Being Weird

I don't have to "try" to be different.

Sometimes people decide it sounds really intelligent or insightful to opine that I'm trying to be "strange" because they think I AM strange. For instance, I'm a full-grown woman and I have a lot of toys and they're all over the place in my living quarters. I wear cartoon shirts, shirts I made, and very silly jewelry and hairstyles. I have some styles of life (including my eating habits, sleeping habits, and sexual orientation) that do not conform to the "norm." But am I doing these things just for the sake of being different? NO, dammit, I AM NOT!

It's hilarious to me that people can observe my lifestyle choices and interests and whatnot and actually think they're being insightful by dubbing it "wannabe weird" behavior. Surely, if I do this and this and this, I'm just trying to get ATTENTION. Which means I'm pathetic. Or maybe I actually feel the way I say I do, like the things I say I do, and think the things I say I do? Nah, that can't be it, can it? My life isn't about ME, after all. My life is about what other people think!

Sure, I've met plenty of people who get off on trying to be as crazy, weird, and different as possible. This does not really bother me. If that's part of how they find themselves, it's all good; if parts of it really are who they are, that's fine too. It's not up to me whether they want to be a "skater" or a "punk" or some category that they imagine is "alternative" or if they want to just try to be as weird as possible; or if they're going to ramble about how they don't believe in labels and are just too multifaceted and complex to fit anyway; it is up to them. What irks me is when people believe that because my tastes and actions are different from what they think of as normal, it means I must be trying to be that way--that it's just another way of conforming (just not to the majority). But I'm not part of any kind of counterculture either.

I'm not gonna sit here and say, "Yeah, you're different, but I'm *really* different, and I'm different-er than you are, I'm the supreme weirdo so ha." That is not how I feel, and being a "weirdo" is not something I have to strive for. It is not something I'm particularly proud of either; it's just something I accept. I am not your usual girl, and that's all there is to it. But I'm not deliberately aiming for nonconformity; I just happen to have tastes that don't quite match up to the popular culture.

I must also say that I would never *stop* doing something or begin to think it's "lame" if/when all the trendies pick it up. If I liked it before and it became popular, that does not mean it starts to suck simply because the pinks like it. I have a long history of liking things for a very long time. This includes many things, including the following:

I really get sick of people who think I only listen to the music I like "because nobody else does," or people who think I put on a certain shirt because I want to be a deviant. Very little of my behavior is purposely deviant or is done for the express purpose of freaking someone out. (My pranks are another story, but mischief is different; you can't really do a prank without freaking someone out sometimes.) Sometimes it's fun to throw people off-guard, sure, but it is not the goal of my life and it is not the purpose behind all (or anywhere near most) of my activities. I'm not trying to be strange. I'm not pretending that I'm a psycho or that I'm hopelessly bizarre, but I do know and accept that I'm different in many ways, and I am quite opposed to being told I'm only doing it in reactance to the majority. What I do is not to spite the majority, nor is it as a result of its influence. I am a product of my culture to a certain extent, but I also *do* have my own mind and I *do* use it.

The suggestion comes every once in a while that I act as I do because I tried to be "normal" once upon a time and no one would accept me. I think my mother encouraged me to be myself even though I was a bit strange, and I think that for most of my life I knew I was supposed to be true to myself. I've been told that I never rushed a sorority because I thought they wouldn't take me, so I must have pretended I didn't want to be in it in the first place. No, that's backwards; I never rushed a sorority because I honestly didn't want to be in a sorority. I don't need any other excuse. I've been told (rather snottishly, I must say) that I'm only being weird because I was never popular enough, so to save face I have to pretend I never wanted to be popular in the first place. I must say that I *do* wish I'd had more company in elementary and junior high school, but I understand that becoming popular in the younger grades often has little to do with being nice to people. It usually has to do with physical appearance, willingness to follow trends, willingness to accept peer pressure, and sometimes academic or athletic achievement. I would have liked it if there were more people who were willing to accept me for who I was rather than be worried about "reputation," but that wasn't the way it was, so therefore I had few friends at that time in my life.

Things did change, and people took notice that I was pretty groovy. I didn't have to change myself; the snobby, superficial people did the changing when they realized they weren't satisfied with themselves. Of course, not all of them changed, and not all of them ever will, but now there are plenty of people who can see my worth, and there are plenty of people who find my attitudes "refreshing." I must say that being slightly eccentric can actually help a social life in some ways, if you want one at all. Of course, there are some people who will never believe it. Clip:

Aaron, an acquaintance of mine, likes to argue with me about why I'm wrong about why I don't like guys. (If you haven't read my asexuality essay and you care, read it here.) After trying to come up with the usual things that he thought "caused" me not to like guys (being abused as a child, being a closet lesbian, et cetera), he came up with the strange idea that it was because I was never accepted while I was growing up. This is the relevant part of our conversation, one we had I think my third year of college . . . his screenname has been tweaked to avoid unwanted attention, spelling (typos included!) left intact.

