Right, in this post I want to talk about why Alizée matters to me. The problem is, I cannot really explain it. So what I want to do is show you why she matters to me so much. Because it is something very hard to understand, and most I explain it to do not understand. It is also true that every time I tell this story, it changes. Something new comes up in how I view Alizée. A view I have spent 9 months trying to piece together from fragments. It is a story that has never been told in full before, but in some ways, it is a story that has already been told a long time ago. This story is my story. The story of me looking into the mirror, looking into myself, and not seeing my own image as it looks back.
First I shall say it with no relation to Alizée highlighted, this is the story I figured out when I was 16. It is the story that I worked out very quickly after an event in my life, which I will highlight. At this point in time I had no idea who Alizée was, which is why I make no relation to Alizée in this version of the story.
When I was very young, I was very shy and reserved. I did not really talk to people; I would instead wait for people to talk to me. I was always self-content, however I could be quite attention demanding with relations, as I was energetic, and playful. However all my relations lived in wales, many hundreds of miles away from me, so the few relations I did have, I spent a lot of time with.
Nothing major stood out in my childhood, I learned to read very quickly, I was able to say the entire alphabet before I was 2 years old; however this seemed to be the only stand out thing during my toddler years.
Soon I learned to walk, and this is where my life started to become abnormal. I walked on my toes. I would walk as if I was wearing high heels, even barefoot, or in normal shoes. For this reason, and this reason only others at school started to bully me, I was victimised for being supposedly gay. Despite all the boys spending their time with other boys, whereas I was the only one who spent most of his time with Girls, I even had a “girlfriend” of sorts. As a kid though, I was naïve, I did not really understand what to be gay meant, as such I never challenged the idea I was the only one with a girlfriend, and I was too quiet by nature to really challenge against it. This period really started when I was 5, and lasted till I was 12. I would like to say the cases where the bullying happened, maybe specific examples. But the truth is, I have forced myself to forget it. I made up fantasy’s which I choose to remember instead. At the time, I certainly did not want to die, but I had no reason to say why I wanted to live. Depression to me, is just feeling nothing, I think I went through a period of feeling nothing around this time, but off course I was naïve (and about 7), and as such I did not really understand about depression, and since my life had always been like this, nothing seemed out of the normal. I also stood out as I would fidget extensively, closest I could get to describing them on Wikipedia is Tics. It made me look like I was an easy target, someone who is not mentally as capable as others, true the only other person who done it was another child who had “learning difficulties”. However if I ever asked why I done these things, as I could not explain, it was just something I done and I was told I was just normal, and I accepted that. It soon built into a stubbornness that I am normal, but I am the only person who is willing to be themselves, rather than being the person other people wants them to be.
When I was 7 my parents put me into a performing arts school, their hope was through drama I would become less shy, and more outgoing. I also started to watch programmes such as Robot Wars, and Formula 1. Throughout the week I would look forward to the weekend, which was when these programmes where on. The main thing for me at this time was Rugby however, I started just before my 7th birthday, and I was also very good at it, being my teams top try scorer even though the position I played is the least likely to score tries. These things gave me a sense of purpose, something to live for.
Back to school, and I started to be able to socialise with some people. Mainly Girls, as most boys would not really talk to me due to the stigma. The girls where nice to me however, I suppose in some ways I had a girls upbringing (through school at least). I was also very logical, top of my class constantly for maths, and stubborn. Always assured that my answer was right. I was admittedly also a teacher’s pet. But then again, my teachers where always very nice towards me, whereas even with girls, it was quite hit and miss. Through the period when I was 9-11 years old, I started getting tested for something I was not being told about why. It was basic tests, such as IQ. But they always showed my Maths and Science to be much higher than my age, whilst my English was very underdeveloped.
Onto secondary school (for 11-16 year olds). And life started out much the same. Got bullied by the older kids for supposedly being gay, got bullied by my rugby team for supposedly being gay, and I once got assaulted on the bus, the guy who attacked me for some reason thought I was gay. It was during this period that I feel it peaked. I had been bullied for something I was not for 7 years, and I was only 12 years old. I left my Rugby team, and changed to one of the furthest away from me in my region. My parents also got me to take up martial arts (since I was 10 I think). And something seemed to change about me. I became more outspoken, and politically incorrect. I also developed a racing mind of thoughts, becoming impulsive, and I would stereotype people a lot, taking people as either being one or the other.
