Individual Weirdness

Photo of caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, created in Christmas lights.
by Joshua Coleman/Unsplash

Yesterday, I posted a review of Felicia Day’s Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity. I’m following that with a post about the perception of weirdness, as I like how the book put into words what I’ve felt about the word “weird.”

I’ve certainly tried to fit into what seemed mainstream. But, as I’ve grown older, I’ve become more comfortable with what makes me different than others. And I’ve shifted what I consider to be “cool.” I used to think it was dressing in a trendy way and acting in a certain way.

However, is it cool to conform to what most people are doing? Or is it cool to not follow the popular trends?

“We’re often called ‘weird’ for the very fact that we defy stereotypes in some way.” — Felicia Day

I’ve called things “weird” as a way to describe how bad they were for being different. I’ve heard family and friends do the same thing. Granted, some things are different and scary and intimidating. A species of nasty, tentacled aliens who want to wipe out all humans? That fits the bill.

But I’ve tried to reduce using “weird” as a go-to label when meaning it in a negative way. Because weird can be very interesting. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland had many weird moments, and the book is lots of fun. Surely, it has inspired writers and artists to create their own wonders. To go down the rabbit holes of their imaginations and see what they can come up with.

“Our weirdnesses are the most fertile places to start when we want to create.” — Felicia Day

While reading Embrace Your Weird, I nodded at several parts. The idea of seeing our differences as positives. Of trying to be comfortable with them. Of taking walks with them, having a drink together, playing games, getting to know each other better. Those weirdnesses can generate ideas in working on creative projects.

As a writer and illustrator, of course I’m going to encourage people to take a shot at creative projects. It can be fun to move from spectator to inventor. If you don’t want to show the results of your inventing to the world, you don’t have to. Believe me, I have created stories, poems, and drawings that I’m not going to post on this blog.

But if you’d like to share, then put something silly in the world — as Shel Silverstein suggested. Or something scary or adventurous or melodious or dramatic … and so on.

If it wasn’t for creators who took what came before them and explored their media in different directions, would there be The Wizard of Oz? Abstract art? Terry Gilliam’s movies? Ursula K. LeGuin’s books? Dr. Seuss’s books?

The list can be much longer. And I’m glad those artists created works, so we can enjoy their individual voices.

3 thoughts on “Individual Weirdness

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