The other weekend my mom and eldest niece came to visit for a Girls Weekend. We enjoyed the sites and sounds of the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival and also took in the Wisconsin Quilt Expo. We ladies know how to party!
But, the weekend with the ladies came to an end over a breakfast of Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with toasted walnuts in warm maple syrup (homemade). And bacon (of course). Breakfast around the table was filled with chatter and my mom brought up a previous conversation she’d had with my niece about what the love lives of seventh graders was like. Mom laughed over the response she got of, “Nonexistent”. The discussion then led to boys, dating, love, and how too many young kids get wrapped up in long-term relationships with someone in Middle School. Our collective advice was, “Don’t do that!”
Mom stated, “Nothing has happened to you yet in Middle School; go be interesting first.”
Of course, we all know that even as 12 year old’s we had experienced some interesting things. However, it really wasn’t until we got older that the more noteworthy experiences began to happen.
My niece responded that she was “weird”. Her eyes grew wide as in unison, her Grandma, Uncle (Mr. Muse), and I, all exclaimed, “GOOD! Keep being weird!”
My niece gave us a puzzled, bemused look, and we all chimed in with examples of how we all felt “weird” and it was normal to feel that way. We continued on about how “weird” isn’t the bad trait it’s often made out to be. After all, even the City of Austin, TX, like to make sure people “keep it weird” complete with a festival! No, “weird” is nothing to be ashamed of, or hide, because there is nothing wrong with it.
I embraced my weird early. I played trombone for many years (I still have it, too) and in Middle and High Schools I would wear hats, typically Fedoras, for Pep Band gigs. There were giggles from some people at the time, but now people remember my wearing the hats. I remain in touch with my band teacher and the hats are always one of the things he comments on. Was it weird to wear the hats all the time? Not to me – it was an expression of who I was. It was fun.
Years went by and my “weird” showed with me wearing cowboy boots before they came back into fashion in the early 90’s; the same with flannel shirts. I’d rather stay home playing cards with my Mom than go out to a drinking party. All things that at the time were considered “weird”.
I also competed in Horticulture and because of that, I started to travel to National competitions around the USA, meeting lots of people – some of whom I’ve stayed in touch. Back then, people commented that it was weird that I competed over plants, but I loved the competition. I was good at it. Plus, getting to show off my knowledge, as well as getting to see different places in the country, was enjoyable to me.
So, because I embraced my “weird” early, I can say with confidence that it led me to more interesting and extraordinary things than had I remained “normal”. And, I love my “weird”. I love how fascinated I am with nature, especially fungi and bones. I love that I prefer to stay home than to go out to a bar. I love having a small group of close friends and that I takes me ages to trust new people enough that I consider them in-or-near the “inner circle of trust”.
There are a lot of things I love about myself that are not mainstream, far too many to list. But, it was having the confidence and respect for myself (thank you Mom for being a great example) and who I was, am, and will become, that allows what was once called “weird” to be thought of by others as “interesting”.
So, to my niece who called herself “weird”: embrace it. Let your freak flag fly. Know and understand that your “weird” is what makes you interesting and being an interesting person brings all kinds of new experiences, and people, your way. Your “weird” may not make you everyone’s cup of tea, and who would want that anyway? Your “weird” will attract the right people at the right times. And you know what? All those new experiences and people you meet because of your brand of “weird” will just make you even more interesting!
Did you grow up thinking you were “weird”?
What “weird” things about yourself are your favorite(s)?