Why do we fight being weird? Why is fitting in and not standing out one of our life goals? To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure why. What I do know is this. I don’t fight being weird and I am certainly okay with not fitting in. So what makes me different from other people? What makes me okay with being different….well here’s my thoughts on this.
Let’s start from the beginning. The beginning always starts from when we were kids, because believe it or not…everything starts here.
I was a weird kid. Part of it was me and most of it was the environment that I grew up in. I grew up in a very, very disfunctual family and my coping skill that I developed was to be quiet, and invisible with a crazy good imagination. So good in fact I went through a stage where I believed I was a dog. I believed this to the point that my mom had to hide the dog biscuits. She wasn’t thrilled about the biscuits and was rather mortified when my next stage included not eating with my hands. I mean really, dogs don’t have hands and how could she expect me to use mine? Dinner time was an adventure during this stage.
I went from the dog phase where I walked around panting with my paws up to believing that I was left behind by a circus that had just gone through town. I was not shy about this thought and I told everyone that would listen. Again, my Mom was none too thrilled with me. I guess I could have timed it better and waited until she wasn’t standing next me when I told people my sad tale of how they left town in a hurry and my Mom found me in the gutter.
My weirdness never went away, but I did try and hide it when I got older.
Going into middle school was tough for me. Kids are incredibly mean at that age and I learned quickly to try and hide the weirdness. Looking back now, I can see that hiding my weirdness didn’t make it go away and I wasn’t fooling anyone. What trying to hide it did, was to turn it into awkwardness and that is 10 times worse. Boy was I awkward.
So as my progression in life continued, so did my weirdness. I still coped with life’s hardships the same way I did as a kid. I was quiet, invisible and had a great imagination. The good thing was I didn’t try to pretend to be a dog and I was too old to be abandoned by a circus. So I went from trying to hide my weirdness to trying to cope with it. And the way I did this was to start drinking.
When I drank, I no longer cared that I was weird and I gave myself permission to let the weird out. I let my wall down and I did all the things that I was too scared to do when I was sober. I enjoyed the feeling of that freedom and I see now why they call it “liquid courage”. This was an uneasy partnership between me and the bottle – or in my the beer can. I need it and it dug its claws deep into my soul. Unfortunately this song and dance lasted for years and if I’m going to be truthful, decades.
All of this, all of the pain and the lies were all because I was too scared to let the real me out…the weird me out.
The happy ending to this story is the fact that I have figured out how to let the weird me out and I got rid of the bottle pretty much at the same time. It amazes me how we put ourselves into our own prisons where there is no key, and there is no lock. We are there by our own will and can get out anytime we want, we just have to want to.
So with no booze in me, I am able to be as weird as I want to be and baby I want to be weird. I see nothing wrong with dancing down the aisle of the grocery store like I’m the best dancer on Soul Train. I see nothing wrong wearing what I want. There is no age limit on feeling good about yourself and no one is going to tell me how to dress. I see nothing wrong with getting as many tattoos as you want. I see nothing wrong with going to the park and making my way across the monkey bars. I see nothing wrong with being the person you want to be without feeling judged or looked down on.
I don’t look at someone who is weird and see someone who is unsure of themselves. I see a warrior. I see someone who is so confident with themselves and have such a bright inner light that you have to wear sunglasses when you look at them. I see someone who has shrugged off of what society tells them to be and flicks it back them. I see someone who I want to walk up to and start talking to. I see someone who is going to make a difference in the world. I see a leader. I see me.
So as I sit here and write these words, I have to look back at the little girl who thought she was a dog that got left behind by a traveling circus. I don’t feel bad for her, I am very proud of her. She is a survivor and has learned to embrace all the weirdness that makes her, her.
I don’t eat dog biscuits anymore but I still get a lump in my stomach every time a circus coming to town.