Keep it Weird!

In old English it was originally spelled wyrd and meant having the power to control or influence fate.  According to Nordic mythology there were three wise women whose job it was to decide the fates of gods and humans.  The way they did this was by working together to create a tapestry.  Each thread they used represented a person and the length of the thread depicted how long they would live.  This is how they controlled fate and wove the tapestry of what was to be.  In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, these three figures were known as the Weird Sisters and since they were portrayed as being odd and scary, the term weird took on a whole new meaning.  In today’s culture to be weird normally describes something or someone that deviates from the normal.  I guess my question to you is whether that is always a bad thing?  I think not.  There are many famous people throughout history that made monumental contributions to society who were just plain weird.  I am sure you would love to hear some examples and I would be happy to oblige.  For instance, did you know that Vincent van Gogh, one of the most recognized painters of all time, had a habit of eating yellow paint?  It is true, he believed this bright cheerful color would somehow lift his spirits if consumed.  I am sure there were things that ended up a more cheerful shade of yellow, but I doubt it was his spirits.

The great composer Beethoven had a weird habit of pouring cold water over his head before he sat down to compose.  He believed it helped stimulate his brain.

 Abraham Lincoln, one of our most famous presidents, was the first president to wear a beard.  He stood six feet four inches which made him taller than any previous president.  I am sure these attributes were weird for the time.

And what about some of our own weird habits? For instance, do you wear your lucky jersey when your football team is playing, or hold your breath when you drive past a graveyard or drive through a tunnel? Or perhaps yours is checking behind the shower curtain before entering to be sure there isn’t a serial killer hiding there.  We all have them; I know I have mine. 

For instance, it is not unusual for me to randomly transition into my opera voice and break into song.  It can be anything from Phantom of the Opera to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  The genre matters little to me if I can belt it out in my best opera star voice.  My weirdness does not end there.  I pride myself in having a “Princess Bride” movie quote for any and all situations, just ask my children.  I used to embarrass my boys mercilessly when they would have friends over.  Before bed I would look at them with a serous face and quote the Man in Black character from the movie as he held Andre the Giant in a choke hold, “I do not envy you the headache you will have when you awake.  But for now, rest well and dream of large women.”  My boys would roll their eyes as their friends gave me a very puzzled and confused look. Weird?  Probably, but boy was it fun!

I tend to over accessorize, if one bracelet is good, three are better. I prefer sitting on the floor rather than sitting on a chair, I am obsessed with quotes, and I absolutely love to be around people. Even as a child, I cut the hair off every single doll I ever owned and painted their eyelids with pink nail polish.  I can’t allow my food to touch on my plate, and I eat everything on my plate in clockwise order. And you know what, I have made peace with who I am. I am my weird self and I wish to offer a heartfelt thank you to my morning java buddy for reminding me to stay just that.

We all have our weird quirks, and that is something we should embrace in ourselves as well as others.  What a vanilla world this would be if we were all the same.  We need the pistachio, the mint chocolate chip, and the cookie dough.  We need rainbow sprinkles and chocolate fudge.  Don’t allow the voices around you to box you in to what they think you should be.  Go against the grain, without apology or embarrassment.  Embrace your inner weirdness and be your authentic self. If you spend your whole life trying to be normal you might just miss out on how truly wonderful you could be!  (Did you notice I didn’t end with my usual quote?  Weird, right?)

Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director

Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce