Are You Weird? Am I?
You ever get told you're a bit weird or strange? Yeah me too, so what does that really mean? I think this happens when the person telling you this isn't part of your natural 'tribe'. Now I want to be really clear I think that most of the time when people say these things it's not as an insult, more of an observation. What they're saying is you don't think/act etc like I do and I don't understand.
I long since stopped worrying about people saying I'm weird to them I am and that's okay. As a child I assumed that everyone's brain worked like mine and why wouldn't I it's not till you get older that you start to realise that your perception of normal is different to others. Some of my friends had a chippy every Friday night - my family didn't for example.
This post isn't so much about being weird it's more about understanding what that means. I've spent the best part of the last 15 years working in high street banking, and much as I did try (sometimes I tried harder than others but I always tried) I never really fitted in. I wore quirky earrings and painted my nails bright colours. (Actually as a side note I often think that the reason I had good lasting relationships with customers was because I was a bit different).
I was different to a lot of the other people who worked there and I'm pretty sure contact centres, retail and restaurants are full of people like me who don't fit the corporate mould. And I'm not dissing anyone who fitted in and forged excellent careers for themselves, good on you I say - you found a thing that you enjoy and you climbed the ladder. I don't think everyone should be like me, we need different, different is important.
Writing is a solitary job for the most part, and in 2015 when I decided to get my backside in gear and write I had no writerly friends, and outside of my immediate family no one knew what I was up to. That was fine, I spent the time figuring myself out as a writer, but it wasn't until I started joining online communities that I realised that there were swathes of other very like minded people out there. Meeting them has vastly improved my writing life, it's amazing to have such a wonderful support network.
You don't need to give up your day job to find people who are just like you. In this day and age we are blessed with social media - which if you look in the right places is teaming with good folks. If you're a writer, painter - any type of creative your people are out there, find them. You'll be happier when you do and that's not because you stop being 'weird' to those people in your office who don't understand your dress sense or wonder what you do in your lunch break or wonder why your hands are always a little bit painted stained. You'll still be odd to them - just like if we're honest they seem a bit odd to us.
Some of my dearest friends still work in that corporate environment - one in particular is forging a career for herself that I could never envisage for me and I am immensely proud of her achievements. My friends aren't all writers and creative types, that wouldn't work - I need balance.
Next time some says 'you're a bit weird' don't take offence, instead think perhaps to you I am or perhaps in this environment, but it's all about context. Embrace what makes you, you - because whatever it is that's your normal and it's good and it should be celebrated.