Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I don’t know who I am. I like pink. I watch Doctor Who. I’m a fan of the New York Giants and the New Jersey Devils. My favorite sport it gymnastics. I like to paint my nails. I drink beer. I write for blogs. I’m a former cheerleader. I had a 3.7 GPA.

High School Party: Dress as a stereotype you weren't. Easy for me!
We categorize everything in our lives, but I can’t categorize myself.

As a writer (which I occasionally identify as) I create characters on a regular basis. However, I often find them falling into the trap of stereotypes. When I try and escape the snare, it feels forced and unnatural. How come I, who cross between so many types, always fails to create characters who do the same?

My high school didn’t really have the typical stereotypes. It was an extremely small school; I graduated with under seventy other kids. We didn’t have sports - therefore no jocks. You had to pass a test to attend - so everyone was fairly smart. Sure we had students from varying social classes, ranging all the way from middle to upper middle class.

Television shows and movies iconize this stereotypical culture. One of the most famous scenes from Mean Girls is the one where Janis is describing the lunchroom layout to Cady:

“You've got your Freshmen, ROTC guys, Preps, JV Jocks, Asian Nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity Jocks, Unfriendly Black Hotties, Girls Who Eat Their Feelings, Girls Who Don't Eat Anything, Desperate Wannabes, Burnouts, Sexually Active Band Geeks, The Greatest People You Will Ever Meet, and The Worst.”

I’ve always had trouble relating to characters in my favorite books and shows, because I never felt like I could really fit into one of their groups. I used to read The Babysitters Club in elementary school, and I just could not identify as one of the girls.

Kristy was sporty, and I did gymnastics but I wasn’t really athletic. Claudia was artistic, but she wasn’t very good in school. Dawn and Stacy were blonde like me, but they were pretty and popular. Mary Anne was quiet and reserved, but she had a boyfriend - something I definitely did not get.

I often found myself wondering then, and still do today: does everyone feel this way? Does every person in the world who has ever read a book or watched a movie find it difficult to relate to the main characters? But in high school, when my girl friends would watch Sex and the City and proclaim, “I’m totally a Charlotte!” I just felt even more alone.

Don’t worry, I’ve found my people. I chose a college that was perfect for me, without even knowing it. I have amazing friends. Some are engineers, others artists, and a few scientists. I’m not in Greek life, but some of my best friends are members of a Fraternity. My friends play video games and create them. They write, and draw, and code, and do practical things like build bridges.

And they don’t fit into any category.

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