To be Weird, or not to be Weird?

"All forms of madness, bizarre habits, awkwardness in society, general clumsiness, are justified in the person who creates good art."
-Roman Payne

You have no idea how difficult it was to find an opening quotation for today's post. Pretty much every quotation I could find talked about being weird in a positive sense. In fact, this is what I see in my day to day life, as well. I can't recall a friend I have who refers to him or herself as "normal." Everybody I can think of claims to be weird in some way. Some use words like crazy or insane instead, but they all claim to be unusual. I really hope that I'm not the only one who sees the irony in this. Because weirdness has become such a key aspect in our culture, I think it needs to be discussed and analyzed. So today we'll be looking at weirdness. We'll be asking what it is, and if it's really all it's cracked up to be.

To be weird is to be strange; it is to be abnormal, to be out of the ordinary, to be different, to be unusual. Is this a good thing? Perhaps. But then again, perhaps not. What is weird? Imagine if a middle aged man clothed only in a loincloth and a purple hat crawled through your bedroom window and started licking your feet. That would be weird. Does that describe you? No? How about this one: a woman in a neon-green dress starts singing Paradise by Coldplay at the top of her lungs- backwards, in a library, while dancing on the front desk.

At this point, I can (figuratively) hear any number of protests about my application of the word weird. Some might say, "I'm weird, but not that weird." Others may say, "I'm the good kind of weird." I would content, however, that this is equivalent to not being weird at all. People may mean any number of things by saying that they're weird- except that they're actually weird. Hyper and expressive are common examples of what people really mean. Quiet and introverted are also examples. "Weird," as people actually use it, could mean anything.
Of course, people are unique. People are different from eachother. People have different strengths and weaknesses and personalities and likes and dislikes. But what about weird?

To be weird is to be outside of the societal norms. While I do believe that there is a good kind of weird and a bad kind of weird, both would look at first to be the bad kind of weird, because they're both outside of the standards of society. If it looks like the good kind of weird, odds are that it's not actually weird. The bad kind is the type that's directly intrusive, like singing at the top of your lungs in a library. The good kind goes against assumptions and societal implications. I.e., the bad kind goes against society because it goes against people; the good kind goes against people because it goes against society.

I believe that I am mildly weird in a number of ways. In some ways, I try to hide it. There are areas of society that I don't understand. There are things I have said or done that have seriously offended people (even so-called "weird" people) because I didn't answer in the way that society wanted me to. In these areas, I attempt to cover my ignorance. I can, sometimes, act like a functioning member of society by hiding my weirdness. However, there are other areas where I attempt to expand my weirdness. These are areas where I believe society is wrong, and where I am weird because I am specifically and intentionally attacking that area. Because I don't hide these areas, they are more obvious, and people are more often offended by this. I wish I were strong enough to make these areas more pronounced.

When people say that they're weird, they don't really mean that they're weird, as weird tends to be offensive on some level, for one reason or another. What they're trying to do is differentiate themselves from others and make themselves stand out. Of course, when everybody takes a step, everybody is being exactly the same. In the end, the reason for being weird isn't to advertise it, but to fight for the truth.
"Abnormal is so common, it's practically normal."
-Cory Doctorow

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