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Celebrate the Weirdo

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What I’m about to write will resonate with many of you. It will surprise some of you and hopefully, it will encourage a few of you as well.

For much of my life, I have felt like a… weirdo.

There. I said it. Not all the time… but often. In a range of situations and settings and for a range of reasons.

Even as a moderately successful business owner, speaker, writer, etc. I still regularly feel out of place and like I don’t belong or really fit in. Please still love me. Not in a weird, sad or tragic “I’m gonna build a space ship in my yard and fly off and see my brothers from the planet Zebulon” kinda way — no, more a “I feel different, think different, behave different and am different” kinda way.

Not better, just different.

While all the other ‘normal’ kids were ploughing up and down the pool with their skinny ten-year-old bodies, I was splashing around in my big-ass T-shirt, to hide my numerous rolls. Knowing that they would never realise that I was obese if I was wearing my magic ‘fat-hiding T-shirt’. Of course.

And when all my buddies were discovering alcohol at sixteen, getting wasted, falling down, getting up again and thinking they were manly and hilarious, I didn’t really ‘get it.’
At all. I was the only one who didn’t drink. Weirdo.

I never started. Never had a glass of alcohol. Tasted it, but hated it. Never been drunk to this day. Double weirdo. Even when I go to a social function now, I’m often the only person in the whole place not drinking. People tell me I’m missing out. Oh well. A chance I’m prepared to take.

While all my friends were buying highly-modified cars that they couldn’t afford, smoking the tyres, racing each other to the next set of lights and exploring their alpha-male-ness (okay, stupidity), I didn’t get that either. At all. And when I went back to college at thirty-five (after a brief seventeen-year absence) I felt like a complete weirdo.

In the first year of my degree I was twice as old as every one else, didn’t understand their eighteen-year-old vocabulary or culture, scared the crap out half of them (big, old, scary man on motorbike with shaved head), couldn’t use a computer (honestly), had an argument with a lecturer on the first day who insisted that I should complete ‘work experience’ (despite having worked for seventeen years) and spent the first six months of my course studying and eating lunch solo with my ‘I-don’t-really-belong-here’ cap firmly in place. Old, scary weirdo.

Even investing the time and energy that I do into my website has caused some of my friends to question my sanity and judgment; apparently doing what I do doesn’t make ‘commercial sense’. It’s not logical; it’s weird. From a professional perspective, it’s dumb; zero financial return on my investment. It takes me away from my businesses and my other income-producing commercial interests. To lots of people it is weird; it doesn’t make good business sense. However, to me, it’s perfectly ‘normal’. Incredibly rewarding even.

People have advised me to charge or have memberships for the site. I won’t.

“Then at least have advertisers on your site for goodness sakes; that won’t cost your readers anything…”

“Hmmm… don’t wanna”.

“Why?”

“Looks crap; maybe one day, but not now.”

“Weirdo.”

One of my (business-minded) buddies told me recently, “You do all this writing, spend all this time, invest all this energy and share your knowledge — and then you don’t charge; that’s just dumb.”

And from where he’s sitting, it is dumb. Weird. But I kinda enjoy that weirdness.

Now I know that I may have disappointed some of you because you thought I was Superman, not Weirdo-man, but sadly, it’s true. No ‘super’ and plenty of weird. I think I need a tight outfit with a big ‘W’ on the front. Perhaps something in blue. Turquoise even. And maybe a modest yellow cape. Nothing too long — might get caught in the back wheel. Possibly some red boots. Or not. And beige tights.

I’m digressing. You love my digressing. It’s why you come back. See? Weird.

Put up your hand if you’ve ever felt like a weirdo (for whatever reason) or like you didn’t fit in. Okay, lemme count… 47, 48, 49… 314,231… yep, nearly all of you.

Hey, you’re a freak like me. Giddy-up; I’m not alone. Nice.

I just asked twenty people (at the gym) if they’ve ever felt like a weirdo (didn’t fit in, didn’t belong, felt ‘different’) and all of them said yes and more than half said they regularly feel like a weirdo. That’s it — I’m starting a weirdo club.

Doing what I do (my job, that is) for the last twenty-five years has taught me that we
ALL feel like we don’t ‘fit in’ at times. Don’t really belong. Not good enough. Talented enough. Funny enough. Clever enough. Cool enough. Skinny enough. Pretty enough. Young enough.

The truth is, we’re all weird in some way.

There’s always a situation, circumstance, environment or conversation where we won’t fit in. Where we’ll be the weirdo. Or feel like it anyway. The challenge for us is to not let those feelings get in the way of our potential. To not let the emotional stuff (fear, doubt, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor body-image) get in the way of the logical stuff (what’s possible for us).

I’ve felt inadequate (in some way, in some area) for most of my life; but if I always wait until I feel ‘normal’ or ‘ready’, I would never get off the couch (or computer stool). In many ways, weird is actually normal. And normal is a myth.

I’ve decided to have a great life and do some amazing things despite my weirdness. What about you?

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About Craig Harper

  • http://artandcritique.blogspot.com/ Elijah

    Joined the club long time ago… was born into it. Thanks, Craig.