Over the next few days, I will publishing some of my pieces from my Creative Nonfiction class this quarter. This piece has one big bad word right at the beginning so I am putting it after the jump. The trailer for the movie it’s reviewing is here.
I cleaned my apartment today. It’s something that’s been hanging over my head for some time. My life feels much more manageable now. It feels like I can actually get things done.
As I have procrastinated cleaning my apartment over the past couple of days, I have spent a lot of time watching television and movies. Television and movies are cool, I guess, but the more I watch them, the more I think that I use them as a crutch. I feel like I watch TV because I am too afraid to go out and live my own life.
It used to be cool to spend a lot of time in fictions. I got to experience things I couldn’t. When I was a kid, this was huge. I didn’t have the means to go visit a city by myself when I was a kid, and so reading stories about cities or watching films set in cities was really cool. But in a little over a month, I’m going to be 21. As far as the law is concerned, I will be an adult. But I’m still stuck in this notion that fictions are my gateway to experiencing life.
I know this seems a little crazy but I think life is my gateway to experiencing life.
I don’t think it’s as simple as walking out of my apartment every once in a while. That’s not going to fix anything. I think I’m afraid that I’m going to make a wrong decision, that I’m going to say something I don’t mean, write down words that don’t make sense.
But this is where television and life have a really convenient similarity: you are always allowed to change the channel.
Today in my psychology class we watched the movie Stand By Me. I’m kind of a sucker for movies about relationships – father and son relationships, brother relationships, and friendships. So Stand By Me, as a movie about four preteen friends, is kind of right up my alley.
There’s this scene in Stand By Me where cool-kid and group-leader Chris is talking to artsy intelligent-kid and narrator Gordon. Gordon asks Chris if he is weird, and Chris says “definitely” in jest. But Gordon keeps pestering him, and finally Chris says, “Yeah, but so what? Everybody’s weird.”
The delivery of this scene, like every scene in Stand By Me is perfect. And so, even though it seems like a cliche, it comes across as profound.
But I was thinking, even though this idea is kind of cliche, we never really think about its implications. If everybody is weird, then weird is normal. And if weird is normal, then everybody is normal. So it kind of makes just as much sense to say that “everybody’s normal” as it does to say “everybody’s weird.” But no one ever says that everybody’s normal.
I think we make up weird. It’s a narrative that we decide to use to self-gratify or to help our world-view. If we can label other things as weird or our own behavior as weird, it creates a gap between those things and behaviors and the “normal” world.
I knew this girl once who described herself as weird. It was something she talked about a lot. But to me, she was no more weird than the rest of the world, but I found it difficult to relate to her simply because she believed she was weird. I think sometimes we assume that the world is normal and we are weird. But it’s actually that self-talk that isolates us from others. Not our perceived weirdness.
What makes you weird/normal?