Aaron: what was your status growing up in high school?

SwankiVY2: Okay, what do you mean by "status"?

Aaron: you know what I mean

SwankiVY2: No; I, unlike many other people, do not ask questions when I already know the answers.

Aaron: were you popular

SwankiVY2: I'm afraid you'll have to define popular for me.

Aaron: Oh my God . . . ..WERE YOU A POPULAR PERSON . . . PART OF CLICHE . . . . . . ..A GIRL WHUICH ALL THE GUYS ASKED OUT . . . ..A CHEERLEADER . . . . . . .

SwankiVY2: does that mean popular? I don't think it does.

SwankiVY2: I was always surrounded by people who loved me. . . .

Aaron: were they dorky????

Aaron: not to you

Aaron: but to others

SwankiVY2: I was happy, I was relatively smart, I had the attention of several guys (who hated it that I didn't want to date hehe), and I can't see that as UNpopular.

SwankiVY2: Although many people have thought I was strange throughout life because of my unique perceptions and my unique way of dressing.

Aaron: so why do you chooose to be different

Aaron: 5that's why you have that insane perceprtion

SwankiVY2: You sound incredibly close-minded when you're asking me about whether my friends are "dorky" in order to determine whether I was sexually scarred.

Aaron: you want to be different

SwankiVY2: You don't understand.

Aaron: yes I do

SwankiVY2: There's a difference between wanting to be different to be a freak and being secure enough in yourself to do what pleases you.

Aaron: You can't be what others are so you choose to be completely unique

SwankiVY2: I do not choose to do things because I want to be different.

Aaron: sure you do

SwankiVY2: I choose to do things because they seem right to me.

SwankiVY2: I am not affected by people's asshole tendencies. Like yours. Stop treating me like you have me "all figured out."

Aaron: let me give you this advice

SwankiVY2: I doubt I'll need it.


SwankiVY2: Sell out?

Aaron: you'll thank me years donw the road

Aaron: wear what others wear . . . what others do . . . lisen to music which is popular

Aaron: be a Sorority girl

SwankiVY2: No, I don't think I will.

Aaron: SweetHeart . . . trying to be unique never got me nowhere

SwankiVY2: I feel very sorry for you. I hope you do not mean that stuff and that you don't take your own advice.

SwankiVY2: I do not listen to things or wear things in ANY WAY due to what others do.

SwankiVY2: Meaning I don't wear clothes because they're popular or because they're unique.

SwankiVY2: I simply wear what I like.

SwankiVY2: Converse shoes are very popular. They are my favorite brand.

SwankiVY2: A head full of braids is my favorite hairstyle.

SwankiVY2: Almost no one wears that.

SwankiVY2: But I wear them at the same time.

Aaron: NOw, I have a great social life, I make great money, I'm buying a Z28 tomorow . . . .and I move to berkley this summer

SwankiVY2: Know what I can say? I'm happy. Are you?

SwankiVY2: Do you understand me yet?

Aaron: I took the same advive I'm giving you

Aaron: I'm very happy

SwankiVY2: *grin* I hope you're still alive in ten years. ;)

Aaron: don't waste your college years being eclectict(so not spelling that right).

SwankiVY2: Do you understand that I'm not going to go out and join a sorority because I need acceptance? I'm proud of who I am.

SwankiVY2: I don't need to buy friends.

SwankiVY2: I have them.

SwankiVY2: People come to me and love me for what I do and who I am.

SwankiVY2: Not because of who I know.

SwankiVY2: I most certainly did not "become unique" because the cheerleaders wouldn't accept me.

SwankiVY2: I don't know if they would. I never tried. Because I never found myself in their company due to my interests.

Aaron: Hey, you need to be honest with yourself

SwankiVY2: I am. :) Are you?

SwankiVY2: where do you think I'm lying?

Aaron: think how you want to look back on your life

SwankiVY2: *grin* I don't need to look back. I'm there now.

SwankiVY2: I'm in my life.

SwankiVY2: It's beautiful.

Aaron: in the end . . . .you'll have to be happy with your choices

SwankiVY2: *grin* . . . and listening to popular music and joining a sorority is going to make me happy with my choices?

Aaron: maybe it will

Aaron: maybe you will have a new insight on life

Aaron: Do you ever think that maybe you are being close minded

SwankiVY2: I can accept that you can see me as close-minded, but you can't prove that.

