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Honestly Odd – on Embracing the Weird

I have weirdness aspirations. Which is potentially weird in itself, but I do really…

I have weirdness aspirations. Which is potentially weird in itself, but I do really admire anyone who is completely comfortable in their own oddness. I don’t mean Manic Pixie Dream Girl-type oddness – I mean real-life oddness. For instance, I’m clumsy in a way that results in bruises rather than cuteness, and socially awkward in the sense of struggling to make small talk and descending rapidly into silence while wanting to go sit in a corner behind a potted palm, not having adorably deep conversations about life and flowers. For the most part, I accept this, and prepare myself for social events by thinking a little about what I can talk about, and making sure there will be people there I know. I also carry plasters and ibuprofen at all times.

But while I accept my weirdness, and am in some ways even comfortable with it, I wish I could embrace it a little more. For example: I was walking down to the shop the other day when an elderly lady on the other side of the road ducked behind a lamp post. She wasn’t a big lady, but lamp posts aren’t particularly big either, so I could still see her – and obviously I had to look again, as nothing draws your attention like someone trying so hard not to draw your attention. As soon as I looked her way, she ducked lower, as if that was somehow going to compress her into something that could hide behind a lamp post. I decided the best thing to do was to pretend I hadn’t seen her, but of course I had to check back before I reached the end of the road.

She ducked every time I looked back.

One day, I’m going to go around freaking people out by hiding really obviously from them. And then I will be satisfied that I have arrived at maximum acceptance of my own oddities.

Cats fully embrace their weird.

And here’s something – I thought, when I first started this whole excursion into blogs and social media and all the rest, that I could do it at arm’s length. Project what I wanted to project, but keep enough of myself back that it was Writer Kim you were talking to, not me. Because Writer Kim is quite straightforward. She likes cake and tea and cats, and reads a lot and writes a lot, and doesn’t swear, and is all-round pretty inoffensive and not that weird at all.

She’s also kind of boring, but that’s okay, because her writing isn’t boring (she says bravely). It has dragons hoarding barbecues and crashing Women’s Institute meetings, devious creatures sabotaging your diet and gargoyles busting organ trafficking rings. So that speaks for itself, right?

Probably more than I know, to be honest.

Why would this be weird?

But then I discovered Twitter, and Writer Kim was a wee bit lost there. Because 140 characters doesn’t allow you a lot. Because there’s no time to talk about knuckers and tiddy ‘uns and sock monsters there. There’s no room to explain yourself. So Writer Kim liked a few things, and shared a few things, then retreated. Because she couldn’t hold a conversation. Not without the real me sneaking in there. And wouldn’t that be a horror? If my oddness was revealed?

So I left Twitter, at least for a bit. And in that time I discovered something else. Some of those blog posts got a little personal. Not a lot, just a little. And people enjoyed those more than the arm’s-length ones. People liked the weirdness (people may need help). So it seemed that maybe I could let a bit of actual me out into the online world, and that’d be okay. Maybe.

I tried Twitter again. I commented on things that weren’t just about books and writing and cats (although a lot still were). I made some bad jokes. I made stupid comments (because that is who I am as a person), and most people kept talking me. In fact, more people talked to me. And I talked back (because social media is so much easier than actually being social. I like talking to people on t’interwebs). Actual me is a little weird and goofy, but it appears that weird and goofy is much more acceptable on Twitter than it necessarily is in the outside world. I even made some Twitter friends who seem to share a certain amount of oddness with me, which was quite a lovely and reassuring thing.

I see nothing weird about this. The gravel is lava, after all.

And Writer Kim kind of vanished. It’s been a curious lesson about acceptance, the idea that by projecting what you think is the best part of you means that you connect less to people, even online. And sure, I’m still awkward on social media, but people tend to commiserate, or at least laugh at me fairly kindly.

Which is a long way around to saying that letting my own odd self out online has led to me being less concerned with my own odd self in person. Maybe not less worried about what other people think (that’s a lifelong problem that I’m still working on), but more sure that while not everyone may warm to my weirdness, there are people that will.

And if not, the cat still loves me. Most of the time, anyway.

