Good Weird - Learning to Love Your Uniqueness
Hi, I’m Kitty and I’m ‘weird’; good ‘weird’.
I’m sure a lot of people can relate to the experience of being treated as ‘weird’ at one time or another but I’d like to share the way I’ve learned to embrace my ‘weirdness’ and turn it into what I feel is an amazing strength.
I think I started to realise I was weird, pretty early in the game when as a child, some of the other little girls decided it was absolutely essential to point this out to me at ballet class and school.
Getting approval from your peers as a child feels like oxygen, so when you don’t get it, it feels like you are suffocating. A lot of the ‘weird’ little kids out there like me, spend our childhoods and adolescence trying to grow into someone else’s skin, desperate to be accepted.
For years, I wanted to be just like the cool kids at high school. I even went so far as to get one of the cool girls to draw me pictures and instructions on how I should dress because I was just so terrified of getting it ‘wrong’. Yet inevitably, I still got it ‘wrong’.
My first boyfriend used to take me shopping with his sister where they would discuss what I should wear in the third person as though I wasn’t even in the room.
The good news is this story doesn’t have a sad ending, in fact, I want all the good little ‘weirdos’ out there to take heart because this is actually a ‘happily ever after’. After years of not fitting in and trying desperately to be what people expected, I finally had a revelation.
Growing up as an outsider has made me strong in so many ways and I’d like to share a few with you, to explain why I now think being ‘weird’ is actually good.
1. Being different isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.
In a world full of beige, standing out is now an amazing accomplishment. I have come full circle from trying desperately to be like everyone else, to receiving compliments almost every day for letting down my guard and being true to who I am. The most amazing thing for me, is to have gone from being the ‘weird’ kid who never fitted in, to being the person who stands out in a good way. My ‘weirdness’ now makes people smile. They see my ‘weirdness’ as a happy, joyous thing. I am ‘good weird’.
2. I have uncovered my authentic self.
After trying so hard for years to manipulate my appearance and behaviour to fit in and realising that wasn’t for me, I learned to love who I really was both inside and out, and embraced the real me. I have found that ironically this authenticity is what people love the most about me. Being comfortable in your own skin gives you confidence and generates self-love that spills over into caring for others.
3. I have already discovered my purpose.
After spending lots of time working through who I was and what I wanted, I discovered my guiding star very early on. While lots of people spend years in the desert of trying to find their ‘purpose’, I have known how I would like to evolve for a very long time. Having this deep-seated sense of purpose gives me a huge tonne of positive motivation. It’s this drive that helps me to be highly productive and focused.
4. I bounce.
Years of being the ‘weird’ kid has taught me to be resilient. Although the storms of life still come and the wounds inflicted by someone close can still cut me down, having that inner resilience and the power to disconnect from what others say, by realising it is just their opinion rather than fact, is hugely empowering. I don’t allow others to define who I am. Only I am allowed to do that.
5. It has taught me compassion.
By being an outsider it has taught me to see the inner pain and struggles of other people. Whether most of us admit it or not, lots of people (including the ‘cool’ kids) spend a lot of their lives struggling with the same feelings and emotions of trying to fit in. I have learned to be ‘present’ in a busy world, so now I stop and ask people ‘Are you ok?’. Most people are going through struggles we know nothing about and I try to remember to extend to others the acceptance and understanding I craved myself for so many years.
Growing up ‘weird’ has taught me that the need to feel loved and accepted is universal and a little kindness goes a very long way. Although nobody enjoys being treated as an outsider, just remember that one person’s ‘weird’ is someone else’s awesome. In a world full of horses, being a unicorn isn’t a negative at all. So, next time someone calls you ‘weird’ I want you to remember you aren’t just ‘weird’ you are ‘good weird’, and the only person allowed to define you is you!