Normal is boring, set your inner weirdo free

17 April 2018 | Education

Justicia Shipena



When starting off in a new place full of strange people, nobody ever wants to be the weird one. Over the last few years, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that being a total and complete weirdo is solely unappreciated.

This column was encouraged by a conservation I had with a friend I call “male person”. We spoke of when one first arrives at a place unfamiliar to them; they make every effort to come across as normal.

They are forced to dress themselves in a certain way. They pretend to enjoy running, knitting, crafting or cats so that they could join groups making their way to being normal.

They studied when everybody else studied, went to the common places that everybody else went to and got drunk when everybody else got drunk.

During our conversation I have come to conclusion that being that normal all the time is exhausting. It is easy to waste a lot of time and energy trying to fit in; you have to constantly monitor your surroundings to know the right thing to say or do.

I spent many of my years worried that my new friends would find out exactly how much of an oddball I am, and I put a lot of work into being part of the group.

According to my parents, independence has always been my defining characteristic. As a toddler, I would wriggle out of my mom’s grasp to explore the nearest swing-set or play park, just because it was there.

I once climbed out of a bathroom window to reach a jungle gym, because it seemed like the most practical route at the time. But senior year, you wouldn’t catch me climbing through any windows unless it is for a very good reason.

But pretending to be someone you are not, never works out well (haven’t you seen Mean Girls or The Little Mermaid?). I found myself acting like the kind of person I normally disliked, but I did not want to act differently for fear of losing my new friends.

Eventually, the effort I made to be ‘normal’ started to slip through the cracks and I was surprised to find out that it did not scare people away.

That small bit of encouragement made me more comfortable in my own skin and helped me realise that everyone is a little bit weird in their own way. That is what makes life interesting. Would you ever want to be described as the most normal person around? Nope, that person sounds super boring.

Find the friends that you can be your realest, strangest self with. The kind of people that will not only go to an awkward festival with you but also dress up and get way too excited about the contest.

The people that will sing along to the “Grandson” songs as if it were performed by cats. The people that will stay up until 3 am, reading about grizzly bears to cheer you up after a bad night.

These are the people and the stories that will stay in your mind. Until you embrace your quirks for what they are, you won’t be able to find the people whose personalities overlap with yours in the strangest, most unexpected, but best way. Don’t be afraid to be weird.

The people that will judge you for that aren’t important. The people that really matter are the ones who will not only accept your oddities but also hear your llama noises and raise you a seal clap.

Windhoek is a bigger city than you think, and you might be surprised by the ways that other people’s individualities complement your own. After all, it is been said that love is just compatible weirdness.

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