A college essay. Prompt: What is your favorite word? Why? Enjoy!
Observing spelling alone, weird itself is a weird word.
Its spelling is odd, one of the most inane of the English language.
If you say it slow enough, you can hear the “we’re” right before you pop the “duh.”
The oddities of such a word are fittingly used to describe people just as odd. As a kid, people would call me weird every day. It was hardly ever said with malice, like innocent children usually do, and was stated more like a fact. On all accounts, I was weird. I wore neon pink Justice jumpsuits, adorned myself with shiny green braces and blue glasses, sporting eyebrows so thick they took over half my forehead, and never thought twice about yelling out whatever I wanted whenever I was with my friends in school. Sometimes I would post strange videos of myself pretending to be several characters in an action skit on my school’s video sharing platform. (A lot of people in my grade loved those, for whatever reason.) Most people in my grade were reserved and intelligent; while I was almost as smart as them, my thunderous laugh that could bend through the thick walls of our classroom, as well as my loud, violent stutter, made me look like a proper idiot.
Vividly I remember sitting down on the first day of fourth grade—after I had just moved from my old elementary school—and a girl sat down beside me. Maybe I did a character impression, or made a stupid noise, or stuttered for a few seconds, or pulled a dumb face, or did a dorky dance. Whichever one, or ones, I did, the girl called me weird within a matter of five minutes.
“I take that as a compliment.” I said it with a shrug, a smile, and maybe another one of my weird ticks. From that day on, until the day we both moved away from that county, we were inseparable.
I love that I had met one of my best friends—a person so bright and funny that I will never forget—due to her calling me weird. As I entered middle school, where braces and glasses and neon pink jumpsuits are utterly unacceptable, I only then began to hate how bizarre I acted and looked. Constantly crying, constantly trying to look pretty, to act pretty, only to be called a monkey or ugly or weird… that was the worst. I left that sphere of hell more socially acceptable on the outside, but I was still the same little freak inside.
The friends I made all throughout my teen years were also oddballs themselves. Not all of them, some were quite peppy and conventional. But most were strange: they had strange problems or circumstances or ways of thinking. (Sometimes the way they went about things was so peculiar that I wondered if I was boring in comparison.) I loved, and still love, those creative, thoughtful, intelligent weirdos so much that I knew we had found a group of people that were so different from ourselves that we all felt the same.
Even though I am somewhat strange, I know that there are millions upon millions of people just like me. I am not a “I’m not like other girls” kind of person. I know that I exist everywhere in abundance. Having quirks or abnormal traits is what makes so many individuals successful. Being average is a choice people make, because we all have at least one sector of ourselves that is exceptionally weird and thereby exceptional. Adults and fully-grown things often learn to snuff out and stuff those odd parts of themselves away, and overtime everyone begins to act, like, and look the same, a manufactured product of what our society currently demands.
It is not a battle against what is popular and normal, but rather a battle against our natural tendencies to want to blend in. It is not a battle with each other but with ourselves. We tend to squash those who do not act or think like they should—observe the disgust of grown people when Jaden Smith decides to wear skirts and frilly dresses, or when young Greta Thunberg tries to warn the world about climate change and is called “mentally ill” by news shows—and the few we do not beat down to a pulp often do it to themselves. Not very often do we see someone odd and wonderful rise to the top and stay there, unhinged and fastened to their righteous spot.
We’re duh. Weird. Duh.
We all have the potential to explore that one facet of ourselves we believed was too much for the world to handle. Being “weird” helped me make friends, find my inner voice, and think of unique project concepts and stories for my writings. Weird, weird, weird, weird. When seen enough times, it transcends its meaning and becomes an idea greater than itself. It says potential, community, and purpose, all with the pop of a “duh” with its brace-faced mouth.