I also took up karting around this time, being a fan of Formula 1 I quite enjoyed it, I loved the speed. And due to the absence of robot wars (it got cancelled when I was 10) this became the thing I looked forward to most. Back into lessons, I did not pick up on it at the time, but I had special support teachers for me. In lessons they were there to help me with my work. And I also reported weekly to the Special needs department. Again, I was naïve. I did not pick up on the idea I might have special needs. I just assumed my English is terrible; they are trying to help me.
Growing up, the gay bullying went, as people both grew up and I also started to walk toe heavy so it was less obvious; I got a small group of friends, and started to have what seemed to me to be a relatively normal life. My friends though would never come to me, to ask if I wanted to do something, I always had to go to them. My new rugby team where very friendly, and welcomed me. However they lived 30 miles away, I could never really ask them to go bowling or so on. Around school I could talk to people normally, I was now much more outgoing than what I was in primary school, and I stood up for myself as well. When I was 15 I actually spoke to a robot wars veteran on YouTube. He offered to take me to an event, go backstage and so on. If I was the same person as who I was when I watched robot wars, I would not have gone there. I would not even have talked to him. But I went, and I enjoyed myself, and I still go to those events. I also started up both sailing and kayaking. I did a lot of water sports, and became very good at them. I had to give up karting to do rugby 5 times a week at this point as well, which helped me socially, as I had a narrow range of interests, having people in my school that also played rugby was a help.
However when I was 16, things changed. I went to an open day for another school. Did not really want to go there, but my parents wanted another option to the school I was currently at after finishing compulsory education. At this event a teacher asked my dad why my maths was so good, yet my English so bad. His reply was “Oh he has got Asperger’s”. I was in earshot, and immediately challenged him on what he had said, I was taken home.
I said earlier I sometimes felt like I had no reason to live, but no reason to die either. What got me through those times is the idea that I was different to everyone else. And I would rather be different than to be the same. I was happy with who I was, and did not care if others were not. However everything I was, being shy, logical, reserved so on was described by Asperger’s. I read the Wikipedia article, and it seemed to tell me things about myself, things I could not even identify myself, but they were true. Such as restricted and repetitive interests and behaviour. I tried to prove I was not that, but I could not. My whole childhood and what I made conversation about revolved around Robot wars and formula 1. It made me feel nothing once again. I could not think of any reason to live, it seemed that my life had been set, even toe walking was a symptom, but once again I had no reason to die. My grades near immediately dropped. I was on course for 5 A’s that year. I got none.
However there was one grade I got higher than expected. French, the only subject I went into exams thinking “I am prepared to fail this”. Just before the exam period started, I discovered the Jen Ai Marre music video. I looked at other media of her, such as the songs live performances, which I did not really like as she looked to me like, well let us face it we all know the accusations. Anyway, I watched the five music videos from the Mes courants electriques era and my French went up as I became motivated to study my French text books, whereas in all other subjects I had lost all motivation to study. In fact I ended up with a higher mark in French than I got in English.
Now from here on I am in sixth form. This is non-compulsory education in Britain for 16-18 year olds. From here on is the story of how I came to try and come to accept the facts. Firstly, my parents talked to the head of the special needs department, who told me and my parents that whilst I showed symptoms of Asperger’s, I could not be diagnosed with Asperger’s, for the same reason they concluded when I was 14 years old. That I socialised too well. Whereas in primary school I socialised mainly with girls, in secondary school I went to an all-boys school, and as I became impulsive, I started to gain their respect for speaking exactly my mind, and also started getting in trouble for talking a lot in class.
This assessment I did not agree with, I had gotten over the initial shock of what I had, and I had come to accept it. The big shock was thinking I was just different all the time only to find I was a stereotype. Even just reading the Wikipedia page, it defined me too well. And now I had come to accept it, as it was so clear it had always been there, and although I could blame everything in my past on it, I was comfortable with who I was before, so I should be comfortable now. So I wanted to prove that I did have Asperger’s, but I felt all those who had hidden it from me were once again trying to deny I had it. I became paranoid towards my peers, as I knew from their past actions that it was clear to them I had at least symptoms of Asperger’s, but now they were denying I had it at all. I started taking on role models such as Kitt from Knight Rider, and Benedict Cumberbatches version of Sherlock Homes, as both demonstrated ways of thinking which reminded me of my own, and I felt like I could relate to them. I also liked Red Dwarf, and had done since I was young. I started to realise one of the reasons I like it so much is because I could identify with each of the characters in a different way. Kryten for his intellect, yet his nativity. Rimmer for his narrow range of interests, yet his self-contentness. So on. However whilst these helped me to accept myself, I did not feel comfortable with myself, it did not feel like this is the way I would have wanted it, I still felt on my own.
