Why do people perceive you differently?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Some of it’s from personal experience and some is just observation, but I remember thinking during my Dark Teenage Years that I’d really enjoy getting past 18. For some reason I had this idea that 18 was the age when you’d be treated differently… not so much that your ideas would be right, but at least they’d be listened to before being shot down. I suppose it was all the fuss about turning 18, having rights to drink and vote – you’re an adult, so you’d be treated more like one.

I was naive, I know. Of course nothing changes when you turn 18 – you can vote, but you’re only a day older. The reason it bothered me then wasn’t because I felt downtrodden or anything, but because I’ve always felt more mature than my age. I wanted to be involved in social discussions; I’ve always been interested in mature topics, so being dismissed so callously annoyed me.

Over the last few years I’ve tried to change how people perceive me; people who know me (family, friends) I’ve never had a problem with, they know the things I think and write about… but amongst others, socially I’ve been careful to talk about topics and not get emotionally involved. I thought I’d built up respect, that age and experience didn’t matter as much… and then today I experienced a u-turn so abrupt I almost got whiplash. I felt ill yesterday, like I couldn’t breathe for an hour, so I thought I’d better go to the doctor. I’m someone who goes very rarely; I know my body well and I only go if I think it’s something new. Well, he didn’t find anything, but what I didn’t like was being told I was 22; I should be going out, being 22 and not worrying about these kind of things. I wasn’t worrying; I just go so rarely that I had hoped he knew I thought it needed checking out, even if it was nothing. Instead I was left feeling stupid. I hate that.

I wouldn’t say it was an eye opener, but it was a reminder. In the end it doesn’t matter how old you are, or who you are – it’s easy for anyone to be dismissive of you and it happens all the time. Someone might take offence at something you’ve said, or think you’ve presented it in a juvenile way; or there might just be something about you they don’t like. The way people tend to have conversations doesn’t involve debate as much as feeling – if someone’s wrong, they’re crazy. It’s easier to dismiss something you disagree with than to try and explain why you don’t agree.

Anyway, this has just been on my mind, so I thought I’d get it out. I’ve replayed the scene a thousand times and I honestly can’t think of anything I might have said differently, how I might have been clearer… probably it didn’t matter. I just hate the feeling. But that’s one difference between the real world and being online which is interesting; there’s more of a clean slate – people aren’t more tolerant by any means, but they make fewer assumptions unless you give them reason to. Ah, if only that were true in real life… 😉


Sunset on Beach

CJ Levinson

Overslept again, so I got up late
Forgot the day and the time
Burnt the toast and lost my head
Somewhere in the in-between
And even in this endless night
I still remember what it was like to dream

Do you see the strange light in the sky?
Feels like time’s standing still
And it’s a strange kind of irony
That the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen
Comes only at the end
Reminds me of you

Surrounded by this silence, I try to pretend
That life has meaning and I know where to begin
But I lost all my illusions
Standing by the sea
And how can I make you understand
When it’s something I can’t even – explain?

Licenced under a Creative Commons Licence

Time on Earth

timeonearth.jpgSeems like it’s been a busy few months in music. Groups and bands we’d all thought had played together for the last time have reunited; while the Spice Girls grab the headlines, news that The Police, The Verve and Rage Against the Machine have reunited has brought equal excitement to their fans. In contrast I think Crowded House‘s reunion has been more low-key, reflecting the group’s first album without Paul Hester.

I wasn’t sure if Crowded House could be the same without Paul Hester. It wasn’t just his musical contribution that was important to the group, but his very presence and energy as well – it helped to make the band work live. But Time on Earth doesn’t pretend to be the same kind of album; it’s a more mature Crowded House and I think it works very well. It’s melancholic but beautiful, and there’s a hopefulness beneath it that I’ve really enjoyed as well.

Neil Finn’s brilliance as a songwriter always amazes me, but it’s interesting the quality time has given to his voice. His vocals have a gravelly weight and you can feel the emotion from song to song. As far as the songs go, I think “Don’t Stop Now” is the perfect first release, but “Pour Le Monde” is the highlight. Hauntingly beautiful. “He imagines the world/as the angel ascending/like the ghost of a man/who is tied up to the chair/and he tries to believe/that his life has a meaning”. Sigh. Welcome back, Neil.

I’ve been reading some reviews and I agree, it’s possibly the kind of album that takes a couple of listens to truly be rewarded, but I know fans won’t be disappointed. It’s a fitting tribute to Paul Hester and brings a sense of familiarity, as well as a new direction. Highly recommended for anyone interested, and it’s definitely not leaving my iPod.

Do you feel sorry for Lindsay Lohan?

I feel like I’m going crazy. Every day it seems like there’s another story about Lindsay Lohan or some young celebrity spinning out of control. It’s everywhere. Rehab, jail, speeding, drugs… it’s like some high school soap opera. Except it’s not a soap opera, it’s real life, and to be honest I’m not sure what I should feel about it. In most circumstances I’d probably feel sorry for someone like Lindsay Lohan, but it’s hard to when she’s brought this on herself and has shown little remorse.

This article about the situation is quite interesting. It suggests that the attitudes young girls have toward celebrities like Lohan, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie isn’t being changed by the media reaction or by their bad behaviour; they see people facing repercussions for their actions, but it doesn’t change how they look up to them. I must admit, I didn’t expect that. But I suppose it isn’t so surprising when you see that Madame Tussauds has the wax figure of Lohan (now in jail coveralls) on prominent display – there’s obviously still a lot interest.

Does anyone else find this troubling? Because I’m starting to wonder what someone would have to do to shake that admiration. I’m not a judgemental person or someone who likes to say who children should look up to, but we have to be honest – these “It Girls” have done nothing to deserve such loyalty in their fans, and their behaviour is out of control. They party like it’s 1999 7 nights a week, get paid for doing little work, and they have turned rehabilitation into a trivial matter. What would they have to do, kill someone?

If anything they seem to be becoming this kind of reverse role model; because they’re in trouble, people relate to them even more. And some say they’re being made examples of. With Hilton I’d have to agree – she was given at least twice as long as an average sentence, and the whole thing was just farcical. But Lohan is a different case. If the allegations are true, she was involved in a car chase, intoxicated, and possibly endangered lives. She deserves the benefit of the doubt, but they are much more serious allegations and cannot be ignored.

Still, having said all that, I do feel a bit sorry for Lindsay Lohan… I can’t imagine seeing your life spin out of control before the eyes of the world, and of all the “It Girls” she’s probably the most talented, the one who does work; her film credits are respectable, unlike Hilton or Richie whose fame tends to be more media-driven. Her family life has also been difficult. One thing I haven’t heard much is, what about the person who sold her the cocaine? If that allegation is true, Lohan was only out of rehab for a week before somebody, despicably, provided her with drugs. Now there’s a real danger to the public.

Perhaps in the end the truth is simply that part of being in the public eye is having the power to ruin your own life. And if that is the case, then no matter what people feel, whether they feel sorry for you or not, no-one can help you but you.