The eccentric? The black sheep of the family? What you’re calling “Cousin It”?
That would be me, I’m afraid.
I really don’t know why. I seem perfectly normal to myself. But throughout my life I’ve been perceived as weird. Even in high school, at an age when I wanted to most to conform, to fit in, nothing I did or said made a difference to my difference. I wore the same clothes as others, walked down the same halls, took the same classes, listened to the same radio and watched the same movies. Yet somehow, when all this input was processed through my brain, the results varied from the norm.
One event comes to mind, I don’t know why. I was in a modern dance class, probably a physical education kind of requirement. Our final assignment was to choreograph our own dance and perform it for the class. It was the late seventies and disco was king, but not my sovereign. For my dance soundtrack I chose Bowie’s 1984. I was the only one to use a non-disco song. And to me, that was weird. Why did they all choose disco? It was a mystery. And I was a mystery to them. They didn’t even know David Bowie! How was that possible?
That’s a rather silly example, but one of about a billion. Always out of step. Always choosing the obscure without a clue that it’s obscure. Linking the non-obvious bits together to form my worldview until it’s quite skewed from the norm.
I don’t know what it is that makes me different. My family has seen it my whole life, whatever “it” is. I tend to make decisions they wouldn’t, explore places they wouldn’t and certainly say things they both never would nor even think. When something weird pops out of my mouth it seems perfectly normal to me! Even when I keep my mouth shut, something must blaze out from my eyes. People react. Maybe it’s pheromonal?
But through the years I’ve grown to accept this about myself. I’m a fringe-dweller. My brain is weird and I like it that way. I am very self-entertaining.
For some years I studied zen buddhism. To become ready to be initiated as a lay person I worked with the priest in study groups. During this time he would get to know his students and prepare a dharma name for them, to sort of distill the essence of their nature into a single name. It was pretty cool – he was good at it and my fellow students came away with names that translated to things like “bringing joy” or “steady strength” and suchlike. When it came time to meet with him one-on-one before the ceremony he confessed he struggled with my name. He said he’d never met a student so difficult to figure out.
My name? Emyo. He translated it as “meeting mystery”.
My fellow students, some having more experience of the language and culture of Japan had a different translation: “weirdo”
Yep, that’s me.
In response to the Daily Post: “Cousin It” – for more responses click here