references while we played board games, and I shopped art galleries and Celtic gift shops...
And bought stuff like this at a candy store:
And most of all, I appreciated being loved for being me: