Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Being a Martian

You know, I love new music, of all kinds, but I can't get a taste for Skrillex at all. Michael is playing it as he performs his morning ablutions before school, and I swear the cat could produce better "music", given a few electronic things to jump on.

Just one example of where I don't actually fit in to any damn category. The people who expect me to like a particular genre of music because of my age group are always disappointed. And then just when they think they've got me pinned down as having unusually broad or contemporary tastes, I go and say that I hate Skrillex. Messes them up all over again.

People love to categorize other people. Little boxes. I am hard to put in a box. Obviously I love this, because I'm hovering over the rebel box, but it also annoys me, because I don't quite fit in that box either. Am I deliberately contrary? Yes and no.

It all begins a long way back really. I don't ever remember a time when I conformed. It began before I have any actual memory of it in fact. I'm just grateful I was a girl, because if I'd been a boy and it had been the other way around it would have been very different. Because in our society girls are allowed to dress and behave like boys, which I did, but even today it's very hard for a boy to dress and behave like a girl and avoid....comment. It's a MASSIVE inequality. But I got lucky. Girls get away with it. Girls can actually cross-dress and nobody minds.

So I was a tomboy, as soon as I could show any preference. Did that start me on a lifetime of being myself and not giving a shit? Well, it didn't hurt.

It became obvious as I got older that some of my tastes were not mainstream. I liked vegetables, and not sweets. This was noticed. Adults said out loud that I was peculiar. Friends wanted to sit next to me so I'd eat their veggies for them. I'd happily hand over my dessert in return, unless it was a favourite. Because, of course, I can't even do the non-sweet thing properly. I love trifle. Only I hate it with cake in it. And so on ad infinitum. The word "except" keeps cropping up.

I loved the Rolling Stones. And Prokofiev. I loved Mickey Mouse. And R.Crumb. I loved football (soccer), and climbing trees. And Blavatsky.

It was all just too confusing for most people, and it really helps you know who your true friends are. I know a couple of my school friends read my blog, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for just accepting me wholesale. The parts that were weird and all. Mind you, you were pretty weird too. Just not quite as weird as me.

The weirdest part of all, was that I was popular. The weird kid is not supposed to be popular. There's another little box crushed.

So, as I said, that's the early part, the basis, perhaps.

Then what?

Well, there was the part about me marrying young and having a brood of kids. Nobody, not even me, expected that. If you had done a survey asking who was most likely to do that, among my peers, I'd have come last. Every aspect of it shocked everyone. We bought a house, with a garden, which I tended lovingly, and I knitted and sewed, and carried babies around while mowing the lawn, and it was just not what anyone expected. But I still had my music and books, so what was the problem? What else was I going to do with my twenties, seeing as I had given up on formal education? I blame others for that. So I went with Plan B.

The next contradiction is national identity. Despite getting into big trouble with a French immigration officer because I insisted on giving my nationality as English, instead of British ("L'anglais n'est pas une nationalité, mademoiselle, c'est une langue!") I have never considered myself British, and never will. I've heard all the arguments, not interested. And yet...............I have no allegiance to the crown, none whatsoever, and no real patriotism. There are many things about the English I reject, and some I despise. I consider myself a world citizen first, and my Englishness to be an accident of birth. Leaving England was easy, and so, in my 31st year, I flew away, without a single tear shed. Intending never to return, actually.

Last week we celebrated 20 years in Canada. Do I feel Canadian? No. Do I still feel English? No. To me it doesn't matter. I could live anywhere. Gypsy soul and all that. I'm perfectly happy where I am, no desire to go anywhere, but if I got an opportunity? If it was suddenly doable to zip off on some adventure somewhere? I wouldn't stop to even pack. This is a massive contradiction, I know. How can I be so content here, and at exactly the same time so ready to leave? Sorry, can't explain it. That's just how it is.

I am neither one thing nor the other, that's the thing. I'm neither English nor Canadian. I'm neither a city girl anymore, nor am I country girl. I don't belong anywhere. I have no cultural, social, or any other group that I fit into, save that of "my friends and family". I get along with most people. I like people. I like people no matter where they come from, or whatever category they may fall into, so long as they are people that I like. If we hit it off, then we do. If I don't like them, nothing we have in common will help.

