Monday, October 01, 2007

Being Different.

Back when I was young, no one else around me was named Natasha. This, I liked. In fact, when I was about four or five and at an amusement park, an adult other than my father or mother called out "Tasha!"

All three of us turned, but she was calling her daughter, also named Natasha.

I was jealous. How dare someone else have my name! It was mine. No one else’s!

I suppose it’s all my name’s fault. I’ve always wanted to be different. No matter the situation, the time in my life, whatever, I’ve always--whether consciously or unconsciously--chosen a different path.

To me, peer pressure was never an issue, except that if my friends chose one way, I was likely to choose the other. I liked being different, even though I’m a terrible people-pleaser.

Most of my life is slightly unconventional. I teach differently than most, I write in a tiny niche that is different, I prefer my sex a little different, I don’t have a house and two kids, I’m self-employed, I’ve only worked a 9 to 5 for five months, my DH is over twenty years older than me, and I hardly do anything that other people my age are doing. (Kids, dinner parties, houses, cars, climbing the career ladder, keeping up with the Joneses, etc.)

Right now, I’m considering another path that is different. (I’m not saying I’m different than everyone, just different from "normal.")

When I came back to the table at Borders today, where DH was reading to keep me company while I wrote, I realized how very happy my choices make me. It struck me how insane it is to try to fit into society’s molds and expectations. Every single difference in me brings me my greatest happiness.

I mean, different is just so much fun.

I suppose the downside to my name was that I never could buy those notepads with my name on them. Although my name is more common now and is often represented in those personalized items, it wasn’t when I was growing up. So no pencils that said "Natasha" on them.

But if that’s the only downside to being different, I’ll take it.

(And I’m not saying being "normal" isn’t fun. I’m sure it’s as much fun for some people as my life is for me, LOL.)

Any thoughts? What paths have you chosen in your life that were "different than?" Any regrets?

14 bonus scribbles:

Erica Orloff 10/01/2007 06:19:00 PM  

OMG, did I love this post (though I am now wondering what kind of sex you like, Spy, LOL!). :-)

I was ALSO the only Erica I knew growing up. Then I skipped a grade. Then another. And so I was always younger (and smarter and different that way) than my peers--hence, no peer pressure for me either. And though I have kids, I was crazy and had FOUR, not two, in an age when people don't have big families anymore. Then I had a kid after 40. And we want to adopt and increase our family when we can financially (adoptions are costly). No dinner parties, just boisterous poker nights . . . and so I don't know, I really related to being different. I'm the "weird" mom--the goth-looking mom (always dress in black--not to be morbid, but so I don't have to match clothes--it's easier that way). I love being different. I'm even, at 5' 10" or 11" or so, much taller than everyone else. :-)

No regrets. Except that I didn't have MORE kids . . . and that I got married. I would have had them out of wedlock . . . just don't know that I believe in the paper, but my guy does, so there you go. And I would have finished grad school (started at NYU, but ran out of money). But . . . you know, I'm where I am and happy that way. I also haven't worked a 9 to 5. Can't do it.

spyscribbler 10/01/2007 07:00:00 PM  

Erica, that's such a cool story! It must be the name thing! I think I will regret not having kids. It's not a choice I get to make right now, but ...

LOL ... if I dressed all in black, it would be for precisely that reason! I never buy clothes until DH forces me to (I'd rather buy books). I lost the stylish gene awhile back. I've always got my head too much in my writing or music or whatever to bother about clothes.

I hear you about the 9 to 5! Major ugh! Although, I do sometimes dream about working in a little cafe. I don't know why. I like talking to people. I don't like the tied-down feeling, though.

Susan Helene Gottfried 10/01/2007 08:31:00 PM  

No wonder I like you so much. I march to my own beat, all the time, and the hell with anyone who doesn't like it.

I had to share my name with others, though. Frequently.

Ello 10/01/2007 10:06:00 PM  

Remember that Doors song "People are Strange"? That was my theme song. My hubby says I'm a bit of an oddity. But I am what I am. I'm not a typical girl, not a typical wife, not a typical mom. But that works so well for me.

ANd thanks so much for your comments to my excerpt. They were incredibly helpful!

spyscribbler 10/01/2007 10:17:00 PM  

Amen, Susan! You gotta live life on your own terms, you know?

Btw, even though I was jealous of that one girl who had my name, I was also jealous that "Susans" got personalized pencils and lunchboxes and notebooks and signs for their door ...

spyscribbler 10/01/2007 10:27:00 PM  

Ello, that is super! Not typical is the fun way to live life. Maybe it's a writer thing?

I hope my comments were helpful. I don't know much about critiquing writing, so I just go with what a reader experiences. Who knows? It's all relative and subjective.

Bernita 10/02/2007 08:12:00 AM  

Even with kids, there's a "normal" number - and I broke it.
I think we were separated at birth.

Cat Marsters & Kate Johnson 10/02/2007 09:12:00 AM  

Plus, backwards your name is Ah, Satan. That's fun!

I'm 5'10, blonde, and have plenty of curves. I could either be the bimbo, or be different. Guess what? I went different. People look at me anyway.

I've never really wanted to be like other people, which is possibly why I chose this nuts career. It's certainly why I occasionally dye my hair hot pink or purple and why I dress like Penelope Pitstop's mad cousin.

Edie 10/02/2007 09:35:00 AM  

Spy, this is a fun post. I wonder if a lot of writers feel different. I think a lot of time I'm an observer, although in my interactions with other people I try to be in the moment. And I've only met one other Edie my whole life, so I was always different that way.

I'm wondering about your sex life too, lol. And I wish I could wear black all the time, but I have a cat and can only wear black when I'm leaving the house right away.

spyscribbler 10/02/2007 01:57:00 PM  

LOL, Bernita! Separated at birth, I love that!

Cat & Kate, I never noticed that, sheesh! Oh, I wish I were 5'10" and still blonde! Next summer I want to do some pink highlights. They're so pretty!

Edie, I know another Eddie, short for Edwina. Is Edie short for anything? I have a cat, too. I also have those pet tape roller things that remove some cat hair. One in each room, in the car ...

Edie 10/02/2007 03:42:00 PM  

Spy, I put my black slacks on the bed for a MOMENT once, and they came up covered with cat hairs. Now I know, they have to go straight from the hanger to my body, no sitting down.

My full name is Edyce, like "Edith" but with an "ess" sound instead of "th".

spyscribbler 10/02/2007 03:54:00 PM  

Oh, Edie, that's gorgeous! Is Edie pronounced like Edith, too? (As opposed to Eddie?)

About the cat hair, I'm always covered in it. The weirdest thing is, DH can pick up the cats, hug them, hold them, pet them, whatever ... and his shirts have NO cat hair on them!!!!

I don't understand this, because even after I roll myself a million times, I'm still covered in it.

Edie 10/03/2007 08:51:00 AM  

Thanks! Edie is pronounced by saying the letters "E" and "D" - like "easy". :)

That is strange that cat hairs don't stick to your husband. When Belle is in a cuddly mood, I look like I'm wearing a hair shirt.

spyscribbler 10/03/2007 09:57:00 AM  

Me, too! I really don't get it. It irks the heck out of me. It defies the laws of physics! It doesn't make sense!

It drives me crazy, LOL!