I was born odd. My mother went to a fortune-teller when she was pregnant with me and she was told she would have a very smart girl that would accomplish many great things. That is not so odd. However, from very early on eyes and ears were all about me waiting to see what I would do and who I would become. Slowly, I morphed into that odd role.
I began to hate beans. What self-respecting Puerto Rican would not eat beans? I stopped eating meat and became a vegetarian. What self-respecting Puerto Rican would not eat meat? I went away to boarding school for high school education. What self-respecting Puerto Rican would not live at home with family? Instead of playing outside in the neighborhood I remained inside reading Little Women and Tale of Two Cities. I wasn’t just a nerd in an area that didn’t understand nerdism but I was a special nerd. I grew up with Country Western music in an area that saw the birth of rap. I was an oddball, indeed.
My cousins were older than me by a decade or so. They had lives that took them in completely different directions. They had cars, lives and babies. I didn’t want kids, until I had my precious boy. I was Cousin Itt. I had the odd super curly hair. I had the slightly different belief system. I was Cousin Itt. I had different networks and social circles. I was Cousin Itt. In the television show the Adams Family, Cousin Itt was a little being whose entire body was shrouded by long hair and who had a super high IQ and a wide array of odd talents.
Then my younger cousin started hanging out with me. I somehow infected him. He liked Def Leppard and talked in a midwestern cadence. He became Cousin Itt II. Woohoo,. I was not alone. Then I became more social and more embedded in the family structure as I took on more responsibilities for my mother. I morphed out of the Cousin Itt role but he has remained. I wonder what his thoughts are on his role. None of us would know as he stays covered under his baseball hat.
What does it even mean to be a Cousin It anymore? I take it as a badge of honor. Why not celebrate the quirkiness and oddities of life. I was born to be this mysterious odd family being and I’m cool with that.