That’s not just a feeling, but a statement. Oh, I possess ten fingers and ten toes like everybody else, but ever since socialization became my expected way of life I’ve known that the rest of the world and I didn’t see eye to eye. Comparing my view of things to those around me developed into an obsession more consuming than any debilitating OCD. My reality became dependent upon how I was perceived by my peers, existing solely as an impression in the eyes of others. In high school, refusing to laugh at immature jokes and cruel pranks, while others held their sides and shed tears of laughter, became the equivalent to social suicide. In college, something as innocuous as small talk could be pure torture. The struggle to exist on the same plane as those around me was mentally and physically draining, with minimal success. Why was I the only one who seemed perfectly content to be alone with the thoughts inside their own head, and everyone else considered reflection to be exclusive to time spent in front of a mirror?
I’m not sure when I actually became okay with being different, probably shortly after I was married. I had somehow managed to climb over the biggest social hurdle there is (actually my wife pulled me over it), and I had a great job I really enjoyed, so outward conformity became much easier. For years and years it remained that way, until something life-changing happened.
Have you ever taken a wrong turn and ended up stumbling across someplace special? A hidden alcove full of wonderment and knowledge, one you would have never known about had it not been for your poor sense of direction. And in that place you are accepted without hesitation, made to feel right at home, even lavished with praise and gifts for the simple act of caring.
That happened to me when I started writing again and ventured blindly into this blogging community. You might think that as a writer, becoming part of this virtual world would have been a dream come true. Look at its advantages…hundreds and hundreds of creative minds and imaginations sharing their innermost thoughts with one another, inspirational stories of accomplishment and even more up-lifting tales of morale support of one another. There’s just one catch. As comfortable and inviting as this community is, I found myself once again feeling like the odd man out.
Even though two-thirds of Bloggers in general are male, there’s very few men blogging in this particular arena. Of the 530 ‘Like Minded’ following me now, only 44 are men (and much fewer than that actually leave comments). That’s only 8.3% . Seventy-five percent of bloggers are also younger than the age of 35, so I’m on the steep slope of that bell curve as well (I’ll be 54 in December).
But the biggest separator of all is the genre I write in. I’m an adult mystery/suspense guy. I play around in other genres with my short stories, but at the end of the day it’s the mysteries I come home to. But most of the blogs in this community belong to YA/MG kidlit writers, with a smattering of other genres sprinkled in. I don’t even read YA. I’ve not read Harry Potter, Twilight, Hush Hush, Shiver, Wake, Beautiful Creatures or Speak. I did read Hunger Games, but only so I could see for myself what the fuss was about. At times it’s difficult for me to connect with topics being posted and I wonder if that wrong turn I took that landed me here, was a mistake.
Oh yeah, I have no interest in NaNo either. I don’t write that way.
Like I said, I’m different. But here’s something I’ve come to realize in the blogs, and I take comfort in it. So are you! Being different means being unique…original…an individual (waves at Nicole)! Most of us are wanting to stand out...without being seen. A writers mind doesn’t work like anyone else’s. A writer is perfectly content to be alone with the thoughts inside their own head, immersed in imagination. Introversion is the rule, not the exception for us. We come alive in the written word, but stumble over our own tongues in public forums. We paint language, each on a different canvas using unique interpretations, but fully understanding the trials and tribulations behind the effort of others. We are all intoxicated by our craft and shrug away the opinions of those who cannot understand.
I am different…just like you. We each stand alone…together.
If you feel different, now’s the time to speak up.
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