This week’s question:
Growing up, was there something about you that made you feel as if you didn’t belong to your family?
I could never doubt that I was a natural-born product of my family .Even though my sister tried to tell me that I was adopted when I was 3 or 4, and I was smart enough not to believe her,.I was always told that I looked just like her and we resembled my father’s side. Strangely, we no longer look much alike. However, I have often been told that you can tell that my brother and I are related, (indeed, since he has been in and out of hospitals and nursing homes the last few years, all of the staffs have been saying so on a regular basis), but even when my sister and I would be asked if we were twins or even mistaken for each other, I never heard anyone say that there was a resemblance between the two of them.
There is one big difference between me and the rest:
I am an introvert.
I was terribly, horribly shy.
I still have to fight it.
My father was not always a social man, but put in public or with others, he could laugh and joke and have a good time. Everyone liked my mother; she kept friends from her youth and gained more all the time. Our family dynamics would become greatly interrupted, so the amount of people in our house ebbed and flowed, but when things went reasonably well the place was full with everyone…
except my friends.
Not that they weren’t welcomed when they came, but they were few and far between.
Plus, mine never got very far as becoming a ‘family friend’ as my brother’s and sister’s friends did. My brother’s friends still contact me, as do my sister’s. Her friends called my mother “Mom” more often than not. My brother’s friends would come by later in life just to see her.
My sister was (is) a clever girl, but would rather have died a hundred deaths than have anyone think of her as a nerd. (Thank Goodness, I see the lines blurring for my grandchildren; you can be popular AND smart now.) She underachieved in school because she was a beauty queen and popular and would not allow herself to be seen as smart. (She was smarter than she let on). I, on the other hand, shirked what could have been fun-time at school to lunch with the quiet, bookish girls, (with whom I had less in common than you’d think), rather than have my brains not be taken seriously. But then, my teachers would not let me hang out with anyone with whom they thought would be a bad influence on me, which was darned-near everyone. I really had no choice; once you are labeled as a ‘child genius’, no one cuts you any slack. Papers and school work must be exemplary, behavior that was anything less than perfect was punished hard and immediately in public, even if the infringement was misunderstanding or a mistake.
Mistakes by me were simply not tolerated.
My classmates were allowed to be kids; my sister got away with murder and any boyish conduct of my brother’s was laughed-off.
My brother was quite smart. Even now, in times when he is most lucid, he can give you all sorts of details about everyone on the old TV shows, including all of the guest stars on “Gunsmoke”, or the history surrounding a certain event on any show. He was not a genius, more of a solid B student, with an occasional A in history and math. However, he could walk into a room and walk out being friends with everyone there, everyone of every age. His teachers were crazy about him, (it was curse to have former teachers of either of my siblings later on for completely opposite reasons), and his friends’ parents were very fond of him. They trusted him their cars …and their daughters.
Not very popular. Not At All.
And it hasn’t gotten much better.
I’ve tried to buck-up and be out-going at times in my life, but I know that I tried too hard in some circles and more often than not, made a fool of myself and became more of an outcast than ever.
I guess I tried to overcompensate for my talented, but underachieving, parents.
So, less than magnetic personality-wise, introvert-wise, I am far from most of my family most of the time.
My sister still says that I am a Martian.
I know that I said this before, but the Warner Brother’s cartoon “Rocket Bye Baby”, where a Martian baby is mixed-up with a Human baby, begins with the phrase “In the Summer in 1954…”, (which is when I was born). This is what my sister says that is her proof of my Martianhood.
(Never mind that the babies are boys; they passed me off as a boy for the first few weeks of my life, but that is another story.)
However, it’s all my family. One friend said “I’d go so far as to say that I have a sense of family to a fault.”
I don’t believe that that is possible. Martian or not.