In the life of marieke, there rarely passes a day that could be categorized as “normal,” whatever or however you would define the term. I gave up on being normal a long time ago, and along with it, graceful, put together, structured, popular, and cool. It just took far too much effort to aspire to any of those labels, and it seemed I never quite succeeded no matter how hard I tried.
As a younger version of myself, I just did not fit in with the other kids in Jewish suburbia. I wasn’t feminine enough, stylish enough, insert adjective here enough, and I was miserable until I decided it I didn’t want to fit any of those standards. My hair was too thick to crimp in the early 90s, and none of my teachers could pronounce my name.
I am not sure I have ever found a community where I truly felt that I belonged, until I found Gustavus, a community of misfits, artists, writers, mothers, fathers, spritely children, brown and black bear, hermit thrush, and Sitka spruce.
Of course, even in Gustavus I don’t completely fit in. My educational aspirations are too abstract and a bit too out there even for life on the edge. Perhaps, I was destined to wander the planet as an anomaly, living on the fringe of traditional western culture.
Even with the challenges of living life as a self-diagnosed weirdo, I feel comfortable in fully embracing my “marieke-ness”. What else is there? This past spring, I wrote about gratitude and the many elements of my life for which I was grateful at the time. I find that with tribulation, we quickly exchange the positive to focus on the negative, so I would like to take a moment to express gratitude for the many marieke moments I experience each day, and especially for:
- Easy conversation with a friend while waiting to go through security at the Gustavus Alaska Air hangar
- Little Stella’s shrill, impassioned “woo hoooooooooo” as we took off in the Alaska jet from the Gustavus airstrip
- Dinner with the Olson family at the Juneau airport
- My water bottle rolling to the back of the airplane during takeoff from Juneau
- Mountains enveloped by fog so that the tops appear as islands in an ocean of mist
- A life on the edge