You know what feels more intensely than to be an angsty teen? It is to be an introverted angsty teen, who is plunged into a make-believe world filled with a certain kind of expectations- in my case, to be distracted and visually-overwhelmed by what was perceived as a constant parade of very specific ‘feminine’ qualities. The latter of the circumstances obviously leads to a sort of supposed alienation, but being introverted it meant that it never occurred to me to reach out to those on the fringes of the society. In Carl Jung’s words, I had the ‘tendency to turn inward’, and I very well indulged in it.
I developed my own well-oiled mechanism of dealing with having to go to a girls’ college- it involved drowning myself in literature, which rather unhelpfully was from or about other eras, that sucked me even further out of the physical reality I inhabited where there were no boys. Boys who have the general tendency to not take your attitude or affect personally- that’s probably why there are more men who ‘comfortably’ go through the loner phase, all while appearing extremely sexy and appealing to the opposite sex. I, on the other hand, had a grand total of zero explicit admirers. The occasional ones who did fancy me seemed to dwell way too much on how intellectually intelligent and logically perceptive I am, and wanted to get over with the phase of being friends ASAP. Unfortunately for them, getting a whiff of their being in a hurry only made me unwittingly cut them off and retreat further inward into a world of books- some of them about women who were understood for the persons they were, ‘despite’ their intelligence.
It’s perhaps hard to lobby most people into getting into the same boat as me on this, but an ‘intelligent’ woman has just as much a hard time meeting ‘genuine’ people as an extraordinarily aesthetically-appealing woman. While the latter has people, especially those belonging to the male gender- speaking strictly in the context of the heterosexual society which I am familiar with, being a rather awkward member of the same, in awe of her beauty, the former, in what is perhaps a lesser-known perspective, has them intimidated and/or in an avoidant awe. Hollywood tunes conveniently call this a ‘psychological wall’, but really, can I be blamed for obsessively honing my grey cells instead of the dermal kind? That being said, let me point out that I have no inclination toward siding with, or antagonizing beautiful-looking people. I am merely trying to make a point.
I never indulged in anything mind-altering and heavily relied on a morning run and the habit of drinking upto ten cups of green tea everyday, which sorta forced me further into a hyper-mindful existence that projected an image of living inside one’s own head into the world. People who knew me around that time describe me as having had a perpetual scowl on my face (does that remind anybody else of Gwendoline from Blyton’s Malory Towers series?). I think I even have a scar from the healing of the proverbial chip on my shoulder.
But you know what? I love the angsty me. So much that she continues to be a part of me. She manifests herself as my passionate side- the one who draws from her own source of irrepressible energy, keeps her own counsel and is enthusiastically curious about everything that makes the world tick. It’s a classic case of shameless Philautia, y’all.