1.Would you describe yourself as being weird/different?
Yes. Depending on my context and mood, I fluctuate being being merely different to being extremely weird.
2.If so, when did you start feeling weird or different?
While I’ve always felt odd, I don’t think I started really recognizing it until I was ten. I remember standing on the playground during recess watching the other kids play and feeling sad because I felt like an alien from another planet. In fact, at that age I told a classmate that I actually was an alien. I think it was my unsophisticated way of explaining my aloneness.
All throughout my teenage years, I’d be reminded that I wasn’t quite “right”. I’m not an ugly person. Hell, catch me on a good day and I can pass as attractive. So there were a few times when guys–usually guys new to the school–would try to chat me up. The second I would open my mouth, though, an incredulous look would come over their faces and they’d run–not walk–away. One of those guys actually told me, “You’re weird, you know that?” I always belonged to a pack of friends, but I always felt like they belonged more to my twin sister than to me, that I was only one crazy comment from being dropped. But the thing was that I didn’t care about this precariousness. The “alien” in me was fine being alone because at least it would mean I could be myself.
By the time I reached my senior year, I was exhausted from trying to be normal and went the opposite direction, letting my hair be wild, wearing crazy clothes, and reveling in minor mischief. In some ways, I became more social accepted (I was elected “Most Humorous” by the class), carving a niche for myself that no one had filled adequately at my school. It helped me to deal with the name-calling that had followed me since elementary school. No one’s going to bother calling you a “weirdo” if you have “I AM A WEIRDO” practically emblazed on your forehead.
But post-high school, when you’re expected to grow up and conform, my oddballity started affecting my self-esteem.
3.Is your weirdness readily apparent to others, or do you go to great lengths to hide it?
Yes and no. When people first meet me, they think I’m normal. I look normal and I know how to socialize in an acceptable way…and even have fun at it. But when they get to know me, it doesn’t take long for them to figure out that I’m atypical in lots of ways. I don’t scare people off, but I do admit that I hold them at arm’s length until I can decide whether to trust them with my “true” self. So in that way, I guess you could say that I do hide myself.
- Do you ever play up your weirdness to get attention?
I think I did in high school just a little. I think I could have fitted in more if I had really wanted to and worked at it, but I enjoyed being recognized as “different”, even if it did bring me ridicule. I also think by playing up the craziness of my personality, people in general were nicer to me, treating me with more patience and compassion than they would have otherwise. Once, when a couple of classmates complained that I was receiving some priviledge that they weren’t given, the teacher said “monstro is special”. I liked being labeled as “special”, even if that has negative connotations.
But now I’m all about trying to take myself from weirdo to quirky. Being weird means a lifetime of loneliness and humiliation. Quirky strikes a nice balance between freak and normal.