Saturday, 22 September 2012

Channelling my inner outcast

So this week I have been without my laptop because I fell for from horrible human beings internet scam. So my laptop is undergoing some drastic emergency surgery thanks to a very helpful ict department I have access to. It’s nice to have friends with useful skills. I actually wrote this on paper not in word as usual which I am actually enjoying in an old fashioned kind of way.

The main thing I miss from my laptop’s unscheduled absence, is the social interaction online. I grew up being the geeky, freakishly tall, odd girl (no princess diaries jokes please) and with that came an acceptance of solitude that I rarely resented having observed the strange beings that were my classmates and decided I was better off without. I was therefore, an elected hermit rather than an outcast but the effect was the same no matter what I called it. I never avoided social interaction but I rarely found someone entertaining enough to interact with.

From what I can tell, all comprehensive schools have the same social set up:

I spent years 7 and 8 in ring C. I worked my way into low B thanks to the year 9 Spanish exchange when I became useful for my skills; not Spanish, which I was pretty rubbish at, but I’ve always been quick thinking which was defiantly needed in that exchange. In year 10 my popularity was accidentally skyrocketed when I befriended a lady in waiting to the school queen. This girl was probably at best a high B but was the queen’s oldest friend so was escalated by default. I spent a year with the A* and found it to be useful but exhausting! If the politicians want to sort out international relations they should employ super popular teenage girls. Every move they make is carefully calculated an analysed to consider all parties involved, most are done to sabotage but they know they are stronger in a group so they keep together. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer and all that.

By year 11 I was established enough socially to start taking risks and doing what I wanted for a change. I kept the A* group close but I fitted more with the aloof art crew that ran the B ring. I enjoyed being in this group. They were all individuals rather than a hierarchy of drones. They threw good parties and I was allowed to explore who I was a bit more. Being an ex A* I was given enough respect to be influential. I rarely used this power but it was nice to have. I suspect that’s what saved me from being suspended when I accidentally spray painted the art steps neon green, I hope that’s still there!

But when I was seventeen either I changed or the people changed and being social was now appealing, even more inconceivable I got a boyfriend. Maybe it’s because I moved school and I was given the chance for people to see me for who I was then, rather than who I was in year 7 when all my previous school mates met me. Also I was in a more academically competitive and stimulating environment. Maybe to competitive and stimulating as it was an accurate joke that all enrolled at my school would at some point a) have a mental breakdown, b) develop an eating disorder or c) become a slut. Some girls got bingo but that another topic entirely. I won’t tell you which I got.

One of the best hipster memes
So that’s the story of how I became social. I moved to uni and continued to interact and socialise enough to make me one of the most recognised individuals in my class. No matter how much time goes by, I never lose the outcast identity I learnt from preschool onwards. I guess that’s my inner hipster saying that I was uncool before it was cool. However because of my resent gullibility leading t my loss of my laptop, it’s taken me a while to adjust to only being able to communicate to the cat most of the time. Yes I know I have a mobile but that’s imposing interaction on someone rather than being online implying a mutual availability for a conversation. I guess I’ve become more socially conforming and dependant than I thought.

I wonder what that does to us personally? How many people define themselves by others value of them? Having such an external identity must be unhealthy. Having realised that I was leaning towards this external identity I will make an effort to find some of my self-worth from myself. Not that being social isn’t a vital part of life but its apparently easy to lose yourself in it and forget that you are an individual outside of your social group and be happy with yourself without others approval, especially a young adult today.

Also, as this blog shows, I tend to move about a lot. Not only have I spent the last year in Australia and moved school at 17 and then to uni at 19, but I have spent months at school in Germany, a summer traveling through brazil and time in many other countries. I love to travel which means that I meet a large amount of people but never know them in person for more than a year as this seems to be the maximum amount of time I stay anywhere. I guess this could be partly the cause for my need for social interaction. If I rarely make long term friends then I am relying on new approval all the time. I don’t mean to say that I don’t have long term friends. I have two that I have known and been close to for nearly 18 years and I have half a dozen I have known for about 5 years. One of them recently told me that he couldn't move about as much as I do because he thought that leaving everything behind was too higher cost for a new experience. Is that true? Am I sacrificing social stability to explore? I always looked at it as: those that mattered would stay in my life and those that fell out of my life weren’t worth having. But now I think maybe I’m loosing out. So I have two options: either I chose to stay in one place and settle down and put the man hours in to make a stable life with the social approval the human psyche seems to crave. Or I can become more internalised and rely on myself and continue my pattern of exploration, meeting dozens of new people but probably never seeing them again once I leave.

However I am NOT thanking the low lives that compromised the security of my laptop. They can rot.