Saturday, 9 January 2016

Uh oh, here comes the freak

I have been described as a little weird. Odd, just a touch off. My tastes are eclectic to say the least. Being able to quote most of The Princess Bride, paired with singing every word from the Buffy musical episode makes me different than the norm. I wear a Wookie jacket while I ride my electric blue scooter through town. I love zombies as much as I am fascinated by romance novels. I go to karaoke, but can’t talk in front of strangers. My bucket list contains living in a musical for a day and being on reality television. My musical playlist contains everything from old school jazz to Gwen Stefani to Adele to Nine Inch Nails. I read Anne McCaffrey, Jean M. Auel, Maya Banks, Stephen King, Phillip Pullman and Lorelei James equally - my tastes vary as often as my mood. If that makes me a weirdo, well then I’ll take it. I, as they say, let my freak flag fly.

For so many years I tried to fit into the mold that was pre-destined for me. Even as a teenager I tried to be like everyone else, I wore the right jeans and refused to admit that I didn’t like them. I listened to the top forty and gushed over Rick Astley (I know I am showing my age here but whatever). I had the prerequisite teen heart throb posters covering my walls. I thumbed my nose up at the freaks. Then I became a wife, and wore the perfect dress beside my equally conventionally dressed husband. I put away my ‘childish’ dreams and became an adult, or should I say an adult the way society says an adult should be. I set up house, popped out the two kids and got myself a dog. We bought a house and did everything the way we were supposed to. I had mom hair for god’s sake.

Then I guess it would have been when I was around thirty I changed. I don’t remember an epiphany, or a moment that the lightbulb went on. It just happened. Maybe in little ways. Tiny steps taken towards my authentic self. Tiny steps taken that I realized just how much I loved the unconventional. I was happier the more I moved towards the person I am today. Each step was like the shackles of the expected were removed from me. I learned how to be happy with who I am. To be the misfit I have always been but hidden from the world. I brought out my childish dreams and ambitions and dusted them off.

I was labelled, I have always been labelled. From lower class child (my goodwill clothes put me firmly in that place), to preppy teenager, to mom, wife, adult. I allowed these labels to shape me, I became what the label said I had to be. But you know what? That’s bullshit. That’s right, I said it. The only place labels should offer directions are on your clothes. They shouldn’t define who I am, what I can do, who I can be. Who I should be, what I should like. Screw that. Labels are always going to exist, we as a society need to accept that. What we don’t have to accept is what those labels mean. Being a mother doesn’t mean I can’t have pink hair and tattoos. Being a wife doesn’t mean I have to like loafers and have inane small talk about cooking and what cleaning products work best. I can have all the labels in the world, but I don’t have to let them define who I am. I can still be me, within the labels.

Today I want everyone to accept what they really like. If you like top forty then so be it. If you are an anime loving guy who wants to cosplay, do it. If you are more of a country music twangy shit-kicker wearing girl – own it! Be your authentic self, don’t let anyone tell you what you should like, who you should be. Be you. That’s the most important thing, learning to like ourselves and accept who we need to be. I hid from myself for so long that I almost didn’t recognize the real me when she finally surfaced. Don’t let that happen to you, be the person you want. Dream the dreams you want and don’t ever let anyone tell you they shouldn’t be your dreams. You can be the person you were always meant to be.

I am me. Freak for sure and loving every minute. Now if you’ll excuse me I feel a marathon of Firefly coming on.

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