Raise your hand if you are NOT a weirdo!

Personally there has never been a time in my life when I HAVEN’T felt like the odd man out-- doing, saying, and feeling things that aren’t conventional or normal. But it seems like everyone around me says the exact same thing about themselves. If we’re all weirdos, then aren’t we all “normal”? Are we just claiming weirdo-dom just to make ourselves look cool, special, and non-conformist?

1.Would you describe yourself as being weird/different?

2.If so, when did you start feeling weird or different? Is your weirdness readily apparent to others, or do you go to great lengths to hide it? Do you ever play up your weirdness to get attention?

  1. If you don’t identify as weird/different, what makes you say this? Do you ever wish you were less conventional, or are you fine being who you are?

I’ll provide my responses after I read ya’lls. :slight_smile:

  1. No.

  2. I’m just fine with being who I am. I can improve myself, to be sure, but I’m happy that I am who I am to improve.

  3. Everyone feels alone and strange at times. Eventually, what happened was that I started becoming conscious of the fact that other people struggle, too, and have trouble fitting it at times, getting along with others, and finding their way in the world. We all have the same pangs of self-doubt, the same trials of confidence, the same worries - some do a better job handling them but it’s all there in all of us, unless you’re a sociopath. If you try hard enough, you come to realize things aren’t all about you and that, really, you’re not special or different in any globally significant way.

  1. No. I feel pretty mainstream. I’m accepted wherever I am, and valued by my family and friends.

  2. I did, however, feel like an outsider during the 10 years that I was fat, but I didn’t feel that way before I put on the weight, and I don’t feel that way now that I’m a size 10 again. That was a body-image problem, not a feeling that there was anything eccentric or objectionable about my personanality.

  3. I don’t feel weird or different. I fit in wherever I go. I expect this is because I’m white, not unattractive, pleasant, educated and have conventional values. I don’t judge other people - at least I try not to - so I don’t go around feeling paranoid that others are judging me and finding me lacking or eccentric.

  1. Maybe not so much any more, but I still think of myself as something of an oddball.

  2. I was a complete bottom-of-the-heap awkward nerd at school from ages 6-14. That was probably what did it. I have always identified as a ‘minority’ type (not in racial terms, but in religion, lifestyle, and tastes) and by now am more comfortable living in opposition to the majority than I am living with a lot of people just like me. This is probably not a really great thing. I try not to play up any weirdness for attention; I’m getting a little old for that.

  3. I’m fine with who I am.

I do think that most people think of themselves as an outsider, possibly especially women. Ask almost anyone whether they feel that they fit in, and IME they will say no, no matter who they are. I remember being really stunned at about age 20, having lunch with two old friends, and each of them said that she was the outsider and we other two weren’t. These were two cute, reasonably popular girls, but they didn’t see it that way, and they didn’t see me as the complete geek that I knew myself to be.

1- well, yeah, but other people tell me I’m weird too!
2- Primary School. I learned to embrace being told I was weird, crazy, etc. Whatever.
3- Not conventional apparently, fine being who I am.

So here’s my commentary. Yeah, I do identify as weird but partly because of external feedback. I fall outside some norms (like, we don’t have a car or a tv at present, which doesn’t mean I don’t watch tv, I love dvd) but I don’t actively seek to be outside the norm.

When I had my first corporate job at 22 that involved toning down my dress and behaviour I commented to one of my co-workers that I didn’t know how I could keep it up, and he pointed out several other people in the office who were having just as much of a struggle to keep it buttoned down and professional. And I guess I had kind of glossed over the little weirdnesses other people display. Too busy being angsty!

Now I’m in a workplace where people’s quirks are embraced and encouraged. We’re mostly people who were nerds in school and we’re allowed to be pretty goofy. People still tell me I’m weird, but I get to tell them they’re weird right back and there’s really no sting in any of it. So I guess we’re all very normal for our particular niche. I have no idea how we’d fit in other environments. I know when I try to repress the possibly non-mainstream aspects of my personality I come across even weirder though. Better to enjoy being who I am.

Oh, and thanks to people like Peter Jackson, some of the things I was called weird for in high school are plain old mainstream now. Yay!

I pretty much feel like the only normal person in a Vast Expansive Land O Weirdos.

Does that make me marcissistic?

  1. Sigh, no. I’m the opposite of weird or different. I’m totally boring and plain vanilla.

  2. N/A

  3. Well, I don’t know that I’d want to be weird, but I wish I were a bit more unconventional, enough to be geeky cool, or interesting or something.

I’m a complete freak in a thousand different ways, some harmless, some not. I’ve been a freak since I was a toddler. I’m basically happy with who I am, though a lot of my life would have been easier if I was more “normal.”

