There is an Oingo Boingo song called "I'm on the Outside".
It goes like this: "This is where it all begins. On the outside looking in. Looking in at you. I'm just an alien through and through, trying to make believe I'm you. Trying to fit. Just a stranger on the outside looking in."
The lyrics struck a chord for a reason. I have always felt like an outsider.
In elementary school, I tried to fit in to no avail. My frizzy hair and tendency to raise my hand too quickly marked me as an outsider early on. In Catholic school, my uniform was used and faded, and all of the other kids had known each other for years. In public school junior high, after my mom had to yank us out of Catholic school due to our dwindling finances, my daydreaming and passion for Shakespeare, along with a need to please my teacher, labelled me a geek. On the street I grew up on, my parent's fighting made me feel like a pariah with the neighbors and in high school, I went from straight A student to punk rock girl in my need to express myself.
In junior college, I holed myself away in the newspaper office and at UCR, I survived with a small cadre of friends. At USC Law School, I created a new good girl persona but was too tired to socialize and at the large Texas white shoe law firm I went to after graduating, I felt like Eliza Doolittle.
In reality, the only place I feel at home is among other misfits. In high school, the punkers were my family. I felt at home amongst the torn shirts, mohawks and spray painted jackets. All of the chaos made sense. And in my job as a deputy public defender, the same holds true.
That same outsider-ness is why I adore punk/alternative/rock concerts. There is something so freeing and true about jumping up and down to the music and losing yourself in it. The "I don't give a fuck" nature of it. To love something that much that your whole body reacts, whether it be to the music of The Smiths, The Replacements, Oingo Boingo or The Sex Pistols, is pure unadulterated bliss.
In truth, I am always pretending. It is an act and while people may think I am cool, I know I am not. In the end, we are all who we were and I am still the little girl hiding on her roof looking at the stars listening to her parents fight wishing she was anyone but herself. But, in the end, isn't there something cool about being so very uncool?
I like to think so.