Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Stay Weird

I had to work on New Year's Eve.

No big deal, except that it felt like the rest of the world was off -- including my whole family -- and I was feeling a little sorry for myself. All three of them had been off for a week and a half and I didn't get to spend any of it with them. So much was to be accomplished over that week and a half. We'd discussed it -- I thought we had a plan -- I didn't think I was a bitch on wheels yielding a honey-do list -- I thought we had mutual goals. I was mistaken. Throw that on top of my resentment over having to work -- even on the weekends -- when it felt like the rest of the world was off -- shopping, going to movies, watching marathon sessions of whatever, partying with friends -- add in a little bit of not drinking anymore and -- I think you might be able to understand why no one wanted to share their NYE with me. 

I was a big fat ball of disillusioned miserable.

So I was at work on New Year's Eve, resenting people who are less dedicated, less educated, and less experienced getting more money, more benefits, more respect and more privileges (I told you, I've been a true joy to be around this week) when one of my co-workers looks out the door and says, "Get ready, here comes a bunch of weirdos."

It was my family, bringing me lunch.

Feeling wicked, and knowing they'd find it amusing rather than hurtful, I called her on it right in front of them. She was mortified. She apologized profusely. Later she said that she had always been strict with her children -- with how they present themselves to the world -- because she wanted to protect them from -- and here she blushed -- people doing to them exactly what she had just done to me and my family.

I spent the rest of the day worrying that maybe I'd called it wrong and maybe my family WOULD find it hurtful. What she said -- that was on her. But if my family was hurt by it -- that was on me -- because if I hadn't told them, they never would have known. And ignorance is supposed to be bliss.

I didn't want to hurt them. I never want to hurt them.

Besides -- they ARE weird. WE are weird. It wasn't a missed call on her part. An ignorant call perhaps. A mean call for sure. But not a missed call. 

Like many brilliant weirdos before them, they know -- and generally embrace -- who they are. Weird is interesting. Normal is boring. I love quirky people. My idea of hell would be to be trapped in a social situation with a bunch of normal people. I have to be around normal people sometimes. They make me want to scratch my eyeballs out just so that something interesting will happen. And that's drastic, because I have a real thing about eyes. Such is the extent of my distaste for normal -- for suburban conversations. I drop the girls off at school and watch the other girls walking from the parking lot. Pretty. Vanilla. Interchangeable. Nobody would ever call them weird. Nobody with any sense would ever call them interesting. Their lives will be easier. Things will come to them because they have chosen -- or their parents have chosen for them -- conformity. They will marry clean-cut men who wear golf shirts and they will sport the right hairstyles and go to jobs they hate -- or, if they're really lucky, stay at home while their husbands go off to jobs THEY hate -- so they can have the latest countertops in their kitchens and the latest SUVs in their garages or whatever status symbol will be deemed relevant at the time. It will all be very tidy and predictable and no one will ever call them weird.

And maybe that will make them happy.

I don't know.

It doesn't seem to. But what do I know.

I have always been envious of my family and my friends who truly walk the weird walk. (That's sort of like a silly walk. Only weirder.) I tend to walk the line. I want to be weird. I'm weird at heart. But I always feel a little out of place. Too weird among the normal; too normal among the weird.

If I were to make a resolution for the upcoming year, I think it would be to be truer to my inner weird -- not to try to hide it or even sand down its edges -- to live it loud and large with every bit of myself. To geek out about the things that I geek out about -- even if they're not the things the people around me grok. To put myself in situations where creativity and intuition are valued as much or more than lobotomized conformity.

I have a head start. I don't socialize much, but when I do it is generally with people who would not exactly be considered average. Are they super-cool or super-weird? Well, that just depends on your perspective, doesn't it?

A friend sent this to me last year, and I printed it out and pinned it to my bulletin board at work:

Weird isn't for everyone. If there wasn't a norm, how could one deviate from it? 

I wanted normal once.

I held on to wanting some of the vestiges of normalcy long after.

I don't want a bit of it anymore.

Take it, if it's for you. I won't judge (much. I'm working on that...)

As for me and mine? We're gonna stay weird.


angel shrout said...

I will openly admit I am a little off center from everyone else. Even in my family. Out of 4 girls one would not know we were related if they were to see us just being us. I have taught my boys that their gift is the one thing they should never change or let go of to appease anyone else. Their gift will always make room for them in the world.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Grok on! My mother raised me with watchwords like "Don't be silly," and "Act your age." These days, I love how my grandkids at ages 4 and 5 set their own styles and follow their own hearts. You're a good mom to encourage your kids to celebrate their unique selves.

Eva Gallant said...

My siblings used to insist that a switch was made at the hospital before I was brought home, because I'm quite weird compared the them!