Friday, March 21, 2014

Don't be weird about being weird

This is directed at no one in particular; it's more of an overarching request gleaned from years of observations and, for whatever reason, it's on my mind today.

Stop trying to be weird.

Being weird, or quirky, or any similar attribute, is not something you can force. You either are or you aren't, and it's OK either way. Embrace who you are, and don't try to be what you're not.

And whatever you are, don't make it (or let others make it) into a commodity. 

Here's what I mean by that. I hate most white, creamy food. Mostly it's a texture thing, but it's also a taste and nutrition thing. It's a very longstanding disgust, having first manifested itself at age 2 or 3. This is a source of much amusement for my friends (and even for me). 

At some point, this quirk of mine became a commodity. Friends would tell other friends, "Ian hates creamy white food. Watch this," and place something white and creamy in front of me. I was then expected to overreact to it, which I did, for laughs. But after doing it enough times, it felt like a party trick, and I felt cheap for doing it. I've often mocked people for, say, overreacting to scripted TV shows, but in those cases I was acting the same way. And I realized I didn't need to, because my genuine disgust is all the entertainment anyone needs.

And in cases where people try to play up their own weirdness, it seems insincere, even if it's true. But especially if it isn't. And that diminishes what's truly there and worth celebrating.

So, be yourself no matter what. Don't make it weird.

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