300 Writing Prompts #8: Outcast

In what way do you not fit in with the family you grew up with?

So for any family members who might stumble across this, I mean not to offend. This is from my perspective and so understand, this is how I saw things at the time. 

I think from jump street I was weird or at the very least, my brain was wired differently from my cousins. I think the reason for that was because, in my mind, I seen some horrific stuff before I was six years old and being tempered by those experiences made me trying to adopt the carefree attitude of my family as I pictured it back then nearly impossible. 

I had a chip on my shoulder and an anger management problem. I thought none of the people around me could possibly give a damn about us because if they did, why were we still living on the street? Why did we only see them during the holidays? No one came to check on us when we were struggling. No one cared about her then. No one asked about me then. 

So why was it that we I moved into my grandparent’s home after my mom got arrested and no one else picked up the phone but them was they now asking about me? It placed me in a weird headspace. On one hand, I thought it was cool that I finally had a family to associate with, even if I only really saw them on holidays. But on the other, I couldn’t allow myself to forget their absence when it came to not only me, a child but my mother who they grew up with. I am still learning about events that shaped the opinions of my family concerning my mother but there will always be a piece of me that wished they wouldn’t have given up on her.

What did not help matters was the fact that I was an extreme introvert. A kid lost in the thoughts of his own mind. I often thought of scenarios and situations, imagining how they would play out given different circumstances. What if my grandfather did not pick up the phone with my mother left in a house with no heat during the winter season and no food to eat? What if I could stay at my grandparent’s house all the time? Questions that really stretched my thought process. 

So when I finally moved in with my grandparents after they acquired custody of me, it was hard for me to adjust back to being normal. I ate food like it was going to be the last meal I would see in days even though  I knew that wasn’t the case. I had a hard time sleeping  because of the fear I had of having to get up leave in the middle of night. I did not talk a lot when I was around people because I never knew what to say.

I found solace in television. I could watch television for hours without saying a word. I wish I would have had that same passion with books but I lived in the stories I watched on the screen. And because I was quiet and did not cause any trouble, most just left me alone. 

Going around my cousins and others my age was a nightmare for me, at least at first. I couldn’t help but compare our lifestyles. How much better their situation was even if they were struggling in different ways. I hated it. But at the same time, being able to interact with  people my age when before it was only with adults was so invigorating. I wasn’t allowed to stay at my friends house but I was allowed to see my cousins and spend the night with them. 

It was here that I realized that I did not think like other kids so in order for me fit in, I had to change. Here, my cousins had been sheltered and had food even if their conditions weren’t ideal. They knew nothing of sleeping on park benches and roaming the night not knowing when you would be able to lay down and get some sleep. I learned that approaching them with my attitude on life at the age of seven was wrong and adopted a more positive outlook which only alienated me even more.

A lot of my family photos from back then look like this with the guy wearing glasses being me. 

At first, I was the strange cousin that did not talk a lot unless the conversation was about the Power Rangers or some other television show. I could play all manner of games very well and genuinely wanted to do nothing more but to exist without really being noticed. That version of me sparked the name-calling, teasing (because my eyes were really bad I wore VERY thick glasses) and a bit of bullying to a lesser extent. 

As time went on though and they grew to know each other better, they found that I was a person who always had a positive outlook even if it was naive. I was quick witted and sarcastic, much like the shows I watched. I  was able to defend myself when I was teased because of this but this in turn only made things worse until a few of my cousins sat down and actually talked

Sneaking and playing the game on school nights were the best!

But by this point, video games had become to the gateway to escape my mind and everything it. My school life was equally as bad although I did find those who weren’t so bad.  I was beginning to adopt the mindset of a hero based on the ideals of the characters I idolized. So now, instead of being engrossed in television, I was playing the game all the time.  I crafted my own stories with the characters in the games, doing all the voice work and plotting while I played. Sonic the Hedgehog was one of my favorite games to craft my tales of adventure and wonder. I did the same thing with my toys up until this point. 

This made it seem like I talked to myself and got me avoided during the holidays. They wanted to play the games that I had because most of my cousins had siblings and weren’t as fortunate as me, so they would tolerant me but like always, they would come over on the holidays and then never speak to afterward. My family wasn’t the party and hang out the type and even if they were, my grandparents were far removed from the lifestyle. 

All of this combined into a kid that left alone a good ninety percent of the time with games and television to be his friends. I developed a passion for the medium and you could only get to talk in length if we were discussing something I knew with family. Otherwise, I would just be polite and leave soon after the formalities were over. 

And even when became older, anime and video games weren’t supposed to be a thing that you based your life around. My cousins were focused on girls and other habits. Some turned to smoking and drinking early. That created a disconnect with me because in my mind, those were the things that robbed me of a relationship with my mother so I eventually just avoided them all together. Since all my family basically smoked and drink, I felt like I couldn’t be affiliated with them because it was a stark reminder of my mother. 

And anything that did that, I wanted no part of. And thus, I was always the odd ball that never quite fit in with others. 

 What are some of the things that made you feel like you didn’t fit in with the family? I love to hear about it. As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. You guys/gals are awesome. 

Quick side update:  It has gotten better but I still kind of feel the same way. Before, I was completely against drinking and smoking. Now, I realize that was horrible a way to think… at least for drinking. I had to learn that it was moderation that made the difference. It is still hard to be around people that smoke though.

Until the next post…

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