SwankiVY2: Because it has no basis in fact.

SwankiVY2: You see me as close-minded because I do not accept your way of life.

SwankiVY2: I don't ask that you accept mine. I only ask that you stop acting as if I must accept yours.

SwankiVY2: That, to me, answers the question of who is close-minded.

Aaron: NO, because you don't even try it

SwankiVY2: I don't try drugs either.

SwankiVY2: I don't try poison either.

SwankiVY2: Because I feel they would hurt me.

Aaron: we are not talking drugs here

SwankiVY2: We are talking the same principle.

Aaron: we are talking improving your status

Aaron: it's not all balck and white dear

SwankiVY2: I don't see status as existing, and there are plenty of people who feel the same way.

Aaron: they are asleep

Aaron: the purpose of life is status

SwankiVY2: Maybe you should try making sure you're not just dreaming that they are asleep.

SwankiVY2: You presume to know the purpose of life?

Aaron: it stems from animal insticnts

SwankiVY2: And you say it is something as pointless as scoring brownie points on a social ladder?

Aaron: yes I do

SwankiVY2: Well, I don't see merit in that.

Aaron: pretty much

SwankiVY2: Selling out does not appeal to me.

SwankiVY2: Therefore, I don't do it.

SwankiVY2: Sex doesn't appeal to me either.

SwankiVY2: I don't do it.

Aaron: the purpose of life is to procreate . . . all the rest is just fluff

SwankiVY2: I will not go about my life engaged in what others have termed as fun.

SwankiVY2: You cannot define my life.

I think I'm not going to let Aaron tell me what the purpose of MY life is . . . he can sit around convinced the purpose of HIS is to father a bunch of Jr Aarons but I personally intend to find a little more that's worthwhile in life besides popping out puppies. (Not that having children is something I frown on. It's a totally great goal in my opinion, for the record; I just think it's ludicrous to claim that it's life's only important goal, or that it's one that everyone needs to achieve in order to be fulfilled.)

As an aside, in other conversations both before and after this, Aaron IMed me to whine about his despair over losing yet another girlfriend or being depressed, yet he still thinks he knows better than I do what life's all about . . . something stinks here.

Anyway, back to the individuality thing: I am quite proudly eccentric, but I certainly don't keep a list of "things to do to be weird." Some of the things I do I know full well to be not-so-accepted practices. I don't care. I don't need to deliberately do deviant things to try to give myself an identity, but I also don't need to follow the crowd and blend in. I am who I am before I do what I do. What I do does not make me me.

Any comments left here are PUBLIC. If you are not comfortable with that, mail me directly.

Email address:

Comments from others:

MIKEY: "I just happen to have tastes that don't quite match up to the popular culture." "I also *do* have my own mind and I *do* use it." Nicely said I could not agree with you more on this whole page and just for the record this person Aaron, well I think he needs a wake up call if he thinks that all to life is status. How can anyone decide what is the norm, except for the norm of one's self.

"Pretty" Mike: I didn't know that there were others who felt like they weren't being weird for being them... That's what's up... It's funny how so many "Individuals" turn their nose up and go snob-status when they encounter true individuals... I have just officially changed my religion to "DoYouism". If everyone would just do them the world would go alot smoother...

U dont care: I DONt GIve a crap but i am kind of scared of you...

anon: you know what your problem love yourself too much! you're an egomaniac who thinks she's too good for anyone!
celibacy is also a doctrine of demons which is scriptural!

swankivy: Ahh, obviously the above "anon" has me pegged, huh? Anon knows that really my problem is that I'm obsessed with myself, though of course this person does not know me at all. Then again, it's always those who know the least who act like they know the most, right?

I'm not even gonna touch the thing about the demons.

Stephen: Well, to be fair, you do have a gargantuan body of work in your website, much of it centered around yourself. And you do say in your conversation with that moron Aaron that you aren't affected by people's asshole tendencies, yet you have about two-dozen pages written in your complaints department.

Don't get me wrong, Aaron sounds like trying to be unique didn't get him anywhere because he wasn't unique at all. I agree that you have to be true to yourself, but everyone is capable of deliberate self-alienation, subconscious as it may be.

But I feel I have to say it sounds... unconvincing... if not a little bit hypocritical... to say that you're unaffected or that you don't care what others think when your site screams otherwise.

