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I was always the weird kid.
And not weird in that cutesy, faux nerd, “adorkable” way. Weird in that I played Barbies until I was 12, started a one-person Spice Girls fan club and wrote a speech on what I liked about Star Wars. I wasn’t cute - I was chubby with a mushroom cut. And when I got to high school, my weirdness led to getting threatening emails from the popular girls and having my house egged by the guy I liked on my 17th birthday.
I was painfully insecure, and the only thing I wanted was to fit in. So I dressed like Blake Lively in The Town one summer, dressed the opposite the next and wasted my hard-earned McDonalds money on cultivating an image. I shed some friends for “the girls” of my new high school, and I ditched them for a group of punk skater guys who treated me even worse.
To fit in, I drank too much at parties and I failed grade 12. I stifled my humour and what I actually liked (pop culture - all the time, 24/7) and clung to Friday nights with my actual best friends who I didn’t have to fake it with. By the end of grade 12 I’d begun to embrace my loud, abrasive personality, but I still wrestled with the idea of being myself: after all, sometimes jokes led to laughs, and other times a jockette would make a face before laughing and saying, “Oh my God, you’re so weird.” (Which obviously was a nightmare.)
But the older I got, the less this became an issue. To make up for being ostracized by various social circles once upon a time (and up until I was about 20), I hung out with like-minded people who understand why my ringtone was “Barbie Girl” (#AQUAFOREVER) and why I memorized the Spartan Cheerleaders routine. I didn’t fit in on a grand scale (and still don’t at baby showers), but I was happy: on top of the best friends I had, I was making more who got where I was coming from. Some I’d known for years without actually knowing, others I met after we followed each other on Twitter. Always, we got where the other was coming from.
Because we’ve all been there. At one point or another - whether you’re a cool person or a “weird” person or a person who will not be labelled (and good for you!) - we have all experienced the dread of not fitting in or worse, feeling judged. High school is usually the pinnacle of tragedy, but it happens all the time in college, in university, and even at work. (Case and point: I said “cool beans” in an email once which prompted serious behind-my-back mockery. And maybe rightfully so, but if it’s good enough for Creed Bratton, it’s good enough for me.)
As far as I’m concerned, being “weird” isn’t a bad thing - and most of the time it doesn’t mean you’re “weird” at all. Often, it means that your sense of humour is original, that you like different things than the people you grew up with, or that you want something other than the goals of your peers and your co-workers. There’s nothing wrong with being “weird” if you’re being yourself (and also, if you’re not hurting anybody). It takes guts to be who you are, and even though I can sit here encouraging us all to be ourselves, I’ll admit that it still hurts my feelings and make me doubt myself every time that word gets thrown in my direction in a derogatory sense. But that’s when you do something proactive: you call on your real friends, you work on a project (Awesome Shitty Things, you guys) or you walk it off. Anybody who you want to know won’t paint you with such a broad brush anyway, and anybody who you want to be friends with won’t be so judgemental, to begin with.
I wrote this today because I got to spend a weekend with friends who I admire for being themselves. Despite the bullshit they’ve been through and the trials and tribulations they’ve endured, they not only have the guts to be who they are, they’ll be the first to support you while you do the same. So fuck the weirdo-haters. After all - what type of person writes off someone for being “weird” anyway? In my opinion, THOSE are the people you should be careful about.
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- ediesumms said: Love this and totally agree.
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- littlelizey said: THANK. YOU.
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- sterlingcoopertaylorpryce said: Anne you are great. For serious. I’m glad you’ve embraced the “weird” because now we get all the excellent posts you write!