We are the weirdos mister
When I was a kid, for my birthday or Halloween, or any occasion really where dressing in costume was called for I always wanted to be Morticia Addams. She was my idol. I loved her long black hair, her skin tight black dress with tentacles slithering along the ground, her dark lipstick and cat’s eye makeup. In my mind she was perfect. She cut the heads from roses. She loved dark and weird things. She was anything but normal – well, conventional normal.
She made me feel good about myself, because I wasn’t normal either. I didn’t like the same things the other kids at school did. I was terrible at sports, I liked bugs and insects, books, dinosaurs and science fiction. I watched Sesame Street well into my teens (actually I’m not past watching it now) and thought the Muppet Show was just the coolest. I was teased mercilessly for this by my peers, but I didn’t care. I also wrote my own computer games in Basic on a Microbee computer. Socially I was extremely awkward. I was the child that everyone bullied – and I mean everyone - school children, teachers, my sisters and my parents, even complete strangers.
Sadly, I’m not even joking about this, just ask my therapist. It was as though all these ‘normals’ could sense I didn’t fit in and as a result wanted to run me out of the village. From the older boys who trapped me screaming in a corner of the play equipment, to the girls who used to form a ring around me and take turns at trying to beat me up (unfortunately for them, I fight dirty – just ask their shins). Then there was, the teachers who used to cruelly pick on me in front of other students (I suppose to make themselves seem cooler?), to my sisters who used to make fun of me at home. For the first 15 years of my life I was in a constant state of too-weird-and-not-good-enough. I was like Frankenstein’s monster. I didn’t ask to be created and yet here I was.
Eventually though, I met some people who loved me for who I was. The punks, metal heads, nerds, geeks and creatives who value strangeness. The weirdos. The Outsiders. The Goonies. It was amazing to find out that I was not alone. I stopped contemplating suicide or running away, and for the first time I actually started liking myself. I also still thank the maker every day for TV shows like the Addams Family, The Munsters, The Goodies, The Young Ones and Doctor Who, along with movies like Star Wars, The Goonies, Pretty in Pink, Heathers and The Breakfast Club, which along with books and punk rock music saved my life. They showed me that it was OK to be different, to be reviled, to be weird, unconventional and misunderstood. That people should strive to be unique instead of blending in with the beige carbon copies that surrounded them.
To this day I hate the colour beige, it’s a symbol of everything wrong in the world. Just like the mundane paradise my parents built for each other. They hated each other, but they were mutually committed to the status quo of the stagnant suburbs, where intelligence and creativity were considered aberrations to be stamped out before something wonderful might happen. No wonder I didn’t fit in anywhere. I never stood a chance competing with convention. I mean how do you truly escape the knowledge that you weren’t what your parents wanted? It took me a long time to stop letting it eat me alive, to drag myself out from under their disapproval, and escape the pain of caring. I know the thought is still there though, waiting to suck me down into its darkness. I can always feel it nibbling away at the back of my mind, but I’ve finally realised that it’s OK to feel haunted by these feelings. If I acknowledge them, they can’t hurt me anymore, and to quote Grouch Marx I wouldn’t want to join any club that would have me as a member anyway. I’m happy being the odd one out, and hanging out with my strange and unusual friends. We are the weirdos mister.