What about you? Do you feel you’re able to be more yourself online, or less? And do you have any weirdness aspirations?

adulting, creativity, fear, happiness, health, humour, introverts, self-acceptance, writer's life

  1. A.S. Akkalon says:

    Argh! I’d just shut down Twitter so I could go and do some editing, but then I saw this post and had to read it, and having read it I had to comment, so see what you’ve done to my editing! 🙂 Though it may be that drinking red wine also isn’t helping.

    I tend to think weird is preferable to not-weird because, you know, not-weird is boring. In my professional life I’ve learned to tone down my weirdness and I can even pretend to be sociable for short periods of time before I have to go to a quiet room and collapse. The awesome thing about Writing Alecia (i.e. me online) is that I don’t have to hide the weird. In fact, in the online writing community it turns out I may be too normal. (I may have to work on that.)

    Of course, sometimes I’ve been making random comments about dragons and raptor chickens on Twitter and then I go into the office and forget where I am and say something totally random and people look at me oddly. I think I can live with that. Embrace the weird. 🙂

    1. kimwatt says:

      Embrace the weird is going to be my new life motto. Non-weird IS boring, but seemingly more socially acceptable – although I’m not too sure where I picked that idea up. It’s a very silly idea – life would be much more fun if we all went around hiding behind lamp posts whenever we felt like it.

      And Writing Alecia is wonderful – just look at what all those people in the office are missing out on! I’d much rather chat about dragons and raptor chickens than spreadsheets and deadlines. So yay for social media, enabling the weirdness in us all!

      Sorry about the editing, though. ?

      1. A.S. Akkalon says:

        We could start a movement of hiding behind lamp posts. We’d report back each day like word counts: I hid behind two lamp posts today. Yay, me!

        1. kimwatt says:

          I like it. Bonus points if the person you’re hiding from starts hiding too/starts walking much faster…

        2. Anna Kaling says:

          I hide from people a lot. I once hid in the garden in my pyjamas when my ex brought a friend home from cricket without telling me.

          Another time I hid in the kitchen.

          And just last week I sat in my car and emailed home, “Waiting in the car until the weird kid next door goes inside. I’m not risking him hugging me again.”

          1. kimwatt says:

            I can see why he became your ex. Imagine bringing someone home unannounced! I hide in kitchens at every social event I go to – usually doing the washing up, because that makes me feel useful. And I have frequently stayed inside when I needed to leave because I had to wait until the neighbour was gone in case I had to engage in chitchat.

  2. Anna Kaling says:

    “socially awkward in the sense of struggling to make small talk and descending rapidly into silence while wanting to go sit in a corner behind a potted palm”

    I have found my people!

    Twitter and social media has done wonders for my own self-acceptance, too. Maybe a little too much… hence my tweets about the too-small bra that gives me four breasts, and my friend tweeting Isha Blaaker to ask how many retweets for him to have birthday sex with me (he didn’t reply – I can only assume there was a glitch and he didn’t see the tweet).

    I had a similar experience to you with Twitter. I created my account solely to enter one of the pitch thingies for my first novel, and I intended it to be some kind of professional account where I would tweet insightful comments about publishing and literature. But then I got 700 retweets and 2.5k likes for my tweet about the Loch Ness Monster being real, and I realised people actually like the real, honestly odd, me.

    Even when I tweet about having four breasts.

    1. kimwatt says:

      Honestly, the Loch Ness Monster is always going to be more popular than literature. I mean, it’s the LOCH NESS MONSTER. I even had a large, knitted Nessie toy when I was a kid. She had a tam-o-shanter, so you couldn’t mistake her for a dinosaur. And I still miss her. As for the four breasts – yeah. Probably still more interesting than a tweet about publishing, if I’m going to be honest. 😉

      I think it’s quite a lovely thing – I always heard the worst things about Twitter, and was quite scared of it to start with, but it really can be a good place. And apparently a very good place indeed to both be and find weird and wonderful people. Who I will continue to call my people rather than my tribe, because I really don’t understand the whole ‘finding your tribe’ thing.

      1. Anna Kaling says:

        If we form a tribe, we could have a war cry. I think it’s worth considering.

