I have something to tell you. You're weird.
Wait, wait, let me finish...
You're weird and it's great. I'm weird, too! If you're sitting there, reading this and thinking: "What the hell does she know? I'm not weird in the slightest!" then I'm afraid I'll have to break this to you as gently as I can: Yes you ARE. We ALL are.
I ride little wooden animals. Of COURSE I'm weird.
I was musing over this subject earlier this afternoon, after briefly debating the use of the word "normal" to describe anyone. The fact is, the only standard of "normality" we have to go on is the one that society (and by that, I mean the media, to be honest) has given us. Do you dress a certain way? Do you go to work? Can you tie your own shoe laces? What bothers me about the word "normal" is that it's used as something of a one-size-fits-all word and frankly, well... It doesn't fit, does it?
There's a serious debate to be had about the word "normal" and whether we should lessen our usage of it to describe people. In certain contexts it's fine (he had a "normal" heartbeat, for example), but in the way we live our day-to-day lives, who's to say exactly what normal even means?
People are, by their very nature, both intrinsically the same and powerfully unique. We all need food and water to survive. We almost all feel human emotions, such as love, anger, sadness and desire. But we're also all shaped by our environments, our family situations, our beliefs and a whole multitude of other things besides. That means that whilst humans are instantly recognisable as such, what makes us us differs wildly from person to person. How can we ever find such a thing as a human to hold up as an example of "normal" to judge others by? More importantly, why would we even want to? Whilst the similarities we have can bring us closer together, it's our differences that often spark interest and debate. It's by talking to someone from a totally different background that we learn new things and challenge our own views. If everyone was exactly the same, the whole world would be populated by nothing more than a very, very long chain of those paper dolls we used to make in school.
Oooh. I feel so special and unique...
And then, because this is me we're talking about, whilst thinking about this quite serious subject, my mind went off on a wild tangent and I wondered how many people I'd need to form a flashmob and what song we should sing in order to impress someone. And I realised that that's because I'm weird. We all are. Because if there's no such thing as "normal" (and I don't necessarily believe that there is), then the alternative must be that we're all just a little bit strange. At least, we must all have the potential to seem that way to others.
The thing is, we should be embracing that weirdness. Because all of those funny little habits we have, or those phrases we use that seem to have been made up out of thin air, are exactly what makes us us. When we factor in our likes and dislikes, our hopes and dreams and our silly little ways, we're adding colour to those paper dolls. We're making ourselves individual and that can only be a good thing.
All too often, we explain away some of our odder hobbies or quirks in a self-mocking tone, as though we're ashamed or embarrassed by them. But why should we be? A person is a wonderful mess of influences and opinions, mashed together inside a body that's all too often longing to be changed in order to fit an unrealistic idea of beauty. Whatever makes you different, whatever it is that makes you stand out, that's something to be proud of. Worn like a badge of honour. Do we want to be blank paper dolls, or do we want to put colour and patterns out into the world? Yes, there'll always be people who don't like the particular colours or patterns we put on display. And that's okay, too. Because you're not displaying yourself for them. You're doing it for yourself.
I've reached a point where I'm not that fussed whether people think I'm odd anymore. I know I sometimes say or do strange things. My point blank refusal to walk past an "hilarious" photo opportunity is testimony to that fact.
I believe I've made my point...
And a fondness for stupid photos is just one of my odd quirks. There's also the fact that I can't drink a drink if it has "bits that aren't supposed to be there" in it. Or my secret wish to live in a musical, in which everyone bursts into song at random and somehow everyone knows all the words and the dance moves. There's the fact that I can never resist an opportunity for fancy dress, plus my weird desire to have someone magically "find" a coin behind my ear. There's my habit of reading children's stories at work in various regional accents "just for fun" and my penchant for "YouTube karaoke." There's a hundred other things about me that some people would just find strange, too. And I'd probably find a few things weird about them, as well. Because we're all unique. We all paint our paper dolls in our own colours. There is no "normal."
So embrace your weirdness. Don't ever try to conform to something that doesn't really exist. You're you. You're strange. And if you won't take my word for it, listen to Dr Seuss:
"We are all a little weird
And life is a little weird
And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours,
We join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."