Sorry to be contrary... but I guess I just disagree. I mean, it's not about same or different... it's about wrong or right... good or bad. Well, at least for me, it is. If popular culture finally gets something right, then I'll have no problem wearing or doing or listening to something "mainstream". But till then, I'm with you. Wait, I'm with myself... cause I'm an individualist... or something.


swankivy: Writing about people being idiots doesn't prove that therefore I must be sulking and hurt about it. Actually, I've found that when I talk about people's appalling behavior, a surprising percentage of responses sound like "What? Nobody says that to you. You're making that up. Nobody would actually give you crap about that." Au contraire! So when I complain about things that happen to me, I'm doing it partly to show that they ARE happening to me, and partly to state a position and use their dumbness as a learning tool. I also think it's helpfully cleansing to rant externally about things that bug me instead of carrying them around. I really wish people wouldn't tell me that my actions "speak otherwise" in opposition to my stated positions when nothing I've done is contradictory to what I believe.

Crane: Heh. So true. It's fun to be different, it's fun to weird people out, but (at least in my case) it's fun because it's just what comes naturally to me. After all, if you're forcing your behaviour in order to be 'cool', then you're no different from the thousands of others who buy into the latest pop-culture fads, even when they aren't things they actually enjoy.
If being 'cool' means doing exactly the same things as everyone else, count me out.
I don't ENJOY most of those things. I don't like sports, I don't like music, I'm not particularly keen on television (certainly not the majority programs like reality TV and soap operas), I actively AVOID brand name clothing...
My only real interests are reading and computer games. Why shouldn't I devote the majority of my time to indulging those, rather than spending a lot of it doing things I don't enjoy, in order to seem 'cool' to a bunch of people I have nothing in common with?

Jessie: I want to respond to what Stephen said:

But I feel I have to say it sounds... unconvincing... if not a little bit hypocritical... to say that you're unaffected or that you don't care what others think when your site screams otherwise.

I too can get annoyed with the masses and am sometimes outspoken about this while at the same time claiming that I don't 'care' what other people think. I have asked myself whether this was hypocritical before, and I decided that the problem lies in the vagueness of the word 'care'. What does it mean 'not to care?' If it means I am capable of utterly ignoring things without being the slightest bit affected by them, then I guess I DO 'care' what other people think. But people often use this word to suggest that something matters enough to cause them to change or to take some kind of action. I don't care what other people think of me to the point that I would change my happy self to earn their approval.

I do care, however, about living in a world surrounded by boring, close-minded, group-thinking people. Therefore, I'll tell them what I think. If they don't care to listen, I'll be upset because I had higher hopes for them, not because I'm concerned about what they think of me personally.

It's also possible that someone could not care what society as a whole thinks but still want to voice her opinions in case like-minded people come by to chat. I don't see this as a contradiction.

I don't know if this is what Ivy thinks, but I've thought about this before myself, so I thought I'd chime in.

Kamacla: I live in a super small town where everyone is either obbsessed with sports, the "in" bands, or telling me they eat babies because I'm vegetarian.
I'm not trying to be different. I'd just rather find some Indie band who's music I like than listen to something everyone else has listened to.
And just because I don't like sports doesn't mean I'm lazy and fat I'd just rather be doing more artistic things like acting. writing, singing or designing clothes.
And people think I should be emberassed because of that.

Toon Review: We all can be only who we are; no more, no less.

"Aaron: the purpose of life is status"

Oh... Emm... Gee. (OMG) Well that's his opinion I guess. But to me, what he is trying to say is that if you don't have popular status, you have failed in your life. If I felt like that, I'd probably be dead now, so I can't take his words as fact. Yes, and I'm sure he knows the purpose of existence. *slaps Aaron* Snap out of it!

Brianne: Holy crap, that guy actually made me boggle. I don't understand how people can think that way! It makes my head asplodey.

Synesthesia: First of all, I'm not sure normal exists.I do what I want within reason. Sleep with stuffed bunnies though I'm 31,read what I like. Listen to music that makes me feel. (Do you like the Fog by Kate Bush? You'd probably like Dir en grey, but i try to get the world into them, so maybe you won't.)
I don't know why anyone would want to join a sorority and be friends with girls who torment you for the pleasure of their friendship. It makes no sense. I'd rather do my own thing and define life on my terms than follow stupid rules that don't even exist. I think I'm happiest being myself.

And why do folks listen to music to be cool? I just like the Good Stuff.

Bree: Im glad you didn't sell out. I did a few years ago, and it was horrible. I stopped doing what I liked and wanted to do, and my "friends" were cruel to me. One of them often threatened 'I'll tell people you [insert something she dosen't like here]'. It only got worse when it didn't bother me.
I no longer sell out and I've never been happier. If anything, I'd say that the most important thing in life is being happy, and whatever makes you happy, you should do.

Alex: Just wondering, why don't you like being around animals? Is it because of the yuck factor?