Let’s be honest. I’m a bit odd. And I say this without shame, because, well, I like who I am. And if who I am is “odd”, then I’m okay with that. But recently people have been telling me that I’m “strange”, “weird”, or “bizarre”. Again, I’m okay with this, and these statements were meant, I think, as some sort of term of endearment; however, I don’t really know why there has been a sudden surge of people telling me the obvious because I don’t think I’m doing anything different.
I’ve always been a staunch supporter of the “be yourself” camp. I actually made it my life goal as a child to never be “normal”. Growing up, the mere mention of the word “normal” would make me cringe. Since then, I’ve always associated the term with being average – and that’s something I never wanted to be. So I made a point to do my own thing, ignoring trends and fads and even a few important social cues. In true overachiever fashion, I think I’ve fulfilled and exceeded my own expectations. I’d like to say that it was hard, but honestly, it has probably been one of the easiest things I’ve ever done.
At first, in my quest for anti-normalcy, I think I did a lot of things that were silly, like avoid fashion trends or musicians I might actually have enjoyed merely because they were “in”. I wanted so badly to be “not normal” that I tried too hard to be what I already was (which, as I, and many others, have already established is “odd”). But slowly, I became comfortable expressing myself regardless of what was “in” or “out”, feeling confident in my own skin and becoming unwilling to compromise who I was or who I wanted to be.
So, who am I? I say what I want – often without providing context or explanation. I act goofy when I feel goofy and I act serious when I feel like being serious. I refuse to let social norms restrict me and often look ridiculous for doing so. I am awkward in almost all situations and I revel in them. I seek experiences that push me out of my comfort zone. I willingly sacrifice my own feelings, wants, and desires for the benefit and betterment of the common good. I value rationality, efficiency, and structure. I love being alone, but I force myself to be around people. I love being on stage, but I hate being the center of attention. I like doing dishes, taking standardized tests, conspiracy theories, and writing essays. I’m blunt, silly, off-putting, sincere, honest, clever, proud, stubborn, creative, and, for most of the general population, “weird”.
My whole life I’ve been “odd”, “strange”, “peculiar”, and any other synonym you can throw at me. It’s no secret. I’m pretty obviously different. But why, after almost 23 years, are people suddenly feeling the overwhelming urge to tell me so? Why is my life philosophy so foreign to people?
I can’t be the only one. Am I?