“I am not my withdrawal”

Project Description:

When you’ve been pushed around
When all your walls come down
And when they call you misfit
It’s hard to stop the rage…
…See the one nobody wanted
Shattered by a world of lies
See the misfit in the mirror die…
–Lesley Roy, “Misfit”

It’s always easiest for me to express myself in song lyrics. I think the word misfit is the most accurate one that describes me. I’ve probably been this way since I moved to New Jersey. My childhood was great—I had friends, people liked me—until fifth grade. I attended a public school, and the first way I realize that I didn’t fit in was my attitude towards school. I was, and still am, very serious about my education. As a younger child, I attended private and parochial schools overseas, where I was expected to be respectful and obedient. My first “misfit” memory over here was during my first week of school in third grade. A teacher entered the classroom to speak with my teacher; and I, because I was taught to, stood up and greeted her: “Good morning, Ms.—’’ Of course this let escape some titters among my classmates. My second memory at that school was in fifth grade, during a hiatus between teachers. I don’t even remember if we had a substitute teacher, or if we were unsupervised, because that was just as likely. A game of “Spin the Bottle” was on, apparently because that was what American ten-year-olds did at the time, and I sidled over, with no intent to join. My mother had taught me about all these practices growing up, so I honestly did not care for them. However, sensing my presence, one of the girls looked up and merely said: “If you can’t fit in, don’t sit in.” Thus began my solitude.

I’ll skip to college. I refer to myself as a misfit, because I just don’t fit in anywhere. I won’t attribute the problem to family issues, or psychological trauma. I feel more comfortable by myself. I’ve come to the point where I don’t even mind if I’m not invited to do something or go somewhere. Alone, I don’t have to worry about other people’s judgments or opinions. I can operate on my schedule and do activities that I actually enjoy, instead of standing around awkwardly at Terrace with whomever I came with so I don’t look too out of place. I am an introvert. I prefer to be able to write—songs, poems, anything—with soft music playing in the background. I would much rather read Jane Eyre in bed than be in a large crowd of people “dancing” to loud electronic music. At the risk of sounding cliché, I think that mixing and looping tracks—creating my own music—gets me just as happy as someone who has just returned from a night out on the Street, if not more so. My picture states that I feel as though I am unwanted: “I am not my withdrawal.” I’m not. My withdrawal has kept me happy (or as happy as possible away from my loved ones), sane, and out of therapy.