Last weekend I was sitting on the couch watching Lego's Ninjago with the boys.
Well, I was more passively waiting to break up a wrestling match, or tell someone to get off of the coffee table, really. But a certain scene caught my attention.
You see, two of the Lego ninjas in training were telling their sensei (teacher) that a third ninja, Zane, was "weird."
What he said back to them was "What is weird? Someone who is different, or someone who is different from you?"
And I thought to myself, well that was profound.
Don't judge my source of inspiration for this post - when your mind is open you can learn from almost anything. But that little question got me to thinking.
If you say you don't judge others, you are a liar, liar, pants on fire. I do it, you do it, everyone does.
But by what measure?
I am fully aware that I am not "normal." For better or worse, I've been told by everyone from my husband, siblings, coworkers, acquaintances... I don't fit into the "normal" category in some ways that make me feel pretty awesome, and others that I could stand to work on.
I'm good with that, more now than ever. But I know all too well what it feels like to be "weird" or "odd."
I've always been a bit much. Like purse and a backpack in high school much (What was I thinking?). Stilettos in the grocery store much. Constantly bursting into random song and dance, overly animated, laughing a little (okay, a lot) too loud, and I think my picture is in Webster's under the term "Drama Queen"... I can't commit to a hair style or color to save my life and I can't explain one thing about myself in simple terms. I'm fully aware that I'm spread far and wide in interests and beliefs. Altogether, I'm just a five foot, overdressed, glittery, walking contradiction.
I've had people try to label my "problem" and have been called everything from a "loon" to "fake." I was even once told in an online group for moms that I was an inconsistent troll and I was making up my entire life. That was a new one. I assure you, I couldn't make up this madness if I was Shonda Rhimes.
Being so all over the place left me feeling alone for years.
The sensation of being able to be in a crowd of people, many who you know, but feeling disconnected, sucks. There's just no more articulate way to put it.
For years I did the chameleon trick. Depending on my surroundings, I'd put on the appropriate airs, feign interests I didn't have, or play up the applicable ones and hide what didn't fit.
It was utterly exhausting.
It wasn't until I was sitting in a therapist's chair and she asked me who I was that I addressed this fragmented existence. She asked me "who are you?"
Simple, yes? "A mom, A.... "
"No. Who are YOU."
Exploring that question without regard to the roles I play in other people's lives, responsibilities and expectations was mind blowing in a sense.
Well, the short answer is I'm a hot mess - or one fine one, if you believe this site's tagline.
Slowly but surely, I've learned to accept myself, for all of my various parts, regardless of whether in someone's eyes they make sense together or not.
I'm weird. And...
So are you to someone who doesn't believe as you do.
Someone somewhere along the course of your day thinks that you're weird too.
It doesn't matter if it's your hair, your choice of outfit, your quirks, your laugh, the fact that you like to do civil war reenactments, play online games, enjoy opera; hell, they really don't need a reason.
They will judge you, be the jury all by themselves, and assign you a label. And that's A-okay.
After more than two decades of not accepting myself, I'll be damned if I go backward just to fit into someone else's mold for me. Clearly, God had other ideas or he wouldn't have made me this way to begin with.
There's an incredible freedom you find when you stop trying to be normal or meet societal expectations. That's not to say you should go streaking or do something that will get you committed. Don't come back here to let me know you took this too literally!
I no longer have any desire to fit in.
But there's no point in stressing yourself out trying to measure up to some absurd notion that we weren't all made to be unique and stand out. Take your normalcy and stick it where the sun doesn't shine.
Who wants to be normal anyway? Don't you know you were born to be extraordinary, Darling?