Idolising attractive performers didn’t begin with Bieber, or the Beatles or even Frank Sinatra, it was alive and well when Franz Liszt was touring Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. He kept a jar with trimmings of his hair to hand out to his adoring fans, to forestall them trying to tear it out of his head! I’m sure he wasn’t the first, either.
A recent discussion on girls wanting to be in the group, prepared to compromise their integrity etc reminded me of the conversation I was having with my counsellor a couple of months ago.
At the age of 66, in the writing up stage of my Doctorate, and having been subject to bouts of depression on and off for at least 62 years I decided to try counselling, in an effort to avoid going back onto medication.
At the first session I recalled always considering myself outside, or on the periphery of the groups that took shape at the boarding school in North Queensland I attended from the age of 9 to 15 in the late 50s. I had no idea what was required of me to gain access to these groups. The girls were not unkind to me, and though I wanted to join them, I spent large chunks of time not giving them a thought. I got on with the things I enjoyed doing: reading and day-dreaming.
Was I so unusual? I believed I was totally different to everybody else, a weirdo who didn’t ‘get’ the group thing. In later years I realised that lots of my thoughts, reactions, beliefs etc are not so unusual, that in many ways I’m really pretty average! But what about this one?
If we are to believe the current movies, tv shows and books that deal with teenage girls, life is a constant round of being bitchy, or being bitched about, of being ‘in’ or wanting to be ‘in’. Surely there are girls around who, like me, find and have always found the whole thing a bit silly.
Maybe that’s why I don’t have a large cohort of friends. Peer pressure to do things I thought were pretty dumb never seemed to work on me. I could find dumb things to do all on my own.
Of course, there is the very powerful possibility that all my apparent disinterest in being accepted is just a cover up for a deep-seated fear of rejection. I’m pretty sure my counsellor will spot that one a mile off. I freely admit, I loathe competition, although I love to collaborate. When I apply for a job, a grant, a loan, or even ask a friend to accompany me to a show, I learned early on to school myself to believe my attempt would fail, so that I could avoid disappointment. The up side of this approach is that I often get delicious surprises.
So, back to that thesis. It won’t be accepted, of course…