Embrace Your Weirdness
A lot of people spend time trying to fit in. They don’t want to stand out or be considered different, weird, awkward or strange. Having the same clothes, interests and ideas seems like the most important thing in the world. Everyone just wants to fit in.
But who established what is normal ? And what exactly is considered weird? For most people, normal is what they are used to and weird is what they are not used to.
The word weird is defined by www.dictionary.com in three ways, one of which is fantastic and bizarre. Interesting, isn’t it, how we took a word meaning fantastic and bizarre and created a label for people with an unflattering connotation? When you look at it like that, being “weird” really doesn’t seem that bad. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world were considered strange, different or weird growing up.
Take Justin Timberlake, for example. He was once quoted as saying, “I grew up in Tennessee, and if you didn’t play football, you were a sissy. I got slurs all the time because I was in music and art.” He also suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), both of which haven’t stopped him from succeeding.
Prince Harry was ridiculed and bullied for being a redhead. He was quoted as saying he was teased “for being ginger.” However, not everyone made fun of him. His fellow soldiers in the British Army all wore red wigs to make him stand out less in combat.
Michael Phelps is one of the most successful Olympians of all time, but as a kid his long limbs, large ears, and lisp caused him to be bullied and teased by his classmates. He also has ADD, and was told he’d “never be able to focus on anything.” Yet he didn’t let that stop him. He used all of his feelings, both good and bad, as motivation to win and as a result became the most decorated Olympian of all-time (winning 22 medals, 18 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze).
Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt on Glee, was called a “freak” growing up. He said, “I was teased daily, mainly because of my voice. They said I sounded like a chipmunk! Now everyone likes to remind me how they used to be my best friend, but I have a very good memory- that wasn’t always the case.”
Lady Gaga has said she didn’t have the best high school experience. She said she didn’t fit in as a teen. “I wanted to be like Boy George and I felt like a freak. So I like to create this atmosphere for my fans where they feel like they have a freak in me to hang out with, and they don’t feel alone.”
The list of differences goes on and on…
Albert Einstein, whose name is pretty much synonymous with genius, was a theoretical physicist, and one of the most renowned scientists of all time. However, he didn’t talk until he was four and he didn’t learn to read until he was seven. It is now believed he had Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of Autism. Sir Isaac Newton is also believed to have had Asperger’s, and he too was a mathematical and scientific genius.
Jay Leno, Orlando Bloom, Vince Vaughan, Alexander Graham Bell, John Lennon and Muhammad Ali all had dyslexia.
Christopher Columbus, Karina Smirnoff, Eleanor Roosevelt, JFK, Walt Disney, Will Smith, Jim Carey and Ernest Hemingway and Bill Gates had ADD.
Mozart, Daryl Hannah, Tim Burton, Andy Warhol and Susan Boyle all had or have forms of Autism.
All of these people were considered weird for how they behaved, what they felt and what made them different. They all experienced obstacles they needed to overcome, and they did so by embracing their weirdness. They didn’t let others define who they were and what their limits would be. They used their uniqueness to their advantage and succeeded. So don’t be afraid to embrace your weirdness too. As Lady Gaga has said, “let your teenage freak flag fly.”