Sometime during 2012, I watched a Jen Ai Marre live performance. I still did not really like the way she presented herself onstage, however I was starting to like her music, and she was beautiful so what the hell. Anyway, this must have been one of the first times I watched the video the whole way through, and there was an interview at the end, I remember thinking her voice was really cute, and her expression had a sense of chillness about her which I recognised within myself. I then clicked a related video link, and it was the interview of her in a boat, I recognised her as being quite shy, and it touched me a little so I decided that I may have thought wrongly of her, and I wanted to know who she really was.
Here are a few of the things I found out.
She was shy and reserved.
She was logical and stubborn.
She liked maths and physics at school (I thought she was my age at this point, and I took these subjects)
She liked Water sports. (By this time I had represented my borough in the London youth games for both sailing and kayaking)
She also liked Chemistry for experiments (I took Chemistry as a subject for same reasons)
She liked Corsica because her family was there, the mountains and the seaside. (I liked Wales for the exact same reasons, although I never lived there, I counted it as my heritage)
She showed a lot of facial expressions I made when I was feeling either shy, or flirty. And she had a much longer version of the hair style I wanted at the time as well.
However, what interested me most was her double image. As a person she was shy and reserved, yet on stage she was outgoing and politically incorrect, on stage she done what she wanted to do, not what others would tell her to do. This reminded me of myself, because I was naturally quite shy and reserved in private, but in my public life (i.e. school) I always done exactly what I wanted to do, and was not afraid to step out from the crowd. You can probably see already how she made me not just accept myself, but become comfortable with myself.
This really began a period of self-discovery for me. For example, she says she is very jealous. I thought at the time I am not jealous because I never want for anything, I do not care about the latest phone, or the latest clothes. So I said to myself I am not jealous, that is the difference. But I soon realised I am simply jealous of different things. She grew up in Corsica surrounded by her family, the sea, and the mountains. I remember thinking that I wished I had that, as I am an only child, and all my family are in wales, themselves surrounded by the sea and the mountains. I wishing I had a brother or a sister like her, and that’s how I am jealous. I am jealous of things I could never have no matter how hard I try.
Alizée to my knowledge does not have Asperger’s. I could see the same symptoms in her I saw in myself. But with her she seemed like a normal person with a normal life. She could walk on her toes for example, and it was something so huge for me. Sure she may not naturally walk her toes like I do, she is a dancer, but it doesn’t matter, the only other person I know who could do it, and it was someone I could really identify with, and admire. And I admired her for what she had gone through in her life, not just the pressures, but how the media had been so horrible towards her from what I could see. It made me realise all the bullying that had come as a result for what I previously blamed on Asperger’s, where just because sometimes people do not like others who are different, they try to stick within the crowd, and rise to the top of it, rather than being content standing outside the crowd. It felt like there may be someone else who understood what I went through.
One thing did stand out however, on one side she was shy and reserved in public, which I identified with through my Asperger’s. However the other side of her, who she was in public I identified with as well. It was something I sort of ignored as I had no answer for it, but I identified myself with it as well. She said she wore the clothes she did, not because she wanted the attention, but because she did not want to wear clothes she wore every day. I saw myself in this as well, because I speak my mind always, I do not look for attention in what I say, but rather I want people to know exactly what I think, and those close to me respect this. This is something that is not in Asperger’s, however I identified it in myself. I then considered its why those in my year respected me, and the same with my teachers, and I remembered why they failed to diagnose me, because I socialise too well. I looked at French media, and it seemed people looked at her public life, and failed to acknowledge who she was in private. It seemed the same story for me, as if this unknown part of me was hiding the Asperger’s from those who looked. Soon the answer was actually given to me, one of my friends said I was bi-Polar. It is caused by depression, and is associated with some forms of Autism. The symptoms described seemed to describe me just in the same way Asperger’s had, and now I was starting to draw up a complete picture of myself, through Alizée. It felt nice, as I became to realise I was an individual again, that I really was unique, and not just a Wikipedia article. And that is why I care for her so much, because she helped me to care for myself.
