In what ways do you consider yourself to be quirky?
I like the definition of quirky from the Urban Dictionary: something that is strange/not normal but cool. How cool is that?
I haven’t always thought of my quirkiness as cool though. It got me labeled as nerdy, geeky and eccentric for most of my life, going all the way back to my grade school and high school days. I was a typical bookworm, always having a book under my nose. I mostly read classics in my younger days and this was seen as peculiar, weird, and strange, even by the school and local librarians. I was told at the age of ten that there was no way I could comprehend the complexities of War and Peace or Great Expectations, to name a few books on my early childhood reading list. My question was, so why are they in the library? But I digress. The point is, it was not normal and I was called out for it. Their criticism didn’t hinder my thirst for literature though.
In my teens, I became obsessed with Gothic novels. I read the classics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stokers’ Dracula, but I also enjoyed reading those dime store Gothic suspense books from the 60s and 70s. To further my quirkiness, I was hopeless enthralled by the television soap opera, Dark Shadows. Word got out in school about my obsessions and I was labeled a weirdo. It didn’t help that I began wearing “out-there” clothing, like long black skirts, peasant tops, black jeans and t-shirts and tons of bracelets. My look continued to evolve, well through my 20s, into dark nail polish, dark make-up and changes in hair color and styles. Goth and emo weren’t yet actual styles, although they were coming into their own by the mid-to late 80s. By the time they became “cool” I had moved on to other quirkiness – a medieval style of dressing. I’d also joined some reenactment groups where we dressed up in era-appropriate garb and acted out scenes from the medieval period. This was considered strange and odd, but also cool.
I was also a computer geek long before most of my classmates and friends even knew what a computer was. There were four of us who’d gather in a basement in one of our houses and tinker around with a Commodore computer. When Apples came out, we indulged in those too. We’d sit in the lunch room and chat about programming. The labels flew and our quirkiness at the time was less than cool.
My love for all things Mathiness got me labeled as a nerd in school. I was the Algebra teacher’s pet and that seemed to really irk some of my classmates. He was a hard-nose and detailed-oriented teacher. It set well with me, but not many others in our class.
Later on, my quirkiness grew to the world of Science Fiction. The same group of computer geek friends and I also indulged in all things Star Trek and Star Wars. At the time, being into science fiction wasn’t cool. My how times have changed!
I went through a phase in my late 20s of being into the paranormal and supernatural, practiced Wicca and dressed witchy (who am I kidding, it wasn’t a phase. I still enjoy those things *laughs*). Luckily by then, this quirkiness had actually become cool in some circles.
These days, I am more into Buddhism, meditation, mindfulness and spiritualism. These quirky behaviors still get me labeled as weird, strange, and odd, even as these practices become more mainstream.
I’ve learned to embrace my quirkiness. I no longer listen to what others say about my behaviors, mannerisms and weirdness. It takes special types of people to understand these things about me and still consider me their friend. They don’t mind that I dress funny or that I spend a lot of time in my head. They enjoy my quiet, introspective resolve, my ever-evolving nature, and my thirst for all things strange and bizarre. These unusual aspects make me who I am.