I am the epitome of what some would call the “aloof space-case.” I can estimate with relative accuracy that I spend more time dreaming throughout the day than I do during the night. Long ago I abandoned fleeting attempts at rationality tugging upon the invisible ribbon of practicality tied to my mind. Throughout waking life, my conscience floats aimlessly amongst the clouds, gently gliding amidst misty fantasies and soaring across ideas. It has a distinct talent for effortlessly avoiding what it considers to be the mundane, however necessary, tasks and responsibilities required for survival in this society. My seemingly perpetual state of mental absence does not render me completely clueless and unaware of the stirrings occurring within my immediate surroundings. Quite the contrary: I’m a rather observant, psychically absorbent space-case, though afflicted by a severe handicap of easy distraction triggered by a vulnerability to boredom. I possess sharp, penetrating powers of observation and have an abundance of insights about the world around me; what person does not, after all? The true folly of my character lies in my mind’s erratic tendency to take quick stock of these observations and then recklessly drift off to the unending source of pleasures, adventures and absurdities of my overactive imagination. Or is that the greatest strength of my nature?
This delirious detachment and simultaneous transmutation of the world around me maintains both positive and negative externalities. The positive, I surmise, would lie in my mind’s intense desire to discover and engage in the rare and precious gems of genuine and sentimental experiences in contemporary society. My famished brain is always on the hunt for the intangible treasures of the physical plane such as love, compassion, empathy, music, charity, God and truth. Ironically, the downfall of having this spacey mind is somewhat connected to the benefit. My short attention span (and to an uncertain extent that is debatable), arrogance or ignorance which rejects aspects of society it deems to be shallow or uninteresting, can at times be a direct defiance and challenge to some of the standards of our culture and society. No example better highlights the malaise my odd mind can bring upon the person apparent to the public and at the mercy of their judgment than my fashion sense.
My short existence in this dimension has been punctuated with phases of dotted outfits and crossed accessories scribbled together by what probably appeared to be a blind dyslexic. Needless to say I survived a cruel and painfully extended ugly duckling period. When I was old enough to dress myself, the daily standard for years, at least a decade of my life anyway, generally boiled down to a loose pair of jeans and a baggy t-shirt. This was suitable for the rugged lifestyle of a nine-year-old tomboy who adored playing street hockey and climbing trees. Culture did not influence my choice of dress during those years; comfort, ease and the necessity of durable, cheap clothing to endure whatever trouble I was to get myself into for the day did. Puberty hit sometime around sixth or seventh grade, a time when children tend to be the most cruel and desperate and their impressionable, undeveloped minds fall victim to the warped stereotypes of MTV and, ironically, Seventeen Magazine. So while I watched a good size portion of my peers smear their pouts with bubble-gum-flavored LipSmackers balm before gym class, and wore their Abercrombie and Fitch, Aeropostale, or whatever other overpriced, name-brand preppy store they convinced their parents to be inconspicuously dragged into while trying to look like independent mall rats to the cute looking sixteen-year-old pimple faced male sales clerks, with great conviction, I was left looking straight up fugly. Still rocking baggy, tattered, hole-plagued (real holes, not those fashion holes some designers charge an extra twenty five dollars to scrape up a pair of jeans with, called “fashion wear” or something) J’nco jeans and extra large Old Navy shirts, (Old Navy being a high class retailer to me at the time) I certainly did not meet any standard of beauty that society, or my fellow classmates of the male orientation, would deem glamorous of an eleven year old girl. It was not that I was completely oblivious to the fact that I was suppose to be dressing girly and trying to attract dates for the most important event, and perhaps even day, of our hormonal and greasy pre-adolescence lives, the D.A.R.E dance, it’s that I could not easily grasp why I would have to go to all that trouble, and my consistent and repetitive failures when I did try to conform.
Cosmetics were a nightmare that started with me swiping mascara on my eyebrows at age ten and ended in a collision of harsh, uneven red lipstick borrowed from Bozo the Clown, in addition to running eyeliner that put “heroin sheik” dark circles under my eyes, making me look as though I was crying all day. Which I might have been after smiling at a cute boy in homeroom and having him ask, “Are you wearing makeup today?” To which I would reply dreamily, “Yes” and he would say, “It shows,” in a cold, deflated and disgusted tone. Nor did I achieve any great success in trying to pull off a pseudo-preppy look of high-heeled leather booties, a plaid skirt, white shirt and one of my father’s red silk dress ties hanging loosely around my neck (thank you Avril Lavigne). The day I flaunted that massacre, I sashayed into the class I shared with the boy I had been crushing on since third grade. I certainly did gain his attention; he walked right up to me and told me bluntly, “you look really weird in that.” “Thank you,” I replied just as directly, “That’s exactly what I was going for,” uncertain whether it was said out of total honesty or as a defense mechanism. Though I would never go on to gain any popularity amongst the glitter-cheeked cheerleaders, or even get a date for the D.A.R.E dance; consequently attending the most important event of our greasy hormonal lives’ solo and wearing a misses formal gown only to find a gymnasium crammed with kids wearing jeans andtheir “D.A.R.E” t-shirts, bouncing around in a moon jump and playing games, I did find solace in the baby punk rock crowd. It’s not that I shared their same passion for bands like Good Charlotte and Sum 41, but more or less that my horrible, unflattering style of dress did not completely clash with their black heavy eyeliner look, intentional mind you, and safety pin sensibilities. Instead of trying to live up to the CosmoGirl! ideal, I simply secluded myself amongst kids that were trying to rebel against that image.
Throughout my sinister and volatile freshman year of high school, I still looked like what some would consider their homely, grim and beastly-looking stepsister, only with more zits and an explosive temperament bursting with irritability and angst. Again, I did nothing to live up to even an acceptable or presentable appearance; I did not feel as though I had an inner beauty to work with anyhow. Unfortunately, the baby punk rockers excommunicated me from their clique since I could not afford to shop at Hot Topic, and did not feel inclined to attend their pagan rituals in which they attempted to summon Kurt Cobain’s spirit from the underworld via Ouijia Boards and casting curse spells on Courtney Love. Instead I sunk back into the stoner group, which worked out well for me since the potheads cared about nothing else aside from marijuana and getting high. Fashion was of virtually no concern to them; a majority of the individuals consisting of this group could not remember what they themselves were wearing at that very moment. However, astonishingly enough most could easily recall every single distinct detail of the first time they got high years ago, the best ice bongs they ever hit, and their favorite flavors of sativa featured in High Times with a crystal clarity akin to that of a Buddhist monk. During this time of my life, I usually concealed my pudgy baby fat under an enormous hoodie and still preferred jeans and street shoes. This standard combination, a staple of the stoner crowd, served me well during the days of wandering forest preserves aimlessly in a daze during all seasons of the year, all hours of the night.
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Laura, Toucan Editrice
Enjoy, and Viva La Toucan
Laura, Toucan Editrice