What I have written there, is a summery. There is so much more I wish to keep to myself. Not because I have something to hide, but because there are still unanswered questions. Let me list some “coincidences”.
Both Me and Alizée attended performing arts schools to try and become less shy.
Both Me and Alizée struggled to talk to our own sex in primary school.
Both Me and Alizée got told off for being very talkative to our own sex in secondary school
Both Me and Alizée are proficient in sailing, and water sports. (Note, I was before I knew of her)
Both Me and Alizée have our hearts in a region between the mountains and the sea.
The list does really go on. To the extent there seems to me to be something more than what I already know. This is the question I am trying to answer as of now. Truthly, I believe the answer is simply our hearts are in the same place, we are both very similar, yet individual. Who we naturally are, is two very similar people. For me the most important desire in a relationship is fidelity. And my three biggest hates are Lies, Hypocrisy, and political correctness. And both us were made into who we are today. She was made into who she was though her media career, I was made into who I am today through the bullying I received as a child. Then again, are they much different? The challenges she went through feel to me like very similar challenges I went through, expressed in a different way. And I respect her for that. To make a point, she was perceived by many around her as an image which was not truly who she was. She was victimised by many people including the press, and even the general public did not understand who she truly was. However today, after all of that she is still the same person as she was when she started. She is happy with herself and she has not changed for others because they did not agree. And that speaks to me, because I today am still the same person I was when I was born, I did not change myself to try and fit in better, I was happy with who I was and I refused to change. Maybe that is why I do not see stubbornness as a flaw, because it allows me to be myself, to share my own opinion. And that is what I do; I say exactly what I think. Not because I want attention, but because I want to express myself. This is exactly what Alizée did whenever she stood on stage, she expressed herself. I have heard people quote her as saying her career was not ideal, and there are many things she would change. But she has come to accept it as being ok. That is how I am with my past. There are so many moments I would change; I would completely overhaul it if I could. However, everything I have today is directly because of my childhood and what I have today is complete contempt, and I would never give that up. Just as no matter how badly Alizée looks upon her career, it gave her a daughter, and she would go through it all again every day without hesitation just for her.
But now what is happening is I am struggling to finish this off, there seems so much I have not said, however I know it is because I will never finish this off. There is always something I can add, so I will stop it here. I could describe exactly how I feel about her, or go more into how she makes me more comfortable with my past. However, this post is about me saying why she means so much to me, and I feel I have achieved that. There is no one reason why I care for her so much, and it is always changing. However this is my past, it is set. And it will never change. So now I would like to talk about my future. I went through what I identify as three periods of depression.
The first I got through thanks to a programme called Robot Wars
The second I got through thanks to many things. Rugby and Racing come to mind
The third I got through thanks to Alizée.
Those four things are possibly the most important in my life. You have read what I have been through, and many people spend their entire life without direction, not knowing where they are going, or what they realistically aim to do. You may have seen my signature (Rugby, Racing, and Robotics). These are the things I pursue. I have direction, and I know what I want to achieve from life, from the lowest of possible starting’s I feel like I have risen so high. I am going to university this year. Where I will continue to play rugby with the team I moved to when I was 12, and hopefully play for the university team. In my last year of University I will help build a racing car, and even hopefully work for a formula 1 team. I also now compete in Robot Wars, and I own my own 100KG robot which is a previous UK champion. Many strive to achieve their childhood dream; I will achieve every single dream I had as a child before I am even 20 years old. And all thanks to Alizée simply being herself, it helped me to accept who I am myself. Nothing set out in my future could, or would have ever been realised, without Alizée. And again I struggle to finish this off, there is still more to tell. But what I will say, the person who I aim to please the most, in the whole world is me, when I was 5 years old, before anything ever happened. I aim to make him more proud and excited than I could ever make anyone, and what he dreamed of more than anything else, was Robot Wars, it was the thing that awe inspired him throughout every day of every week, helped him to keep fighting just as Alizée does now for me. I say this now, without Alizée the picture below would never have been taken. And that is what I will finish on. This picture is me with my robot. My childhood dream.