Last year, I took an English lit course on "Freaks". We examined how freaks are viewed in films and literature. We talked of circus freaks, and psychological freaks, but not the other kind of freak. The kind of freak that is hurled as an insult from one insecure teenager to another.
I'm a bit of an expert on the subject, as I was one.
I had a rough childhood. Rough in the white, middle class, sense of the word, that is. Socio economic priveldge or not, I still suffered. I was picked on mercilessly for my entire education. Starting in kindergarden, until grade 12.
Along the way, I got sick of everybody treating me like a 'freak' for no reason.
I was sick of feeling bad for it. Sick of wondering why people hated me so much. I'd try so hard to fit in, and i'd still be shunned.
Finally, I caught a glimpse of the "in crowd" the first year of jr.high. My tormentors from elementary school gave me a break for the first month or so, as my "best friend" had started hanging out with the popular kids, they let me tag along for a little while too.
Then as I got closer, I realized, why was I trying so hard to be like these people, to get them to like me, when I didn't even like them?
It's not like I walked away from popularity or anything. Pretty soon the popular kids realized they didn't like me much either. I went back to being tormented.
|I wear black on the outside, because black is how I feel on the inside.|
-Unlovable, The Smiths
So I decided to carve out a new image for myself. Instead of dressing in exactly what the cool girls did, which had at one point seemed so important to me, I decided to o the opposite. I started dressing like the people in my favorite bands did.
I could relate to them a hell of a lot better than I did to my peers, so I emulated them.
In their music I found comfort, I found hope. I realized there were other people out there who felt like me. I took comfort in their sad songs. Because I was sad. All the time.
I reached a rebellious epiphany. If popular people tried so hard to be like everyone else, I would try just as hard to not be like everyone else.
So I dyed my (then blonde) hair black, to the horror of my parents, and started dressing in all black, to even greater horror of my parents. This change in appearance had them convinced that, before you know it, it'd be in a back alley somewhere with a needle in my arm. While in reality, I spent all my time outside of school holed up in our basement watching Tim Burton movies and listening to music, as I was a loner. And I revelled in it. I had finally found a way to own my outsider status, and worked to maintain it. The only friends I had were the ones I made online from band forums, and good ol' livejournal.
I also looked a bit like a Tim Burton character, 'staring girl' during this time.
I liked that I started to scare people at school. I liked that now when people called me "freak" they had a reason to.
I was finally in control of my otherness. And it felt good.
I didn't have any friends. I didn't need them. I was happier being on my own. Donned in black, listening to my favorite bands for comfort. I far preferred drawing or reading in the library over lunch instead of listening to inane gossip and tales about getting high over the weekend.
Eventually, I dyed my hair red (crimson glow, to be exact), and started incorporating some pops of colour here and there in my wardrobe.
And somehow, i've gotten to where I am today, style wise.
Not afraid of colour anymore.
And sometimes, I think of dying my hair black again.
...if only it wasn't such a pain to get it back to red.