I can remember when it started. I was 4 and it was my day to spend a half day with the kindergarten class to prepare me for my upcoming school debut. For my snack I had a delicious, giant raisin cookie that my mom made for me. For some reason, the sight of that cookie inspired incredulity in the other kids. Not the, "Wow, what an amazing cookie!" kind, but the "That's so weird that your cookie is so big." kind. I don't remember much about that day, but I remember that everyone made me feel like a dork because I had a big cookie.
 
While I'd like to say that this was an anomaly in an otherwise socially illustrious school career, it wasn't. I learned in kindergarten that you could be mocked for having a banana in your lunch. In grade 2, I told the entire class to shut up one lunch time because they just wouldn't lay off teasing me about something. I moved several times in grade 3 and felt like the new kid the whole time. Even the teacher forgot to put my name in some kind of classroom draw where everyone (but me) won a prize. Similar experience at 3 different schools, so I reasoned that, as the common denominator, I was the problem.

When I was in grade 5, my teacher told my parents that the reason I struggled socially was because my idea of friendship was more mature than that generally held by other kids my age. I didn't care who had a pool, the coolest lunchbox, or gave out the most candy at their birthday parties. If I liked you and you liked me then we could hang out. I'm sure that made my parents proud, but at the time I wasn't sure the tradeoff was worth it.

Junior high school was a nightmare I'd like to forget. Picked last in gym for almost everything. Bullied just because.  When it came time to pair up for group activities, I was often the odd one out. The teachers liked me. My peers thought I was weird. I was blessed to have a few close friends, but felt like an outcast when it came to kids my age in general. 

By grade 11, I became obsessed about my appearance. I thought that if I looked "perfect", everything would be ok. My friends bought me a butane curling iron for my birthday because, every day, I would spend my first 15 minutes at school in front of the bathroom mirror. Still, sometimes when I walked down the hallway between classes, I'd hear someone call out "Hey Ugly!" and believe it as truth. 

I spent my entire school career thinking that there was something fundamentally wrong with me as a person that would cause people to respond to me the way they did.

 Now, looking back through the eyes of an adult, I can see that wasn't the case at all. I wasn't ugly. I wasn't socially inept. However, I was determinedly myself in spite of the immense pressure to be otherwise. Socialization in school sucks. It's profoundly uncomfortable with different of any kind and will actively marginalize it until it can feel safe again. 

You'd think that, having been out of school for over 2 decades, that I'd be over it.

I'm not.

Most of the time I still feel like I don't belong.

I have an amazing relationship with my husband who is my best friend. He not only loves me despite my strangeness, but loves me because of it. But, outside of my home and family I feel like an anomaly. A weirdo. I know of no one else who shares my interest in books, movies, hobbies and life view.  I'm a stay at home mom who likes sci-fi, fantasy, action movies, anime, manga and videogames. I have no patience for rom-coms and can't sit through any show that's "based on a true story". If a movie or book's express purpose is to make me think or cry then I'll probably hate it. I like to cook, but just keep my head above water when it comes to housework. I can't decorate a room to save my life. I am easily overwhelmed by crowds and generally prefer to be at home. I like combat boots, black nail polish and weird hair.  Despite all that, I'm a pretty conservative parent. My kids have limited screen time, scheduled reading time and early bed times. We still have family together and prayer time every night before they go to bed. Their internet access is highly filtered and supervised. Despite my own struggles with my own quirks, I actively encourage my kids' unique-nesses. I'm quiet until I'm not, and then I'm outspoken and opinionated. However, my opinions aren't written in stone and can be changed if necessary. I have an odd sense of humour that often doesn't even register as such. A rational part of myself realizes that everyone, with their own unique way of being, probably feels the same way. Most of the time, however, it looks like everyone else is doing quite well.
 
 Expressing this kind of insecurity is grossing me out. It feels so needy. That aside, it's not a cry for help because I don't believe anyone else can fix this for me. I know it's my issue--something that I have to work out with my Heavenly Father.  It's my proverbial "thorn". It's one of the things that keeps me from getting too full of myself and drives me to depend on my Saviour. 

I know that if I was secure, confident, sure of my complete acceptance by the One that matters most that I would be able to reach out without fearing rejection, but I’m just not there yet. 

So….30+ years after feeling ostracized because of a cookie, I still feel like the weirdo.  No cookie needed.


 

I’m going to take the lazy way out and share in point form instead of attempting to craft well written paragraphs. 

Pictures!




It's tricky putting flippers on.  If you put them on while on the beach, it's hard to walk in the shallow surf.  If you wait until you're in the water, the waves bowl you over.

In her natural element.

Beauty.

Not sure what's up there.

I love the plumeria tree that grows just outside our condo.  The flowers smell heavenly.


Some things I’ve learned in our 6 days on Maui so far:


1.       Rash guards are a necessity.  Long sleeved rash guards are even better.  Even when using spf 50, there’s a limit to how long we can spend in the sunshine before burning.  Being able to swim without worrying about burning is a wonderful thing. 

2.       Chemical sunscreen does strange and inconvenient things to my body (read hormones).   I can only use sunscreens with zinc and titanium oxide.  I’m not fond of the white cast it leaves on my skin, but it’s better than either of the alternatives.

3.       We still manage to get tanned even though we’re using sunscreen and rash guards.  I like to play count the sunburns as I walk by the people tanning by the pool.  Ironically, because they tried so hard to get tanned, they’re now going to have to spend the next week avoiding the sun while they heal.

4.       It really does take 4 days to relearn how to truly relax.  We’re on true vacation time now.

5.       Snorkeling still makes me nauseous.  Grrrr.  I'm not letting it stop me.  They sell a handy, less drowsy, anti nauseant over the counter here.  It works well.  Before someone steps up to suggest ginger, yes I did try it. While it didn't help me while snorkeling,  I found that for the flight over, 1/2 a dose of Gravol plus two ginger pills was a magical combination.  It was the best I've felt while flying ever.

6.       It’s amazing how quickly the body adapts.  The first day I was here, I sweat rivers.  Now I barely notice the heat and humidity.  Apparently it’s been unseasonably hot here in Maui.  Unseasonably meaning low 30s (Celsius).

7.       Our family vacation style is extremely low key.  Our condo has a small beach and pool.  Most days we’re content to stay here.  Sightseeing is best in small, small doses and if that means we “miss” out on something, that’s okay.  We’re relaxing.

8.       Our debit card doesn’t work at cashier debit terminals.  It does, however, work at ATMs.  Weird. 

9.       While flip flops aren’t the healthiest for feet, they are the most convenient footwear for sandy beaches.  Washing sand out of anything else is a royal pain.

10.   Our kids are very, very funny.  I love them.

11.   Nail polish is pointless on a tropical vacation unless all you’re going to do is shop and sunbathe.  The sand wears it off your toes and getting in and out of water all day ensures it doesn’t last on your fingers either.

12.   Waterproof makeup isn’t swimproof.  Don’t even bother.

13.   All kind of bodies wear bikinis without self-consciousness here.  While I don’t wear bikinis, I do find this strangely liberating. 

Other highlights:


Turtles!  There are two Sea Turtles that hang out in the waters in front of our condo daily.  At night, one of them climbs up on the beach to sleep under the beach chairs.