‘Strange is amazing’: Shona raises her children to accept their ‘weird’ nature

My eldest daughter and I were talking one evening when she revealed to me that a boy in her class used to call her “weird.”

He apparently said this because he loved studying and asking lots of questions, and because he made jokes that, to him, weren’t funny.

When I asked how he responded, his response made me smile.

“I told him, ‘Great. Weird makes me cool,'” he told me.

And then he continued the conversation, undisturbed about the matter and ready to discuss what he described as a “more important” topic.

I’m also called ‘weird’

For years I’ve been telling my two daughters that “weird is cool.” I say this because I believe, but also because I relate.

When I was growing up, especially during my high school years, I was also called a “weird person”, along with other variations of the word.

Sometimes it’s said as a direct insult, other times it’s wrapped in the disguise of some kind of affectionate pet name: “You bastard” is a common example of this.

I used to hate hearing these descriptions, whatever their form. They made me feel different — as if something was wrong with me and I wasn’t cool.

I am often clearly embarrassed when it is told me, and this makes me either insecure or ashamed to be myself.

With the benefits of maturity and self-awareness, along with the beauty of looking back, I learned that these “weird” characteristics of mine were my greatest asset. They are also traits that make me, me.

In my case, it’s my creativity, my love of writing and reading (especially darker stories), and my quick, dry wit that isn’t always understood or appreciated.

It’s my passion for signature jewelry — specifically earrings that no one else wears.

In the end, a lot of things aren’t considered cool or conventional — or what other people are used to.

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