It means I inevitably disagree with everyone over something. And I'm not exactly shy either (...) so I have to control myself a bit with offering my view, it sometimes requires great tact. That's OK, does me good.

It means I try really hard to understand the POV of others, to attempt to imagine what it's like to walk in their shoes, and I do this from sheer pleasure. Sometimes, I just watch two opposing views going at it, and don't join in, but I'm fascinated. I see truth and stupidity in both sides. I think that's how it's supposed to be.

What about the deeper stuff, ideologies? Religion and politics, and all that jazz?

In many ways I'm far to the left. Then just when you think you've got a handle on that, I'll say something so right-wing, you'll need reviving from the shock. Both the left and right wing dislike me. As far as I'm concerned, this is a sign I'm getting it right. I would never join a political party, it's far too restrictive. My real position is anarchy, but most humans couldn't cope with the self-discipline required, so I know I can't have it for myself. I prefer logic and compassion to what passes for most politics these days, and I'm bored, just bored with arguing the same things over and over, so I tend to just avoid it.

Yesterday, I started yet another Coursera course. I have a new method there. I just sign up for every single course that looks interesting, knowing full well it's impossible to do them all. Then, if it doesn't look promising, I drop it. It's free, I can do that. So, let's tell the truth shall we, yesterday I started FOUR more courses.

Women and the Civil Rights Movement
Introductory Human Physiology
Aboriginal Worldviews and Education

I will definitely continue with the latter two. The first two are iffy, however. I'll watch one more lecture and decide. The purpose of this is to learn, and to enjoy it.

The AIDS course is presented by an excellent lecturer, and is utterly fascinating, I'm already hooked. I think it will get quite challenging, but that's half the fun. The Civil Rights course suffers from the same issues as the one I dropped previously, and I won't dwell on that. The Physiology course just looks incredibly difficult, frankly. After the first lecture I felt I was in too deep, and I know they only get harder as they go along, so that was a warning bell.

But the Aboriginal Worldviews feels like it was made with me in mind. Like slipping into a warm, comfortable place. A lot of study, probably the heaviest workload of any course I've seen so far, but oh so enjoyable.

Why did I suddenly mention this?

The most important thing of all, in defining ourselves, is not any of the differences I listed above, it is our worldview. It is fundamental to everything we think, say, and do. It is the basis of all our beliefs. To benefit from a course on Aboriginal worldviews, it helps to know your own.

The Aboriginal worldview and the "European" worldview, which ultimately is the dominant worldview that has morphed into "Western", are quite different, some might say opposing. No surprise there, perhaps. We've been butting heads long enough.

Some Western people have studied the Aboriginal worldview to the point that they think they understand it, or are following it, or whatever. I have my doubts about that, but it's not for me to say. Still, there is another scale here, between the anti-Aboriginal and the wannabe Aboriginal. We are all on that scale somewhere. There's an uncomfortable truth!

I find that on some levels I feel like I'm understanding their worldview, and then at points, I really don't get it at all. For once, I think that is the appropriate place. That being neither one thing nor the other is right. Not just right for me, but the right place for humans. That's quite an assertion, and if you'd like to test it, you could always take the course. But as I go through it, I guarantee I'll be writing at length about specific points, so you haven't heard the last of this.


  1. I enjoy reading your posts, and am happy for you that you are who you are. Being as indefinable as possible sounds just fine because it means you would fit in anywhere you go, Ms. Worldperson.

    Everybody who feels that they have the right answer or perfect label, to me, deserves to be challenged. I do it to myself all the time, and can still enjoy being stumped by others. I can relate to being an anarchist, but even that is a label. ;)

    Great blog, my friend. :) ~ Blessings!

    1. "Being as indefinable as possible sounds just fine because it means you would fit in anywhere you go"

      ...without ever beung assimilated, yes. Keeps that position of interested observer. I don't know how to be anything else.

  2. It is 11.15pm here and we are getting ready for bed, except I now have to go and Google...... Skrillex.