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“Ordinary fucking people.” It’s a line from Repo Man. It came up in an episode of Party Down I was re-watching the other night. Roman (played by the underrated Martin Starr) quotes it in one of his many moments of frustration with people and what he sees as the superficial lives they lead.

Roman’s frustration resonated with me. His disdain for ordinary fucking people unlocked the creaky gate to a frustration of my own. I have spent so much of my life feeling like I’m supposed to be a different kind of person–I’m supposed to keep my house tidy and clean, I’m supposed to jog or some shit, I’m supposed to be happy, I’m supposed to spend less time in bed, I’m supposed to get up early, I’m supposed to be productive. Doing all the things. I’m supposed to be economically successful and a completely devoted mother, and I’m supposed to look fucking good doing it, because don’t forget ladies, we are worth nothing if we are not pretty. I’m supposed to want it all, and work endlessly to have it all. But I don’t want any of that shit. I don’t want it. I reject the concept of supposed to be but remain deeply affected by it.

What is wrong with me?

I sure am tired of asking myself that question. I am exhausted by comparing myself to other people and whatever standard I think they’re holding up. Why do I think there’s something wrong with me? The answer, of course, is a nearly limitless list of the world’s  expectations that I don’t meet, the messages I’ve been getting for my entire life, the ways people I know do meet those expectations, blah blah blah. And there are things I want to change about myself. I am down with improving as a person. Ever evolving and learning.

BUT. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m not broken because I prefer to stay up late and sleep in. I’m not a disaster of a person because I feel things deeply and hate cooking and am messy as fuck (and funny as hell and loving as crap) and never satisfied or certain, and also boring as shit sometimes. I am not broken because of my mental illness. It makes life difficult and painful, but without it I wouldn’t have many of the gifts I have. It is both my Achilles heel and my super power. So while I am always working to improve myself, I am working even harder to accept myself.

It’s a bit of a tight rope walk.

Have you seen the movie Man on a Wire (see photo below)? That’s what I imagine. Me, on a wire between the once soaring World Trade Center towers, with only a pole (I guess in this metaphor the pole in my life would be a combination of meds, pop culture and loved ones) to maintain my balance. It’s dangerous up here. While Philippe Petit,* the man who actually achieved this feat, could have fallen to the pavement, I have two falling options. On one side of the wire there is a dark abyss of despair and loneliness, on the other a steaming vat of uniformity. I don’t want to fall, but frankly, if falling were inevitable, I would try to lean my pole toward the dark abyss (I said “my pole.” This is not the time for a dick joke! Just kidding, it’s always the time for a dick joke).

2744580361_eea50469c9_b

I just want more than other people’s narrow definitions of what I’m supposed to be. I want more than the pursuit of “happiness.” I want the struggle that comes with evolving. I don’t want to be ordinary fucking people.

 

Photo of Philippe Petit from flickr

Featured image from https://www.amazon.com/Repo-Man-Criterion-Collection-Blu-ray/dp/B00B2BYXTK

*Don’t misunderstand me, I am not nearly as brave or interesting as Philippe Petit. I am far more ordinary than he.

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