Have you ever noticed those eccentric people who embrace their weirdness and wear it with pride and confidence? I love those people. They are often captivating, magnetic and unapologetically charismatic in a weird and wonderful way.
In a society that largely conditions and pressures us into the realms of conformity, seeing someone own their weirdness in this way is such a comforting breath of fresh air. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than being stuck in a soul deadening conservative world of forced pressure and expectation to look, act, and present oneself in a certain way for fear of committing social suicide.
I think there are several elements that determine one’s ability to own their weirdness with confidence and pride.. I suspect that the younger we are, the more likely we are to shy away from individual self expression and air on the ‘safe’ side of conformity. I remember being a teenager and desperately wanting a pair of jeans so I could blend seamlessly into the spotty faced herd of post pubescent adolescents.
I also recall struggling with a brutal form of social anxiety known as Erythrophobia, a disorder in which the sufferer is prone to blushing in social situations and thus develops a fear of the blushing itself, creating a vicious cycle of fear and embarrassment. For me, the fear became so great that even exchanging a few friendly words with the chick at the checkout became a battleground of social anxiety.
I remember that earth shattering anxiety I used to feel proceeding any social event… even having a cup of coffee with a friend became a crimson nightmare. It was all consuming, and not being that ‘weird awkward’ person that caused people to stare and whisper derogatory comments under their breath was impossible to avoid.. Well that was certainly the ongoing dialogue running through my mind in any social situation.
I’m still prone to blushing on occasion but it is generally much less often and much less extreme than it used to be. Now I am well on my way to embracing my own unique brand of weirdness and owning it with confidence and pride.
This is why I want to encourage everyone to own their weirdness. In fact I would even go so far as suggesting that it can be helpful to announce your anxiety when you rock up to a social do or shin dig. Turn to the person next to you and with humour and eccentric confidence disclose, “Geez I’m socially awkward this evening. If you see me going to the bathroom a lot, you’ll know why” *insert big cheezy grin and belly laugh.* You’ll be surprised at how many people will admit to feeling the same way.
There are many people who have sought out successful careers by being their weird awkward selves.. actors, comedians, filmmakers, musicians. Let’s get specific and name a few: Johnnie Depp, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Cera, Flight of the Conchords, Weird Al Yankovic, Darren Aronofsky and local Australian comedian Lisa Skye.
At the end of the day we are all weird, we are all unique in our own way. Let us step forth in our weirdness and allow our authentic selves to sparkle and shine for all to see. We were not put on this Earth to wear masks and be oppressed by third dimensional cultural and societal conditioning. We are here to bring our unique gifts to the world and inspire others to do the same. Own your weirdness and shine you big weird crazy diamond.