All my life I have been referred to as weird, sometimes because of my musical preferences, and other times because of things I did, but mostly because I have a tendency to dream big. I was, at first, not comfortable with this label as it made me feel foreign: like a human on Mars, like a potato in a sack of red apples, like …well you get what I mean.

After years of struggling to fit in and trying too hard to impress I realized what the word ‘weird’ meant to society. A weirdo, in my perspective, is someone who refuses to be conventional. Like you know when you have your braids up in a neat ponytail but there’s that one braid that just refuses to stay in place; like it was meant to be a character in ‘Born Free’. It was after this realization that I embraced my unconventional self and proudly took up the word ‘weird’.

While I was happy with this realization, I wish I would have known that being different was okay earlier. Throughout high school I struggled to be ‘normal’. For instance, my school was predominantly Christian and when many of my friends were in touch with their Christianity, I was a confused fledgling trying to make sense of it all (religion). Also, in my group of creative friends, I did not like poetry (I still don’t) but since everyone was churning great poems I forced myself to write poems (obviously not with good results). Oh, and when I joined law school and hated it while everyone seemed to thrive in the midst of terms like LexisNexis being thrown around, I had to put on a fake smile every single day and pretend to enjoy looking up court cases.

Eventually, I got tired of pretending. I started becoming more vocal with my thoughts and I have not looked back! In my coming out of sorts, I realized why people choose to be conventional: it is much easier. It is much simpler to live without being judged constantly, being asked why you do certain things the way you do them and being shunned because you are different. Conventionalism becomes sort of a safe cocoon; a comfort zone where our identities take the back seat and being commonplace takes over.

My greatest achievement was accepting that in a world of polar bears, I am a panda. While the polar bears love their fish, all I yearn for are bamboo shoots. I, therefore, look forward to continuing with my struggle to be unconventional.

 

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