Monday, January 23, 2012

Chameleon: A Guide for Girls

 Wrote this in 2004. Feeling moody today so letting it resurface. 

The first thing you learn is to keep your eyes to yourself. You learn see without looking.  Never raise your eyes, or if you must, keep them focused away from your subject, away from the action at hand.  Listening also needs to be mastered, but that's easy to practice without being noticed.  Seeing, now that's tricky. Eye contact attracts attention, and attention is what you avoid at all costs.

The importance of absorbing the scene around you cannot be underestimated. The fatal flaw of the outcast is complete withdrawal. When you are completely detached from your surroundings, you stand out.  You are alone, but you must not appear to be.  You need to blend, and that means participating in the most minimal way to whatever is happening.  You see and you hear, then you determine the average expression, movement, reaction, and that is what you do. If everyone is watching the kickball game, you watch the kickball game.  If everyone cheers, you cheer. If the girls squeal with horror when the team captain is hit in the nose with the ball, you squeal, even if inside you are grinning and imaging he will be permanently disfigured. You do not laugh, unless laughter is around you.

Over time you will get to be so good at seeing and hearing that being unnoticed becomes effortless.  It helps if you come from a quiet family, a humble one that doesn't fawn over accomplishments. You must avoid developing talents that could bring attention.  Become adept at being unremarkable.  If you have nice hair,  keep it short or pulled back. If you develop breasts, hid them under a baggy sweatshirt.  If you're smart, make sure it doesn’t show. You need to be smart in order for this to work.

Your goal is simple: to survive. You aren't pretty enough to be popular, confident enough to be different or edgy enough to be cool.  So you must blend, head down, eyes averted.  Avoid being hurt. Don't mimic the beautiful girls and become a target of their mocking.  Don't pull away completely and brand yourself an oddball. Don't get angry and end up a troublemaker.  Simply blend.  After a while you won't remember who you really are. In exchange for your individuality, you'll survive.  You'll bury your soul to keep it safe. You aren't proud, but you're intact. You aren't much, but you're alive.