I must confess, I am a misfit.
This year has been another opportunity to broaden my interests (hello modern history and politics, I literally never knew I would enjoy reading books about you) and further discover myself as an individual.
In particular, I have found comfort in decreasing the amount of energy I often previously spent on trying fit in with everyone else. I'm starting to realise that I never really have been like most other people.
So I'm using this post to cathartically declare myself a misfit.
Where do I begin? First up, i'm definitely not cool. I’ve tried to be — in my early teenage years I grew a side fringe, pouted in photos, pretended I was ‘dumb’ and totally agreed that school was for messing around rather than learning.
As an older teenager I tried to create artificial circles of friends so that I had people to invite me to parties and go on nights out with. It didn’t work. You can’t make a bunch of your separate friends like each other when they don’t understand that you are trying to join them together to make it look like you aren’t actually that much of a loner after all, and they already have their own groups of friends.
Then, when I did go out, I pretended I knew exactly what I was doing and how to dress. I had no clue. Plus, I found it boring and weird being in most night time venues. What was the point in going out with your friends if you couldn’t even have a conversation without losing your voice and your hearing simultaneously?
Fast-forward to work, and I had to pretend yet again that I had any sort of confidence in myself. I pretended in interviews, phone calls and meetings that I wasn’t bricking it in between every word I said.
Now i’m a musician, and I sometimes feel as though I have to pretend I know what to do at gigs. Not just as a performer, but as an audience member. *awkwardly sways*
Why should I have ever have felt I had to pretend? With *very* reluctant ageing (though I still get mistaken as a 14 year old frequently when bare-faced) comes growth, perspective and a decreased reluctance to be who you truly are.
You see, most evenings I simply enjoy sitting alone — in silence — working on music. The thought of giving that up permanently fills me with dread. I would not be a happy person if I traded every single one of those evenings for socialising instead. At most, i'd prefer to give up just one or two per week. I’d be paranoid that I was wasting time I could have otherwise been spending on music.
When I do have some proper, bonafide free time, I either watch youtube videos on varied subjects ranging from beauty and old TV continuity to vlogs in obscure, interesting countries and satire. Recently before bed each night, I have been enjoying books on modern political history.
I still have no official group of friends — just randomers collected from here and there, whom I meet with from time to time. I don’t go to clubs, and find the music too loud for my ears in most venues, including most that I play or ‘spectate’ at! I always bring ear plugs when I remember and put them on discreetly so as not to offend the artist. If you see me watching you play with my hand over one ear, I swear it doesn't mean i'm not enjoying it or I don't think you're amazing. When socialising, I much prefer going to a relaxed, moderately busy bar where I can hear and hold a good conversation with people I like.
I love my family dearly. I still love going on holiday with my parents, and every christmas and new year i’ll always prefer to spend time with them and my two brothers over any party invite.
At the weekends, I like spending time in the countryside and when i’m retired one day the thought of bird-watching genuinely excites me. I already have a book where I tick off each bird I see out and about.
The music I listen to has never and will never be the latest ‘in thing’. There’s too much music for me to physically keep up with and the thought doing so gives me a stress rash. Any critically acclaimed album I love is a pure fluke.
And in terms of my own music, well… I can’t really explain my sound, and any time I ever do I struggle and cringe. I only ever do it because it’s the ‘done thing’ and some people expect it. I get my influences from all kinds of things and all kinds of people, and as such I don’t believe in rigid genre definitions. That’s probably why I love pop music so much — because it is the widest definition of a genre there is.
I’d probably be great on your pub quiz team if you needed someone to be knowledgeable in random pointless trivia you literally never need in your life outside a pub quiz. But if you need someone to be knowledgeable in science or geography, i’d look elsewhere. I never really learnt about those things, and as a consequence there’s basically a huge gap in my brain that must never be spoken of. Apart from in this very blog post, of course.
Documenting the present day and making records of pop culture is also important to me. I make Spotify playlists on all kinds of subjects from protest songs to songs called Work, and I sometimes keep diaries where I record my feelings about the world on a certain day in history. Who am I making these for? Myself, perhaps? My potential future children? Sometimes it’s just me, so that I can look back on significant moments in time and remember them as they truly were beyond media portrayal.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? Most days a rotating combination of all these things are somewhere within my mind, occupying my thoughts in place of “what should I have for tea?” or “when is that programme on TV?”. In the case of the latter, it’s much more likely to be “when is that programme on TV? I need to scour YouTube for my favourite clips from past episodes along with songs used in the series so I can watch them and properly hype myself up for it beforehand.”
In a nutshell, i’m just not what one might consider to be traditionally 'normal'. I’m a deep-thinking, obsessive-compulsive (literally by professional diagnosis), eccentric who likes novelty items and laughing for the 500th time at Mitchell & Webb singing Table of Reds even though I don’t get half of the snooker references. I just guess that the safety play line must be hilarious.
So, err… *clears throat*, I hope I haven’t shattered any illusions. It doesn't mean we can't be friends or you can't stream my album. Oops, inappropriate self-promo.
I suppose what i'm trying to say is that I reckon we should all start feeling just a little bit more comfortable with being ourselves rather than keeping up appearances.