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Oh, give it up, you're just trying to be WEIRD.

Lately I've been coming across a lotta people who think that I'm trying to be "strange" because I admit to having slightly off-color taste. I'm in my twenties and I have a lot of toys and they're all over the place in my bedroom. I wear cartoon shirts, shirts I made, and very silly jewelry. I have some styles of life (including my eating habits, sleeping habits, and sexual orientation) that do not conform to the "norm." But am I doing these things just for the sake of being different? NO, dammit, I AM NOT!

I've met a lot of people whose bag is trying to be as crazy, weird, and different as possible. This does not really bother me. If that's part of how they find themselves, it's all good; if parts of it really are who they are, that's fine too. It's not up to me whether they want to be a "skater" or a "punk" or just try to be as weird as possible; it is up to them. What irks me is when people try to say that because my tastes and actions are different, it means I must be trying to be that way, that it's just another way of conforming, just not to the majority. But I'm not part of any kind of counterculture either.

I'm not gonna sit here and say, "Yeah, you're different, but I'm *really* different, and I'm different-er than you are, I'm the supreme weirdo so ha." That is not how I feel, and being a "weirdo" is not something I have to strive for. It is not something I'm particularly proud of either, it's just something that I accept. I am not your usual girl, and that's all there is to it. But I do not strive for nonconformity; I just happen to have tastes that don't quite match up to the popular culture.

I must also say that I would never *stop* doing something or begin to think it's "lame" if/when all the trendies pick it up. If I liked it before and it became popular, that does not mean it starts to suck simply because the pinks like it. I have a long history of liking things for a very long time. This includes many things, such as:

  • My taste in music, which has grown to include new bands but has experienced very little attrition when bands went "out of style."
  • My taste in clothes/jewelry, which has changed little from my days as a grade-schooler. (I still wear sparkly jewelry and the like, and it seems the "kid-like" jewelry is coming back in style but I'm keeping mine.) I still like my cartooney shirts and the shirts I created in high school.
  • My sense of humor; I still laugh at the dirty pictures I drew in my third grade diary. I still laugh at the jokes in the cartoons I've liked for years. I am criticized for this by friends and family, who will say, "You still think that's funny? Why haven't you grown up?" I'm sorry, but poop is STILL FUNNY.
  • My choice of pastimes; as far back as I can remember, I've liked singing, drawing, reading, and writing, and I haven't stopped doing a single one. My interests have expanded to include the Internet and my Web page, but I do not "grow out" of things, almost never do I stop being interested in something that ever really interested me. As an aside, I don't think this is a sign of immaturity; I think that it just shows that when I like something, it is not fleeting or fickle. It is a real interest.
  • My choice in entertainment, which still includes cartoons, children's and young adult books (in some cases), Flower Fairy books and collector's items, and kids' movies.

I really get sick and tired of people who think that I only listen to the music I like "because nobody else does," or people who think I put on a certain shirt because I want to be a deviant. Very little of my behavior is purposely deviant or is done for the express purpose of freaking someone out. (My pranks are another story, but that is just my mischief coming out; you can't really do a prank without freaking someone out sometimes.) I think it's fun to throw people off-guard, sure, but it is not the goal of my life and it is not the purpose behind all (or anywhere near most) of my activities. I'm not trying to be strange. I'm strange all by myself. I'm not pretending that I'm a psycho or that I'm hopelessly bizarre, but I do know and accept that I am different in many ways, and I am quite opposed to being told I'm only doing it in reactance to the majority. What I do is not to spite the majority, nor is it as a result of its influence. I am a product of my culture to a certain extent, but I also *do* have my own mind and I *do* use it.

The suggestion comes every once in a while that I act as I do because I tried to be "normal" and no one would accept me. I think that my mother encouraged me to be myself even though I was a bit strange, and I think that for most of my life I knew I was supposed to be true to myself. But then some asshole who has me "all figured out" tells me that I never rushed a sorority because I thought they wouldn't take me, so I must have pretended I didn't want to be in it in the first place. No, that's backwards; I never rushed a sorority because I honestly didn't want to be in a sorority. I don't need any other excuse. I've been told (rather snottishly, I must say) that I'm only being weird because I was never popular enough, so to save face I have to pretend I never wanted to be popular in the first place. I must say that I *do* wish I'd had more company in elementary and junior high school, but I understand that becoming popular in the younger grades often has little to do with being nice to people. It usually has to do with physical appearance, willingness to follow trends, willingness to respond to peer pressure, and sometimes academic or athletic achievement. I would have liked it if there were more people who were willing to accept me for who I was rather than be worried about "reputation," but that wasn't the way it was, so therefore I had few friends at that time in my life. Things did change, and people took notice that I was pretty groovy. I didn't have to change myself; the snobby, surface-oriented people did the changing when they realized they weren't satisfied with themselves. Of course, not all of them changed, and not all of them ever will, but now there are plenty of people who can see my worth and want to be my friend, and now there are plenty of people who find my attitudes "refreshing." I must say that being slightly eccentric can actually help a social life in some ways, if you want one at all. Of course, there are some people who will never believe it.

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