I didn't always think being weird was a bad thing. In high school I used to embrace my weirdness. I had weird friends, we had weird inside jokes, we took weird pictures and made weird faces. We owned our weirdness. We didn't let it hurt us, but instead our weirdness defined us. We loved each other and being weird was just a normal part of the equation for us.
And I was totally fine with being weird for a really long time. But I have to confess something, I don't like being called weird anymore. I'll tell you why.
After PC and I broke up we tried to still remain friends. I went with him to a study party last spring semester, where I met a few of his VTD friends and I tried to just be myself. My regular, weird self. I don't know how to be something that I'm not. I don't always say the right thing or know exactly what to do, but who does? And I react occasionally without thinking, just like everybody else.
But this was the first time that the way I was made someone not like me. And it wasn't just that she didn't like me either, the fact that she didn't like me meant she felt like she could be mean to me. And she was. She was mean behind my back. She barely knew me, but she poked at my personality anyway.
I think it's because she liked PC and I was a threat, not because I was weird. But now this is what I associate the word weird with. And it kills me to think about it that way, because what she thinks about me shouldn't matter. What she had to say shouldn't affect me. They tell you that sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you and I've never heard a phrase so false. Words can cut the deepest, even ones spoken in jest.
And this is coming from someone who got in a lot of trouble for her words as a kid.
But I thought that I was getting over my hatred of being called weird. I thought that since I had pushed PC out of my life, and by default also this girl, that I was somehow making progress. I mean, I did make progress in a totally different way, but I hoped that maybe the "weird" word would become okay again.
I thought everything was fine and then Somebody-Very-Important used the word. And I wanted to die. Which caused me to think, why am I letting this affect me so much? Why is being weird such a bad thing? But it made me feel like I wasn't good enough, like I was the bad apple you picked up because it looked so good but you flip it over and realize there's big bruise on one side and it's kind of dented. I felt like maybe he wouldn't like me anymore if I was too weird, even though I know that's not true.
Only, I didn't tell him that. I shrugged it off like it didn't matter because I didn't want him to know he hurt my feelings. I just tried to relax and in my head I thought about the words I wanted to say next time someone called me weird.
So I'm saying them now. Being weird is not a bad thing. I only know how to be who I am - I can't be something I'm not. I like pizza but I can't eat cheese. I've always liked Sawyer better than Jack. I sing in the car and the shower. I listen to songs on repeat for hours. I say strange things at awkward times. And I don't always do everything I'm told.
Hi, my name is Natalie and I'm weird.
Who are you?