Being called weird used to hurt.
Kids call each other names all the time but sometimes a word sneaks through the armor and cuts you to the quick. Growing up I was called weird by a lot of kids. Eventually they stopped as social groups became more defined and we didn’t try to mingle with kids outside of our cliques. What if you are an outlier though? I was the odd ball in a lot of cliques because I never fully fit one. As an unidentified gifted child due to hidden learning disorders, I never fully fit in. My best friends were the gifted and talented kids but I didn’t do well academically. I enjoyed learning about everything but didn’t do my work so I was held back from academic social activities and advanced classes. Not necessarily athletic but still interested in doing something with my excesses of energy, I was not good enough to make a team but not willing to not at least try. So, being called weird happened a lot.
I thought I had reached a point in my life where being called weird wouldn’t matter but recently I discovered that it did indeed matter. As an adult I am happily secure in who I am and embrace my neurodiversity. I accept my limits and know which ones I like to push. I am okay with being different….but weird?
The word weird suggests unnatural character. It is alienating, hard, it drags down the soul with a sense of abnormality. It hurts.
Recently I had two people call me weird. It shouldn’t have bothered me yet is somehow did. I’ve spent some time pondering why and I’ve realized that I do indeed care *a bit* what others think of me depending on who they are. We all want to be part of something and be seen for who we are. We want our innermost self to be something that others want to lift up, not put down. So being called an anomaly isn’t the most flattering comment. Mayim Bialik recently made a Vlog about being the different kid and what she said resonated with me deeply. It resonated with my husband. It resonated with my son. It is wonderful to take steps forward in our culture to accepting the differences around us and within us but we still need to work on being kind about it. Even with The Big Bang Theory becoming a mainstream hit, folks are still being sidelined for being exactly like the characters in the show millions tune into watch.
It comes down to having to accept that according to others I am weird. My husband is weird. My kids, well they are weird too. Do we think we are weird? Well, maybe different but certainly not weird. In an effort to embrace our perceived weirdness we have just had to let it go and find a positive. Our son wears a great shirt that reads “Weird is just a side effect of AWESOME” I’ll go with his approach. On the days I can’t be that chipper about being called names I have to remind myself that being called weird is like being called limited edition. You haven’t had your spirit broken and you don’t feel compelled to give up yourself to please others.
With that in mind, here’s a toast to all the weird kids within ourselves and a reminder to be kind to each other.