I Will Not Apologize For My Normalcy

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As I sit here writing this I’ve got the blues playing in one ear of a broken set of headphones, and I like it. One ear isn’t enough. I can’t believe that in a world full of music someone could shut themselves off from it, refusing to listen to anything off the current top 40 charts. Let me tell you: there are infinite worlds beyond the top 40 charts, and they are worth exploring.

I’m not going to apologize that I “never listen to happy music,” because I do listen to happy music (and even top 40 music), and I realize that music is artistry and beyond myself and that there are hundreds, countless, brilliant singer/songwriters, musicians, and composers out there. Between Spotify, Pandora and iTunes we have access to these worlds at our fingertips, why would we limit ourselves?

I’m also writing this from my favorite coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon, where I happen to be writing a mid term for my Contemporary British Literature class as well.

I can’t apologize for liking coffee. It’s an intrinsic part of my daily routine. Also, if you can’t share a hot drink with someone, even tea or coco…just, what? What is that?

I can’t apologize for reading voraciously, and being on a Rosemary Mahoney kick, and getting worked up about it. I also can’t apologize for having 60-something books checked out from the library and not minding the rate at which my reading habits are affecting the amount of available floor space in my life.

I can’t apologize for using Saturdays to study, because I go to an academically rigorous liberal arts university that actually requires my attention and effort for me to succeed. I’m not apologizing that the public state school down the highway has an abominable reputation here, and that yes, students in the tiny town up north find school a meaningful endeavor. So the next time you, or anyone else, makes passive aggressive and insecure jabs at the losers who are spending their Saturdays at the town square’s numerous cafes contently cranking out papers and assignments before going out to live their lives later, I’m going to tell you that being hammertimed constantly is not actually the only way to have a “true college experience.”

Also, I like to learn. Can’t apologize for that either.

Speaking of this coffee shop and the perpetual reading, writing, coffee drinking, and local living going on inside of it, I can not apologize for loving this town and I can’t apologize that some people find it boring. I can’t apologize for not being bored here, because though this town only has 17,000 people in it, there is so much to experience. So much personality. So much pride. So much resilience. I’ve learned the necessity of knowing and caring about your local and regional history. I’ve learned the necessity of local farming, and food/eco consciousness. (As far as fighting poverty, of which there is plenty in this town, it works you guys. #localfoodpower)

So I will not apologize for patronizing local businesses, knowing the names of store owners, of getting my vegetables from student farmers and local growers, or shopping in the thrift stores. I will not apologize for how much I this town means to me.

No, there’s not an Old Navy or a casino or even a “fancy” restaurant, unless you count the steak house. No, there’s no hip clubs, excluding the sketchy 70s disco.

I can’t apologize that this doesn’t bother me; that I’m content with the quirky thrift stores and the Greek Corner Gyro hut and the brick-walled bar that, yes, people dare to wear T shirts to instead of whatever it is that is normal bar attire elsewhere. The ceiling of this bar is covered with beautifully folded dollar bills, tossed up there on flat head pins by freshly legal patrons who aren’t too cool to unabashedly celebrate local traditions.

I can’t apologize that instead of clubbing my brains out, my special social place is the little white house on the corner that opens its screen doors every Friday for an open vegan potluck. There’s beers and pipes on the porch, next to the hammock and the hula hoops. And I can’t apologize for liking those things either.

I can’t apologize for how my hippie darlings dress, or my art history girls, or my liberal arts hipsters. I can’t apologize that my idea of a going-out outfit, or my friends’, are too plebeian for your taste. And I can’t apologize for not giving a care about how people dress or the labels in their clothes because in this town how you think and how you act are more important that how your cover your parts. (Furthermore, as a resident of a rural town that resides 40% below the poverty line, explain to me how sartorial status symbols are supposed to matter to me.  Judging people by their clothes makes sense. I have no energy to waste on surface judgements.)

Realize that in my life, these things are normal.

I’m not weird.

I’m not all that “out of the box.”

I’m not a Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl.

I’m a regular girl with regular feelings and regular interests.

And I cannot, will not, apologize for these things. TC Mark

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