  1. Would you describe yourself as being weird/different?

No and Yes. No, because I believe there are lots of people like me, they are just as vocal as I am. Yes, because other people tell me that I’m not ‘normal’–if everyone around you tells you that what you like/do/want is different or strange, then I guess I’m weird.

2.If so, when did you start feeling weird or different? Is your weirdness readily apparent to others, or do you go to great lengths to hide it? Do you ever play up your weirdness to get attention?

People have always told me that I am weird. I’m female, but I don’t like girly things so I’m weird. I’ve always stood out out because I have redhair. When I was a kid, I had the triple threat of redhair, glasses, and being beanpole skinny. As an added bonus, I have an unusual first name. These things label me as different and are not things I can hide. The name and redhair especially helped form my personality–I had to become a functioning extrovert because people remember me and feel a connection to me. At the end of a day of dealing with people, I need down time because, all appearances to the contrary, I am very shy and introverted. Nobody but my husband seems to understand how very much I need to be alone when I’m off work.

Some things I do, other people think are weird. I continue to do those things anyway, unless it serioulsy discomfits somebody. For instance, I despise shoes and socks. I don’t wear them at work. For a while people commented on this. Then other people started not wearing their shoes and now it doesn’t seem as weird. Fits in with #1 above–lots of people like me, but unwilling to be themselves.

I don’t try to play up my weirdness to get attention, but I do recognize that liking or doing things that others consider weird brings attention whether I want it or not. So if I don’t want a bunch of questions about something that is different about me, I avoid situations where it would become an issue.

  1. If you don’t identify as weird/different, what makes you say this? Do you ever wish you were less conventional, or are you fine being who you are?

Hanging out on the Dope has given me a better feel for what is weird and what isn’t. It sure has made me realize that the things other people keep telling me are weird/different about me aren’t. It appears that most people just don’t realize that people are different than them and are therefore weird.

I am fine with being who I am, whether I’m weird or not.

I can’t raise my hand, because even my husband thinks I’m a weirdo.

Oh, well. C’est la vie.

1.Would you describe yourself as being weird/different?

2.If so, when did you start feeling weird or different? Is your weirdness readily apparent to others, or do you go to great lengths to hide it? Do you ever play up your weirdness to get attention?
My parents were extremely bent on “normalizing” myself and my brothers. So I’ve pretty much spent my whole life hearing things like “it would be fine (for her to do/want that) if she was a boy”. Add several teachers who were also bent on normalization; add that of course each of those people had a different idea of what “normal” means… (for example that teacher who yelled at my parents for “forcing their little girl to learn to read” - oopsies, I’d learned sort of on my own, which in Spanish is easy).
One day, about a year after Dad’s death, Mom said that she was so happy that she’d been able to “raise us proper, to be normal people”. Middlebro and myself looked at each other, gave a huge rolleyes and said, pretty much in stereo “Mom, we’re not normal. We’re engineers. Less than a 1% of the world’s population is engineers. We’re not normal and we’re not interested in being normal. Pass the salt.”

  1. Yeah, I reckon I’m weird. I’m generally not especially proud of the fact, but I’ve noticed that sometimes when I screw something up, particularly a task that I’m new at, people will console me with the words “Don’t worry, everyone makes that mistake” and in some ways I find that highly insulting. I try to avoid promoting my weirdness, but perhaps that’s just because that’s what all the weirdos seem to be doing nowadays?

  2. I had two discovery phases. In junior school I was weird, but as far as I can tell pretty much everyone was drifting between ill-defined social groups in junior school so I’m not counting that. In senior school I realised that I was a bit of a nerd/awkward/whatever archetype, and that I fit in better with the outsiders. The second phase is more recent (a few years into uni), as I discovered that I don’t really fit into the nerd group quite so well as I first thought.

  3. Not really applicable, but still: I’m happy with who I am, while acknowledging that if I were somebody different, that person might well be happy with who they are, too.

Sorry about the double post - I just realised on preview that I didn’t answer the second bit of question 2.

It seems pretty apparent to others. Depends on how weird-friendly the company is, but sometimes I try to act normal if I don’t want very conservative types to think I’m a total freak. I don’t play up the weirdness either, although I admit that occasionally it’s tempting.

I am weird and have been all my life. Didn’t know it until I was in my teens - that’s how clueless I was.

As I grow older I fit in better, but mostly because I am a rather reserved man.

I’m normal, but I meet a lot of odd ones, the ones that are in the slimmest pie sections of any population chart.

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.

  1. 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.

It all depends on context really. Compared to Joe Walmart sitting on the couch wearing a football jersey, drinking a Bud Light, and watching Two and Half Men, I’m a unique person with esoteric tastes. But compared to the tatooed lesbian New Yorker who follows experimental theatre, I’m as Midwestern plain vanilla as could be. :slight_smile: