I am aware that many of my interests are in humans whose existence is peripheral to society. I could speculate why this is. My lifelong self image has been one of someone who is confused by the norms. Eventually I learned to dislike many of them.
While some of this can be attributed to the usual teenage adolescent and subsequent adult angst, at this age it feels more like a theme.
As a child, I know I was made to feel special. I was the preacher’s kid. There was one woman named Elizabeth who they tell me took me for nature walks and pointed out the beauty around us. I don’t remember this, but I think it might have something to do with my basic love of beauty.
But I can see how I was a spoiled kid. At Crescent Elementary in Greeneville, Tennessee, I remember being one of the smart boys. Boys, as I remember, were never as smart as the smart girls, but most of my teachers treated me as though I was smart. This definitely put me on the outside along with a definite lack of sports interest.
By the time the fam moved from a cozy segregated southern town to Flint, Michigan, a not so cozy segregated city, I was definitely someone who enjoyed being alone and not part of the group. I spent many hours alone in my Dad’s new church playing at the piano.
Somehow, I developed an interest in poetry. I can remember loving music from the get go. Popular music contained some poetry, at least for me. But somewhere in there I decided that poetry was interesting. By the time I got to high school I believed it when a teacher told me that reading poetry was more valuable and useful than reading the news.
I was on my way to being a full fledged outsider. My interest was also drawn to the arts and music of people on the outside. My only black friend in high school, George Inge, was an artist. He and I hung around with a very smart young Jewish woman, Cheryl Cohen. We were a trio of outsiders. I have lost touch with George but Cheryl is living in Southern California and we have reconnected via the Facebooger.
But what I mean to say is that I can see that the music, novels, and poetry of African Americans, the poetry and novels of Native Americans, and actually any art that is coming from someplace other than what feels like mainstream attracts me.
This mornings exercise music was the Bulgarian choirs of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares.“
I can remember being in a CD section of a bookstore and realizing that by quitting my job at the local Catholic church my income was going to plummet. Time to buy some CDs. The 2 CD set of the Bulgarian Choirs was one. I have never regretted that. Again this morning I found their music incredibly beautiful and moving.
I come from a family of outsiders. My mother’s father was an illegitimate child who was rejected by his step father for that reason. My mother was a bit of an outsider if one looks at the vastly different way she lived her life from the way her sister and brother lived theirs. They lived on the same block along with my grandparents for most of their lives. Mom moved away and traveled all over the world and lived the life of an itinerate pastor’s wife’s. My father’s father was an irascible troublemaker in the Church of God. Both he and my father experienced being thrust on the outside of the church throughout their lives.
Although I know I have made my own way by insisting on not conforming all my life, I feel now that I have been and am still incredibly lucky to have a life that is rewarding.
I started reading this article hoping it was going to cover how transexuals were being treated by the feminist movement. That wasn’t covered but the article held my attention by talking about the struggles of seeing people as they actually are sexually and otherwise.