tl;dr: Right now I feel other, and I don’t know what to do with that.
I’ve struggled with this feeling (or, more accurately, multitude of feelings) of being other for a long time. It’s a feeling that has always been there, to some degree, but now and then it sort of bobs up to the surface of my mind and starts wreaking havoc with my carefully constructed facade of confidence and control.
I don’t know when I first noticed it. Perhaps it was when I started school. I already knew what needed doing having visited so often while my elder sister was in kindergarten. That definitely separated me from the rest of the five year olds. Also, with a birthday in August, I have always been the last to reach the same age as most of my classmates. I could also read and write pretty well (y’know, for a four year old) by then. Game-changer, that.
Some kids made a habit of pointing out that I have also always just looked different than anyone else. Middle-Eastern/Southeast-Asian father, Hispanic (European & Mexican) mother. Not a common mix, especially where I grew up. It probably didn’t help that I was fond of wearing one specific item for long periods of time, be it a jacket or a pair of shoes. Everything else might change, but that one accessory would remain constant for months, if not years.
Then again, I think it may have started even earlier than that…
I have an annoying memory. It is not eidetic or anything like that, I just tend to retain a tiny bit more information, just a few more details, than other people. For example, I can probably remember some small detail from a conversation from two years ago, but I probably won’t remember what the overall conversation was about. Or more interestingly, I might recall that you once twitched a certain muscle in your face when telling a white lie to someone we both were lying to, and then notice that specific twitch years later while you’re attempting to tell me why you were five minutes late to a lunch appointment. I probably won’t even realize that it’s something I’m remembering, it’ll feel like it’s just a hunch. You might say that I didn’t actually even notice the twitch, I simply internalized it, without thinking. If you did say that, I’d be impressed. It’s far more accurate than saying I remembered anything in particular.
So, anyway, getting off that tangent, this other feeling may have started from the time I was born. No, I’m not mental, I don’t think I have any memories of being a very small infant. I just think that maybe my parents treated my differently than they did my sister, or each other. In fact I know they did, specifically my father. In his approach with my sister he was more the rule freak that was also kind and supportive. In approaching me he seemed to be emulating the heat and pressure of the earth crushing down on some organic deposit in the process of making a diamond. Come to think of it, he may have used precisely that analogy in explaining to me why he treats us so differently. He’s been sorely disappointed. A diamond, I am not.
(I don’t think I’ll finish this. I’m tired of thinking. Disregard that “part 1” business. I am good at avoiding my point, aren’t I.)