Sunday, October 24, 2010

Being a Misfit Toy

It was one of those contemplative moments we all have now and empty room, a feeling that something was shifting somewhere, clicking into place...I realized the true meaning of "Misfit Toy". And although it may have been born at the North Pole, that expression goes a lot further than Rudolph and Santa.

So many of us are Misfit Toys. We certainly spend a lot of our childhood like that. There's the Shrinking Violet Toy, the girl who is so terribly shy she doesn't want anyone to see her. She will always take the back row seats, never be the first to raise her hand and won't let on how much it hurts when she isn't picked for the team until last. When she grows up, she'll be the quiet one, learning to smile to hide the pain, anger and frustration of being always on the outside. She'll be a bridesmaid, a best friend, eventually a wife and a loving mother. But she'll never be the life of the party or the head of the PTA. She'll always be that Misfit Toy, crying on the inside where nobody can see.

Then there's Four Eyes Frightful! The little boy who has to wear glasses three years before anyone else does. Or the little girl with braces that seem to glow all by themselves. They're misfits, all right. They stand out, figures of fun, teased by their peers and tortured by their own inadequacies. Yeah, childhood is the first level of hell for some folks and they carry it with them. As adults, they obsess about their appearance, working hard to be perfect in a world that disdains anything less. Of course, they can never succeed because they set their standards above anything humanly attainable. They're still the Misfit Toys of their childhood, just better clothed.

There are other Misfit Toys, of course. A toy who never did get the love he or she needed when it was needed most. A toy who lost something precious and never learned how to replace it.

A toy that was loved, loved back and then found itself cast aside, to be neglected while new toys moved in and took its place. The It's-Been-Fun Toy.

Is this depressing? Yeah, sure. But honestly? Most of us at one time or another in our lives fall into the Misfit Toy category. I'm a Misfit Toy and recognizing it recently, labeling it as such, helped me get a handle on it. I'm such a shrinking violet if I shrink any more I'll disappear up my own ass. I hate walking into a room full of people, always sit at the back and have to force a smile now and again. I've never been president of the PTA or the life and soul of any party. I also won't let myself care too much because that opens up a vulnerability that can rip your soul out if you're not careful. (Family excepted, of course. They're going to carve you up into strips no matter what you do. Fortunately, they also put you back together again! And you get to return the favor. LOL)

I guess my Misfit Toy Moment helped me adjust my thinking and recognize some of my shortcomings. I'm not about to go out and run for the PTA, but I will try and take a seat in the middle row of life instead of the back. I will try to work through the pain when I'm ignored, excluded or put back into the toy box in favor of others - and yes, it's going to happen again, I know. I won't take it personally when my words or my books fade too quickly for my liking. I will remember that there are good things about me that don't fit into the Misfit Toy category and I'll try and focus on those.

If all this fails miserably, then I will spend the next week writing some of the most hellishly horrible, gut-wrenchingly violent murder scenes I can possibly imagine. I will rip bodies apart, scatter intestines across continents and produce enough blood spatter to make a seasoned Forensic scientist throw up. And I'm absolutely positive that'll make me feel much better.(Grin)

Honorary Chairwoman, Local Chapter of Misfit Toys

Flavia's Flying Corset - Coming in November from Samhain Publishing