If I ever write a book, I feel like it would have the title of this post. (You heard it here first folks.)
So for a massive portion of life (AKA, basically the entire time I have existed) I’ve felt like an outsider. When I was growing up, I always felt different from other people my age, like I just didn’t quite fit in. I don’t mean in the traditional way that you’d think either. I always had friends and I didn’t really get bullied or anything like that. I just never felt…right? It’s like everyone had this handbook on how to be a normal teen and I just didn’t get the memo or something. Then in university, I felt the same way. It felt as if everyone my age had all of these commonalities and I couldn’t relate. I guess that’s why I often say I feel like I’m a grandma trapped in a young person’s body because that’s the best way I can describe the feeling.
You feel like on some levels you are similar to other people, but then there’s also this part of you that is so so foreign. If someone said to me that I was actually from another planet and was a Martian who landed on earth 24 years ago and was just great at shape-shifting, that would make some serious sense to me.
It’s just this nagging feeling of “Oh my god, I am actually a weirdo.” Not the cool, quirky kind either, I just feel straight up weird. Common thoughts include: why can’t I find more people like me? Maybe there’s no one out there like me and I’m just exceptionally strange? I may not come off like this, but it’s that same feeling.
Lately in my life, I’ve been in a position where I’ve ended up meeting a lot of new people at once. So naturally, those same feelings of being an outsider have been cropping up.
The thing is, in life, there’s this thing where you’re told to be yourself, be unique and stand out. Then there’s also this overwhelming feeling of wanting to fit in, in the sense that you want to have things in common with your peers. You want to make friends, you want to be able to say a joke and people will laugh, you want to feel connected.
Not that long ago, I was at this point where I felt like maybe new friends just weren’t in the cards for me. I’d grown too weird, too odd, too un-relatable for other people my age. Then, after so many conversations with new people (too many to count), I finally realised that I’m not a weirdo, we actually all are. It’s not me, it’s them- it’s us all.
I started thinking about some of my closest friends. They’re ‘normal’ in person but after knowing them for years, they’re just as weird or eccentric or goofy or lame as I am. Then I think about my family and it’s the same thing. I remember someone once saying that my mum was a very serious person. Five minutes later I walked into the room where my mum was folding laundry and she’d put a sock on her hand and started voicing it like a sock puppet as a joke. Serious, my mum is not.
Thinking about this made me realise, hardly anyone (myself included) is going to expose their most vulnerable points, their weird side or their embarrassing side in front of strangers or new people, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Your teachers, your students, your parents, your kids, your friends, strangers. Hell, I bet your lawyer (if you have one) is weird as hell behind closed doors. I know not everyone is going to be like this, but when I think of the best people I know, they all have a weird side. A very, very weird side.
As far as I can tell, normal doesn’t exist. It’s just an idea that we all have in our heads that we’re trying to achieve but we can never actually reach it.
So here we are, all constantly thinking about what it is about ourselves that isn’t normal, completely forgetting the fact that no one really is. And if someone says they are ‘normal’, they’re probably lying.
Now, if I’m having a conversation with someone and I feel like I can’t relate, I’ll no longer think “God, they’re normal and I’m just odd.” Mark my words, I’ll think that no more my friends.
We all have our weird sides, our sensitive sides, our odd sides and the sides of us that we’ll only ever let select people see. So don’t feel like you’re less than anyone else just because you may not enjoy the same things as others or because you don’t want to talk about the things they do, or because they have a certain air about them that maybe you don’t. You’re not weird, everyone else is. It’s only the best people who let you see that side of themselves- but everyone is weird, I swear.