Socially awkward people

March 30, 2016

Most people probably consider me weird….in a cute way, not the scary weird….when I emerge from the jungle into civilization….for the first week at least….I am very weird to others. Coming to think of it…I am very weird to myself as well!

Not a day goes by in the first week when I don’t get at least two or three soulful ladies stopping to ask me whether there is someone I would like to call or just sitting next to me…as they look on with that familiar motherly concern, wondering what a straaaaaaaaaange man.

The first week is usually the hardest…I am always bumping into things…it’s like trying to walk the length of a boat that’s tilting furiously from side to side. I am not accustomed to walking in straight line for miles and miles on perfectly flat pavements….that sort of terrain doesn’t exist in the field – my legs don’t have that sort of city muscle memory – all they seem to be able to do is zig zag walk that’s usually most suited on rough and undulating terrain….so that’s how I usually walk in the city during the first week. I can walk for hours. I can even walk from Boon Lay to Pasir Ris and it wouldn’t be far at all.

It’s not unusual for me to walk so far that when people send me back to my car – they are flabbergasted and ask, ‘did you really walk that far?’

From time to time during the first week in the city, I stop and look at things and at people – I twist my head from side to side like an eagle to try to understand what I am looking at…people around usually get nervous whenever I do this. At times they call the police or a security guard appears and stands besides me….fortunately most of the time, the feeling passes and I move right on.

I don’t expect anyone to ever understand me…I don’t…I never expect anything from others that’s just the way I am….A few days ago. I sat at McDonalds and I couldn’t stop myself from crying….I don’t even know why I did what I did….it just came out that way like how one’s trying so hard to open a stuck can and suddenly it all explodes in a shower of stuff.

You see it was the ice in my cup of lemon tea….it was so very mesmerizing….it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in this world.

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‘I think when one grows up in a world where one is expected to think, walk, talk, do, behave etc etc the same way as everyone else…..when one is different – life can truly only be miserable and hellish.

Sooner or later, the man who is different from all other men learns – the nail that sticks out will always be hammered down!

So eventually, this man learns to be ashamed of who he really is…soon he even regards his difference as an embarrassment like urinating in bed. Give this man more time and he might even believe his difference is an affliction of sorts – a character flaw…that is a pithy summary of how one goes about killing a good very thing!

That is HOW, a man will begin to dismantle the very person he was meant to be ALL in the name of trying to be someone who he’s NEVER meant to be – in perhaps the same way one tears away at a thing till it’s really just the sum of all it’s useless parts…and eventually that man who is different from all other men just turns into yet another robot which resembles other faceless robots in that glob of humanity where everyone is exactly like everyone else.

That is why whenever I see people who are different….I sit quietly beside them and move only very slowly…I don’t say a word and at times it may take days, weeks and even months…but eventually, they all look up and smile…maybe that’s their way of saying. Thank you for appreciating my difference. Thank you for seeing it as a beautiful and not a shameful and ugly thing. Thank you for encouraging me to be who I always want to be.

I guess what I am try to say is we all need to make an effort to be kind and considerate to people who may be different from us…..not just to shut them out of our lives or dismiss them as crazies and deviants just because we don’t either have the intelligence or breadth of experience to wrap our heads around the idea of what are they doing or even how people who are different can contribute and possibly save people and planet…..killing differences by insisting on sameness is not the way to seek out beauty in this world. Yes, often beauty needs to be encouraged, nourished and coaxed out, but when it stands before you…you know it’s worth the effort.

I’ve always wanted to be with the land. Even in the moment of my youth when adults ask me, what do you want to be when you grow up? I will show them a colorful picture of the man from Del Monte that I once tore out from a magazine….most of the time, they manage only a very weak smile followed by….no land how to be farmer?…but I give them the same answer again after they ask me the same question. Usually they get angry with me when I don’t change my answer.

You see sometimes it’s really like that when you are just different….you just have to be intensely proud of your right to be different – to even insist that you’re not hurting anyone, but you have every right as a member of the human species to live your life under your own terms and not just to live it so as to make fulfill the expectations of others…who usually want you to be like everyone else – and where possible hold on very tightly to who you want to be and never ever let go, even if no one wants to talk or play with you.

Not even when they give you strange looks. Not even when mother’s scold their children for mixing with you….that is the first valuable lesson I learnt very early on in life….how to be totally comfortable all by myself…and with that one suddenly realizes one has wings and can fly!…it all begins there and then – that’s the point of inception, when one is able to come to terms with the idea, it’s OK to be different from other people…it’s OK that I or you don’t ever see the point of living our life or chasing after the things most people crave for – that’s just another way of saying, I rather do my own thing and go my own way and I don’t ever expect anything from you…..but it’s hard not to like me these days….as now that I’ve grown up, my manners are really quite impeccable….only never forget, I am most definitely yours truly, always very different!’

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