What is normal? Normal is what society tells us is expected of us. Normal is a sum of averages. And normal isn’t very fun. Chances are you—like most people—find it hard to conform to ‘normal’. I’m here to tell you it’s totally okay to be weird; I say embrace your weirdness, own it, and be who you are!
Want good advice? Stay weird
CBC’s WireTap created a really cool video called “How to Age Gracefully,” where a bunch of different people offer advice to younger generations. An 8 year old urges a 7 year old that “no matter what anyone says, stay weird,” and as the video rolls its credits a 72 year old repeats the same advice. In a video dedicated to passing down the wisdom of the ages, ‘staying weird’ is the only piece of advice shared twice. Because it’s important.
Staying weird isn’t about feeling like an outcast living on the Island of Misfit Toys (that was a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer reference for anyone who missed that). After all, despite their differences all of the toys on the island find homes where their weirdness is appreciated (seriously, watch the movie—you are not too old for cartoons).
The point is, there’s a place in this world for everyone. Staying weird is about embracing who you are and what makes you tick, and not feeling you have to apologize for your differences.
We all have things that we do, say, wear, think, or own that go against the grain. Rather than feeling like you have to conform to a standard of ‘normal’, seek out people who appreciate or even share your weirdness.
There are no weird questions, just weird people
This all crystalized for me one night when I was talking with my girlfriend and she said something that stuck with me. I told her, “I have a weird question.” She responded with: “there are no weird questions, just weird people.” To this day I cannot for the life of me remember what I was going to ask her because I spent the next half hour laughing. But now I will literally ask anything, and I don’t apologize for ‘weird’ questions.
All it took was someone to point out just how ridiculous it is to feel your questions are ‘weird’. Haven’t we all worried at some point that we might be asking a silly, strange, or even stupid question? How often does this cause you to avoid asking your question at all? Afraid that we might be judged, we keep our questions to ourselves.
Or, we add a precursor like I did: “I have a weird/stupid/crazy question.” Stop doing this, please. In effect, you’re censoring yourself and hindering your curiosity. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak what’s on your mind.
Chances are if you have a question so does at least one other person, if not more. If you need clarification about something, so does someone else.
Be a conversation starter
How many times have you been in a class full of people who don’t understand what they are learning and just sit there with blank stares on their faces? Why do we do this? We do this because no one wants to be the first to raise their hand and ask a ‘stupid’ question. But I’ve just let you in on a secret, and now you know that there’s no such thing as stupid/weird/crazy questions. So be the person who asks the first question—and don’t apologize for asking.
Whether a question is stupid, weird, or even flat-out ridiculous is a matter of perception. But I think what’s even more ridiculous is not asking a question, failing to feed your curiosity, and wondering endlessly about something without ever getting an answer! So get out there and ask all of your weird questions! You may be surprised by the answers you get, the things you learn, and the awesome conversations you start.
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