26 May 2019

When I’m having a beer I always check that the beer level in my glass is about the same average level of the whole table. You don’t want to drink too fast, or too slow. Others might realise all that’s wrong with you.

I’m from a town, a really tiny town. There everyone knows each other and you get given a spotlight from birth. There everyone tries to follow the same trends, do the same stuff, and have managed to keep the rate of change steady for the past 100 years (it’s really slow, if you were wondering). So, if you try to express yourself, draw on yourself, make stuff up and show it to people, make stuff and wear it, make up words or concept, people tend to freak out. Gotta go to the square with an appropriate outfit, walk like they do and talk like they do, and if you skip on your way there like I always did after watching the Wizard of Oz people will notice. They’ll know you’re weird.

Okay, maybe where I’m from is not as dystopian as I’m describing it. But it almost is, as people who’ve experienced tiny Italian towns will tell you. And I always felt like an alien, and I felt that I had to pretend hard to let my weirdness go unnoticed. I observed what others did and tried to emulate the gestures and words they used, trying to let everyone know I was not as alien as I felt. Sometimes it slipped out, it slipped out a lot actually. So everyone probably still thinks I’m a little odd. Which I am. And today, living in East London, amongst plenty of other happy weirdos, I wonder why I still want to hide it sometimes. Why do I check the beer level? Why do I calculate the average colour of the outfits worn in the room to make sure I don’t stand out too much? Is this something everyone does? “Fitting in” was so hard for me growing up and I realised that I am most proud of myself while being my extreme self.

Is this a realisation? A pearl of wisdom? Oh Lord won’t you just buy me a sewing machine.

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