I am always on the outside looking in. Even when I’m participating in a conversation, I feel outside of it–with very few rare exceptions. I’m gauging the other person(s) and calibrating my own responses. That’s not terrible in general, but taken to the extreme, it can be debilitating.
I’m a weirdo and a freak. I’ve discussed this with my taiji teacher because she is, too. The plus side to being an outsider is that it’s much easier to do things that others might consider odd because I’ve been doing that all my life. It’s always amusing to me when people get hung up on a certain band, TV show, movie, or whatever, insisting that you must like it as much as they do. Try saying you don’t like the Beatles on Twitter and see what happens. Or Breaking Bad. Or Titanic. The pushback is strong, and there are people who literally cannot fathom someone not liking __________. Well, not the last. There are plenty of people who agree with me that Titanic is shite*.
It’s the funniest when people tell me that my taste is horrible, especially in music, because I’ll cheerfully agree. It flummoxes them, and that’s when I know their intent is to put me down rather than have an actual conversation. I like to say I have no guilty pleasures, only pleasures because I don’t feel guilty about what I like (99% of the time). It’s weird because I feel guilty about almost everything else in my life, but not the pop culture I consume or not.
The downside, however, is that I just assume no one will want to hear about what I’m interested in unless there are plenty of indicators to the otherwise. When I think about dating, for example, I have a difficult time envisioning someone who will have the patience to put up with my oddities. Taiwanese American, bisexual, fat, agnostic, child-free (and do. not. want. children or steps), not interested in most mainstream popular stuff, and just plain weird. Add in video games as an old person and taiji, and the fact that I don’t want a traditional relationship, and, yeah. Prospects are dim.
The problem is that I’m so inclined to discount that anything I have to say is of any interest to anyone because I’m used to being ignored and invisible.
Side note: It’s fucking 2019. There is no excuse not to have more PoC and queer folks (and other minorities) in popular media. If I see a trailer for a show that is all white people, I immediately tune out. There was a stretch where all the trailers for new TV shows fell into the category I called, “White guys doing white guys things”. I have no interest in that bullshit, and I never gave any of them more than a second of attention.
The centering around white straight dudes in media has definitely affected how I see myself in general. Add to that a hobby (video games) that is all about white straight dudes, and my negative self-esteem is reinforced on a daily basis. I’ve mentioned before how I can get into some aspects of gaming, but I never feel truly accepted. It’s as if I’m tolerated as long as I don’t make a fuss or stand out in any negative (in their eyes) way. It’s gender, but it’s also age and race. I’m too old to be a gamer, and it stops me from fully participating in the community in general. It’s not hard to see that 95% of the visible gaming journalists/YouTubers/Twitchers fall into this category. Maybe it’s not quite that high, but it certainly seems like it. I’ve searched out women, but they are few and far between.