The art of being weird and making friends

I was an original hipster.

Platform shoes made a brief comeback in 1993, when I was in 7th grade.

You could find them in stores but they weren’t that common. Being that I had always been vertically challenged, I bought a pair of tan platform wedges and wore them to school.

So of course, middle schoolers did what any normal, insecure pre-teens do: They made fun of me. And I kinda liked how much it upset them.

I never gave that much of a shit what anyone else was doing. I still don’t. Having the power to upset someone else’s sensibilities just by living my life has always made me feel like I’m winning.

I wore sweaters with cats on them before wearing clothes with cats on them was cool.

I wore ponchos when you could only buy them on eBay, before they became a fad in the early 2000s.

The quickest way to ruin something for me is for everyone to start doing it.

I think that’s because I always associated popularity with the bullies who talked shit about the odd ones out. And that’s why I naturally gravitate to the weirdos. The unapologetic ones. The ones who don’t wait for others to articulate their opinion before voicing their own. And that’s why I will always defend the voice of the assertive free spirit over the voice of the popular, even when their opinion challenges mine.

BeWeirdPandas

Popularity ruins things I actually want, like a Macbook. I have purposely refused to get one because I don’t want to be one of 20 people at the coffee shop sitting behind a glowing apple.

But avoiding something just because it’s popular makes you just as much of a wannabe as the sheep who follow fads. You shouldn’t care what other people are doing. Who gives a fuck? Do you.

But be genuine.

Am I writing this to justify the fact that I will probably buy my very first Macbook this month? Possibly.

But mostly, I’ve come to realize that true self confidence comes from going against the norm, but at the same time, not questioning your integrity when you happen to follow the norm. You just have to ask yourself about your motivation for doing it.

Stop trying to impress people.

You’re missing out on connecting with people who will actually like the real you because you keep hiding it.

I find it refreshing when people are unapologetically who they are. The most confident people aren’t the ones with perfect lives – they have overcome struggle and are open about their flaws. I’m open about mine. It’s the reason why I either connect with people immediately, or not at all.

Every time I post an article on the UK Daily News Service, I hear from an old friend I haven’t talked to in a long time, opening up to me about a personal struggle they’re facing related to my article. Imagine if we did that every day? Instead of exchanging polite “niceties”, let’s begin opening up a bit.

If more of us shared our struggles with one another and embraced who we really are, we would all realize that we are all weirdos. Some of us just choose not to hide it.