        1. kimwatt says:

          Is that why everyone’s looking for their tribe? It all makes sense now! If anyone had just bothered to mention war cries…

  3. Jade Panugan says:

    Brilliant post Kim! I love the authenticity. Yes. I think we all have our own “odd side” or some sort, though we don’t want to accept it. Good thing, here’s Twitter, here’s Facebook. Now we can fake it. We can act like “Me 2.0”, or we can act like our true selves, showcasing our weirdness. I, too, struggle being my true self online. I think, we all have to fake it at some point. That’s why I admire people who accept who they are, people who don’t care what others think of them. Because… who cares? (: Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    1. kimwatt says:

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Jade! I find the whole social media thing quite interesting – even on my personal pages, I’m not one for sharing the unpleasant or boring parts of life (everyone’s got them!), but nor do I particularly like the shiny perfect life images you see projected around a lot of the time. I did initially intend my professional accounts to be just that – professional – but it’s kind of a relief to find out that it’s when you’re most yourself that you connect the best with others.

      Even if it is bonding through mutual weirdness 😉

  4. Chantelle Atkins says:

    Weird is good. Weird is the best! I feel like when I was a kid I knew I was a bit weird and I didn’t mind, and I didn’t really want to be like anyone else, but at the same time, I knew I had to hide it a bit. Being an adult kind of liberates you a bit, I think, because you’ve got your friends, and you’re all grown up and don’t care so much what people think anymore. I know what you mean about online behaviour too. When I started my blog I blogged about whatever came into my head, and back then it was mostly personal thoughts and reflections. I really enjoyed this kind of writing and didn’t really worry about sharing it because I knew I was pretty much talking to myself! A few years on I suddenly felt like I needed to be more ‘professional’ and blog about writing tips and things. Just lately, I’ve changed my mind, and I think writing tips and writing related things are fine, but probably a bit boring to most readers. So I’m not going to worry about blogging about anything I want, as usually those random ones are the most popular!

    1. kimwatt says:

      I do find it really interesting how the more personal (and therefore, for me, more weird!) blogs tend to be more popular. But often they’re the ones I enjoy reading more on other people’s blogs, too. I guess we recognise ourselves more in them.

      I do find I become more and more comfortable with who I am as I get older – I’m still a little careful depending on who I’m with (not everyone is as fluent in rubbish as I am), but I enjoy my weirdness too much to try and hide it the way I did when I was younger!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting ?

  5. Anna Adler says:

    You’re awesome, Kim, and I love the weird you! 😀 #fanofkim And I love Twitter. In real life, I spend a lot of time pretending to be normal, which is exhausting. I never wanted to get on social media because I thought it’d mean even more channels where I have to keep up an appearance. I was so surprised to discover that I can just be myself on Twitter and have funny conversations with fellow introverts. My Twitter account was supposed to be just a self-promotional showcase for my books and stuff, but it turned into my favorite hangout.

    Accepting the weirdness in ourselves and in other people is a wonderful thing!

    1. kimwatt says:

      Aw, you’re so sweet – and awesome too!

      This seems to be a bit of a theme for many of us, that we set out into social media thinking we’re going to be all adult and professional, only to find out that it’s one of the few places where we can let our weird light shine. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s such an amazing thing to connect with other writers and introverts and generally lovely people from all over the world. And all while not having to get out of our pjs…

      Thank you for being such a lovely and wonderfully weird twitter friend!

  6. Debbie Jinks says:

    Weird is great, its such a good reason to be who you are and not what people expect you to be. I love hiding behind lamp posts, not quite but I do cross the street if I see people I think might look at me and think horrible things. Or I put my head down when I’m out walking in case people notice my new wrinkle that’s appeared, or the fact that I haven’t done my hair. Hang on is that weird or weak? I want pet geese….I wish dragons were real…I’d love to have a donkey in my back garden. I wouldn’t want to be any other way. This is a brilliant post 🙂

    1. kimwatt says:

      Nooo, geese are scary! Pet dragons would be much better (and what do you mean, they’re not real??) 😉

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting – and glad you enjoyed it! I love this: “I wouldn’t want to be any other way.” Embrace the weird.

      But just to be clear – I’m quite sure no one’s thinking horrible thoughts about you. You’re far too nice for that! (Although they may be thinking, “She’s hiding behind lamp posts. That’s not fair. I want to hide behind lamp posts…”)

Comment away! (Points awarded for comments involving cats, tea, or baked goods)

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