When I was little, I strove for attention as many kids do. In year four, this need for attention had reached its peak and I didn’t seem to be meeting my attention requirements. I had to do something about it. This want wasn’t in the forefront of my consciousness, and so I didn’t deliberately strategize to gain the notice of my peers or parents.
On Saturday Disney (one of the most popular Saturday morning cartoons shows at that time in Australia) I saw a challenge where a host had to eat a banana, peel and all. They joked about the peel being nutritional and me, being the inattentive and absent-minded child that I was (and probably still am), I completely zoned out (?) the part about it being a joke. So I was at school later that week, eating a banana for morning tea, and I decided to try out the banana peel. I must say, it was quite unpleasant, but if you ate it with the banana, it became bearable.
Obviously, I got a strong reaction from my peers and to ten-year-old me, a negative reaction was better than no reaction and so I ended up getting labeled as “weird”. Looking back, I call myself weird too.
I was upset at being seen this way, as it gave me zero friends, but deep down I was probably secretly pleased with being in the limelight. But to me, and everyone around me, weird equals a bad thing.
Then, as I grew up, I found great enjoyment in being an outlier. Doing things normally was boring and I wanted to live an interesting life, so I pursued peculiar hobbies and presented myself differently to those around me. Now, I am still considered a little odd, but fairly normal by those around me, especially those who don’t know me as well.
So, why should we be reclaiming the word “weird”? The secret which not many people know:
It gives you power.
At first, this may sound absolutely awful. Like, who wants power? Why would someone want it for anything other than selfish reasons?
You’ve got a fair point.
It’s not that we would want power for the prestige, but for the things we can do around us. Power creates leaders and influencers. It’s what allows us to create change in the world around us. If we can get the attention of a group of people and persuade them to change their ways for the better, why not take that power and use it to improve our societies and our world?
An example of this would be Lady Gaga. It’s hard to think of another celebrity so weird and outlandish, but she has done so much with her power to empower others and fight for the rights of many groups of people.
Not only does being weird give us power, but it also empowers us. It gives us a chance to break free of the moulds we have grown up to fit into and unapologetically be our authentic selves.
Have you ever wanted to do something or say something, but have been afraid of being seen as weird? That is you pushing against the pull of being yourself just because you are scared of what others think. Why should what they think limit your freedom?
When watching the above video, did you at all find yourself smiling? Elizabeth Sweetheart is a wonderful example of someone who is living her truth although she may seem weird. The way she seems so positive and cheerful is a testament to the effect of being a little weird. Of course, she went to another whole level of doing what she loves, but even then, she is loved by her community even more which is evident by everyone’s reaction to her. She isn’t met with hate, but rather with love.
I challenge you to do something different tomorrow. Do something weird that you want to do. That doesn’t necessarily mean eat a banana peel for attention, but do something that draws you in. Do something that makes a statement. It doesn’t have to be big either. It could mean wearing something a little differently or smiling at everyone you meet or embracing (and not just hiding) your quirks. These things will make your life far more enjoyable and if people see you living your authentic life, it will make their day more enjoyable too and may even inspire them to step out of the box.
Life is too short not to be a little weird. Reclaim it.