adjective 1. suggesting something supernatural; uncanny.

Weird.

Its a word, an idea, that’s been applied to me in many different ways, and that’s the first thing I want to change about myself.  People can tell you that, hey, being weird is okay!  And natural!  And everyone is weird in their own way!  Weird is good!  And then they go back to their groups of friends and laugh at you because you’re so weird and god what a freak.  

If I were to tell the people that know me now that, when I was younger, I was painfully shy, they would probably laugh and tell me I’m lying.  But I still remember myself on the first day of kindergarten, huddled in a corner, scared, crying and wishing I could go back home.  Eventually, as my school days progressed, I came out of my shell and made friends, real friends I could have fun with and be myself around.  And then, around 6th grade, I realized that ‘myself’ was usually translated to ‘weird’ when other people talked about me.  And I was weird – I wore different colored socks, sang loudly at lunch with my friends, and wrote silly stories in class and shared them without any shame, and read badly written fanfiction in the middle of the night.

My middle school was one of those “advanced honors” program middle schools, so everyone else in my class seemed to have their head in a textbook 24/7, complaining about an A minus on a test while I struggled and earned low Bs and Cs.  Along with my horrible sense of fashion (It took me a surprisingly long time to learn that plaid and stripes do not mix) and general weird demeanor, this did not bode well for me.  I went through three years of school totally oblivious to the fact that my best friends and I were social outcasts.  I may have gone on in blissful ignorance, except for the fact that my outcast best friends all went to different high schools, and I instead wound up at the school where all my…other classmates were.

It was hard to adjust to a school where all my classmates were already deemed to be geniuses, all winning piano competitions and Science Olympiad medals, math bowls and essay writing contests, but all I was known as was “that one weird kid that hung out with other weird kids and was kind of stupid”.  On top of that, I had to make friends with the geniuses – I, a mere mortal, mingling with gods.

And it wasn’t like these gods/geniuses/classmates were socially inept either – oh no, they knew exactly how to act in every situation.  They were quite and poised for their parents, talkative and persuasive in debate class, reserved but polite for teachers, and joking and jovial with other classmates.  Meanwhile, I was on the side, my weirdness and general social awkwardness seeping through into every situation.  People who talked to me generally kept a metaphorical six foot radius away from me.

I eventually did make some great friends, but compared to their social grace in seemingly every situation, I still stand out, feeling more like a pity friend, or a jester than anything else.  I’m still super weird – I make self derogatory jokes just to make other laugh and I half a horrible affinity for puns which just kills every conversation.  I still read (and write) fanfiction and don’t hide my loud and almost obnoxious nature.  I’m that friend, essentially, the one that no one wants to bring home to their parents but the one that everyone wants to bring to the party in order to make fun of.  Even though I’m finally part of the crowd, not in a corner by myself, my presence is one that everyone could easily do without, and I am someone that no one takes seriously.

I would like to change.  I would like to become someone I am not – quite, poised, reserved, only talking when I need to – and not for their sake or for what they think, but because I am so goddamn tired of being relentlessly known as the weird one, the one that’s ‘out there’, the one that’s kind of a freak.  I’m so tired of no one really taking my ideas and feelings seriously and no one thinking I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, I’m hardworking enough.  All of life is about labels, whether we like it or not.  When people label you in different ways, its our job to understand those labels and realize that we don’t have to bend to them.

I’m tired of weird being stuck to me, and I’m going to tear it off.

 

 

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Not Spectacular

I was recently made aware of the fact that, compared to my closest friends, I…kind of suck.  The book/movie The DUFF is a Young Adult work that follows the main character’s realization that she is the Designated Ugly Fat Friend (DUFF) of her friend group – the one that lags behind and is just there to make the others look better.  Of course, when I first read the book, I definitely thought the concept was total bullshit…up until a few months ago. See, my friends are both goddamn geniuses – in every sense.  They’ve won awards in every extracurricular they’ve ever tried, pull As in advanced classes like it’s nothing and have social and love lives that are practically perfect.  And they definitely don’t let this go to their heads – I’ve never seen them be anything but caring and kind and genuine to pretty much everyone we know.  So, since you’ve probably got the idea that my friends are Disney princesses by now, let’s talk about me.  A) I struggle in pretty much all my classes, and while a good grade for my friends is kind of guaranteed, pulling one for me is an uphill battle B) My social skills are pretty horrible C) My love life has been nonexistent for my entire life.  Seriously, not even one date. D)  I don’t excel at…anything.  Not really. Most people are dancers or artists or piano players or writers but I’m just…me.  Struggling through school, not really good at much, not really investing the time to become good at much.

After slowly coming to these four conclusions I realized that I sort of knew it all along, and so had everyone else.  People would talk to my friends directly while casually acknowledging my existence, teachers would ask me about how my genius friends were doing and tell me how I could “learn from them”, boys would befriend me just to tell me a few weeks later that they really just want to get with one of my friends, and then when I tell them that I’m really not going to help my friend get with a douchebag, they never speak with me again.  Everyone knew it all along, and, perhaps I had as well, but had never mustered the courage to face it.

So one night when I was feeling particularly pissed off about my situation and not in a mood to talk to my friends (this is probably going to get redundant and confusing if I keep saying “my friends”, so let’s call them Sandra and Lonnie), Lonnie started talking about her boy troubles and how it sucked that so many guys liked her, and, knowing her past history with those guys, I could sympathize a bit, but I mostly felt annoyed and bitter, emotions that weren’t hard for them to read through my short, one worded replies.  They got me to spill, and after telling them how yeah, I was definitely that friend, they laughed at me.  Told me I was perfect and amazing.  Told me it was all in my head.

Maybe.  But I needed to know, and I needed someone who would tell me straight up.  So I asked an anonymous source outside our friend group what they thought, and they confirmed it –

“Yeah, you’re definitely the lagging friend – in academically and socially.  Nothing is really wrong with you, but you aren’t spectacular at anything.  But your friends are.”

So that was it – my suspicions were confirmed, and I was christened “not spectacular”.  And honestly, as much as I want to be mad, I’m really not.  I’m glad someone actually told me the truth.  I’m glad that now, at least I know who I am and where I fall and why people (friends, teachers, boys) treat me the way they do – as an accessory to the real idols.  I’ve accepted being “not spectacular” and I still love Lonnie and Sandra, and I know they love me too.  But I hope I won’t be this way forever – I hope that I can make myself spectacular.  I can’t control, really, what others think of me  – which, right now, is somewhere along the lines of ugly, fat, useless, lagging, weird, according to the above anonymous source.  But I can choose to let it not affect me and bring me down.

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like being known as the weird kid that no one really takes seriously, but if I let what they say affect me so much that I think that there’s no coming back from this, that I’ll always be that kid, then they win.  And I don’t go down without a fight.  This blog is about self betterment for the sake of myself, for the hope that I won’t be stuck in this position of inferiority for the rest of my life, that I’ll be able to see what I want and take it, that others will take my ideas and words seriously, and that, one day, I will be spectacular in my own way.