I am weird.
There’s been no doubt in my mind since my earliest memories that people find me unusual rather quickly after meeting me. I’m cluttered with guesses as to why, but I don’t truly know of course. We can’t really see ourselves at all, so how could I?
Physically I’m not the girl next door. I have pale skin, dark brows, big broad cheekbones, a small jaw, and ears that stick out a little. Like Tilly, the girl mouse in American Tale, according to a guy in summer camp when I was 15. I was mistaken for a Russian another time, but thankfully my look alike in that case was human. My face is asymmetrical, my teeth a little out of kilter, I have an overbite, and as a frenemy in high school delighted in telling everyone, my eyes are so far apart I almost look like I have Down’s Syndrome with no glasses on.
Then there’s my hair. I’ve only met a couple other folk in my life with hair texture like mine. It sprouts in tremendous density and every color, springing from my head with determination and layers of texture. Some bits are wavy, others grow in corkscrew curls, others crinkled like fine soft wire in tiny ripples. The overall impression is brunette, with auburn in the sunlight (sprinkled generously now with gray) but in my grooming I see individual strands of every shade and thickness from (rarely) fine blonde to (occasionally) fiery red and thickest deepest black and all the subtle browns and blends in between. There’s so much of it that average hair control tactics are completely inadequate. It took me years to realize it required completely a non-standard approach and develop my own methods. I finally appreciate the complexity and unique character of it, but for the balance of my life it’s been my greatest “beauty” frustration. And definitely a thing that stands out.
Another weird thing is I’m naturally serious and insatiably curious; I think too much, ask too much, say too much with too much honesty, and question everything. Not attractive in a casual setting. For most of my life this has troubled me socially – it’s been something I worked on from the beginning of my “working on myself” efforts. I worked on consciously relaxing my face into a more pleasant neutral expression, and reminding myself to smile more, so at least I wouldn’t intimidate people with my darkened brow and thoughtful frown. This is impossible for me if I have to fake it, so I had to turn it into a thought exercise (HA! always with the thinking); where can I find a little source of joy and humor that I can touch on to help me FEEL more pleasant and inviting, so people SEE that? Eventually I turned to my underlying viewpoint; what beliefs gave me a darker more serious perspective than most people were comfortable with?
Do I really want to be like them – unable to address more serious topics in conversation without getting uncomfortable and letting communication break down? No. I want to strike a balance between, and I want to find others who are comfortable there with me. I want to remain present in the face of pain and keep one finger in the pool of love and joy that is my birthright all the while, letting the light of that flow through me, shining out to others, drawing them into a circle of caring and mutual benefit. It hurts to live, it hurts to love, but the more freely we share the pain and joy of it all the more we can heal and strengthen each other. This increases our odds of amassing the treasures that really matter; self respect, strong relationships, a fulfilling body of work, and a legacy of positive influence in whatever areas our deepest spirit moves us.
It brings to mind my Tarot card, The Star, depicted as a maiden standing with one foot in water and the other on land, holding two pitchers, refreshing the water of a stagnant pool with one while pouring water on the ground with the other. I read she represents “a moment of renewed hope, inspiration and discovery… calm after the storm… breakthrough. She indicates that we are approaching the goal of enlightenment.”
I learned a lot about myself in that line of inquiry, and the talisman of that phase of my growth was ‘stealjoy’ – short for “steal every joy you can from every moment of life, because life will never stop trying to steal it from you if you give it any excuse”. This was in the early days of the internet, so I dubbed myself such on a few sites, and touched my mantra every time I logged in for a few years. I realized after a while it’s a negative construct, implying joy exists in finite quantity and can be taken against our will, a false scarcity belief that would become limiting. I let go of my stealjoy self, and don’t think of it much these days, but it was helpful to me for a time as a way to crystallize and habituate my battle for a healthier empowered approach to my emotional health.
I am weird.