“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
If you haven’t gathered from reading my posts (or ever interacting with me in general), I’m a little bit nutso. In the best way possible, obviously, but that doesn’t change the fact that my mind certainly processes life in a different way than most. But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that people don’t always know what to make of different.
I’ve recently taken a look at all my friends, and have come to terms with the fact that every single person I hold dear is fucking weird in some way or another.
I was arguing with a friend the other day and I apologized for being irrational. And she said something to the extent of “you act as though I’m normal”. And she was right. Our relationship is founded on our own set of morals and principles. Our “normal” interactions included my irrationalities as well as hers.
In life, there is a certain expectation to be “normal”. And we equate this idea of normalcy with good.
Normal: typical, usual, sane.
Our mind often thinks in terms of polarity; things inevitably are somewhere along the scale of good and bad, between something that makes us happy and something that doesn’t. If the opposite of normal is weird, more often than not, weird is dismissed as a negative adjective.
Weird: atypical, unusual, insane. Me.
But really, what is normal? If normal is how well you follow societal norms, can anyone truly be totally and completely normal in every aspect of their life?
It’s normal to be a little bit weird; abnormal is normal. Compatability is finding someone whose crazies jive with your own, because we’ve all got ‘em.
We all know that person who appears “perfect” and “normal”. But let’s be honest, there’s something unsettling and even a little bit irritating about that person because that’s just not how life works. You know there are “flaws”, and not being able to put your finger on them is maddening. Everyone has their own set of crazies; everyone has their demons. If you keep an open mind, those crazies are often the most amusing things about other people. And if you give others a chance to embrace those flaws in themselves, it certainly adds color to your life.
If you’ve ever taken a psych class here at Amherst, you’ve heard of the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The example often given is the student-teacher relationship and how it effects students’ experiences in the classroom. Essentially, the study proved that the way a teacher thinks about a student (whether that be along class, race, or gender lines), effects the way the teacher treats that student. The way a teacher treats a student then influences the student’s future behavior and will evoke an outcome not far from the teacher’s expectations. If a teacher thinks a student is dumb, they are likely to treat that student differently— expecting less of them, giving them less attention, etc. That student’s grades will then reflect a certain amount of stupidity…
It is a small step, even for we sub-par psych students, that this can be applied in social situations.
More often than not, being aware that people have dismissed you as little bit “off” rather than reveling in it can make interacting in social situations even more stressful, further evoking strange behavior. There is a merit to weird if you are open minded enough to hear a different perspective. Someone doesn’t have to be your type of person to respect them, to treat them nicely, to accept their differences.
So my solution? Embrace the weird. Allow yourself to find the humor in other people’s harmless crazies. Being crazy doesn’t make you a bad person, so do not dismiss weirdos as such.