Being Rainbow in a Beige People World

Have you ever struggled with being different, and spent far too much of your time worrying about what other people think of you? It can be hard to stand out from the crowd, when all you want to do is blend in. I wasted too many years that way, in a fog of shame, surrounded by what seemed like an endless sea of Beige People.

Yeah, Beige People. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones who live in the big beige suburban houses with their interchangeable families.

Yeah, interchangeable. Because seriously, have you seen them? The same clothes, the same hair, the same personalities. It’s like they’re plastic Lego figures off of an assembly line instead of real people. Colors and styles may vary. But they’re essentially the same.

And me? I’m… different, and I always have been. When I was a kid it didn’t seem to matter as much– other kids loved me and my freak flag that flew high. But after I hit high school, it was like everyone else left me behind and never looked back. And I’ve always wondered, was there a class somewhere along the way that taught everyone how to fit into society and I somehow missed it…?

Now, I’m not knocking Beige People. For good or bad I happen to come from a long line of Beige People, so I know them and love them. And I know I’m probably going to piss them off with pretty much this entire blog. But the only reason I’m doing this is because I’m so frustrated about all of it and I don’t have any other way to deal with it. Because sometimes, I wish they would see that life isn’t a like a one-size-fits-all t-shirt, and that there’s room in this world for all kinds of people.

And besides, this place isn’t for them. It’s for us. The weirdos and freaks who get ignored and marginalized by the Beige People all around us.

Because maybe you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that when I’m with a group of Beige People, this is what invariably happens:
They take one look at me with my OMG!curly hair that I refuse to straighten because Beauty Standards and my colorful clothes, no kids in tow, no husband, not dressing and walking and talking and looking the part of the suburban wife and mother I should have been like all of the rest of them and:
Sure, they say hi.
Maybe even give me a hug.
But for the rest of the time I’m there…
They don’t look at me.
They don’t talk to me.
They basically ignore I exist in favor of other people.

Do you know how much that hurts? Especially when I think I’m damn cool to talk to. I’m hilariously entertaining, I read everything I can get my hands on, I’m working on an indie comic, I’m teaching myself sign language, I sell vintage toys online. But because I don’t belong in The Normie Club, none of it matters.

However, animals and small children gravitate to me like I’m Snow White, I swear. I make lots of dog and cat friends wherever I go. Kids want me to play with them. Elderly people adore me too.

But most working age adults seem to think I’m some sort of leper. And to this day I still don’t entirely understand why.

And believe me, I tried so hard to understand it. So many times I’d come home from yet another tedious family gathering where no one between the ages of approximately 13 and 70 bothered to talk to me for more than 2 minutes wondering if there was something wrong with me and I didn’t know it? Why I didn’t have my life “together” like the Beige People in my life, complete with all the trappings of a typical suburban middle class existence… and if I did all of that stuff, would they finally accept me as one of them?

But the older I got, the more I discovered that I didn’t want those things, even though I felt like I was supposed to. And that broke my heart. Because all of the people around me seemed to be okay with their humdrum, day-after-day work-bills-sleep-eat-kids-grandkids lather-rinse-repeat-until-you-die lifestyle. And at that point I was so afraid to be the person I was that I locked everything that made me special inside of me, buried it deep, and threw away the key.

It took a long time, but with God’s help I started to realize that I didn’t need to feel bad about being the sparkly person I am, even if the Beige People don’t quite know what to do with me. That maybe it isn’t wrong to want to tell stories, that remembering everything from childhood while everyone else seems to have long since moved on maybe isn’t the curse that I think it is, and that maybe a rainbow colored tiger named Iris can show other people the way.

Yeah, Iris. You don’t know her yet, but you will. She’s a Rainbow Tiger, living in a world filled with Orange Tigers. And her story is basically mine, and maybe a little bit of yours too? So if you’ve ever struggled with being different, and spent far too much of your time worrying about what other people think of you, take heart. I know firsthand how hard it can be to stand out from the crowd, when all you want to do is blend in.

But if you stick with Iris and me on this journey we’re taking, maybe we can all figure out what it means to be a Rainbow Tiger in this Orange Tiger dominated world.

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