It has come to my attention that the word “quirky” is no longer quirky, and that an embarrassing culture dangerously close to the HUMBLEBRAG has popped up around this word. Though I haven’t use the word “quirky” in my title, “oddball” is close enough and I’m cringing at the possible judgement that I may have inadvertently incited…
It is with slight embarrassment/annoyance that I feel the need to defend myself and explain that I am definitely NOT coming from a place of “I’m so edgy” syndrome. I indeed have experienced more lack of acceptance than acceptance – and this is NOT something that is edgy, fun, cute, or bears any resemblance to Zoey Deschanel.
I didn’t even know the word quirky was anything that would be used any more than the word “quintessential” in everyday dialogues. (I love the word “quintessential”). Quirky wasn’t a part of my lexicon, and I didn’t know it was a THING. All I knew was that some prominent things about me – such as my introversion, my love of Rush, my passion for drumming, my hatred for a lot of pop music (sorry), a dry sense of humor, and my deviating from most female stereotypes – have made it especially hard for me to fit in in most situations.
This is not something to post cute online cartoons about indicating how “edgy” and therefore “superior” you are – THIS IS PURE MISERY.
Indeed the cartoon-posting (sorry, “meme”-posting) “I’m so different” people are mostly teenagers or young 20-somethings grappling with their identities. As a Generation X person, I’m involved in neither the use of memes nor grappling with my identity (which was figured out a long time ago). But their use and tainting of the “oddball” concept may serve to get my blog thrown in the delusional bin by title alone – which I’m more than aggravated about.
So, let me further explain…….
Not too long ago, a couple of guys that I dated called me quirky. I was very surprised at this – taken aback. Like a beloved pet trying to make sense of a new sound – head cocked to one side and intently alert – I processed this new label. Then, like a kid with wide eyes on Christmas morning, a new realization set in…. I lifted my head and the clouds parted above me, the heavens sang, the sun reached down in radiant beams of warmth, birds danced, and a springtime breeze swirled. In other words, I GOT IT.
I wasn’t just an outsider – I was “quirky”!!! I had a label! I had a label and a reason!! I fit somewhere – among the quirky people!! I didn’t actually know any quirky people, but that was OK!!! It didn’t matter, I was validated.
From that day forward, I began internalizing the label. It made sense. Self acceptance and forgiveness flowed like a fountain – and I knew that regardless of the fact that I will never fit in effortlessly in most situations, I no longer felt the shame of it. Like dominos finally falling into the cohesive pattern of a beautiful flower, I could finally stop obsessing over every jagged piece. A bit late in the game, but better late than never.
When I decided to “transition” to becoming a writer, Left of Center was born. I secretly hoped to find kindred souls out there that might actually embrace my narratives, instead of reacting with bemused diplomacy. Whether it’s enjoying snappy (instead of sappy) humor, bonding over the shared trauma of being introverts, empathizing with loving something that the main-stream doesn’t get (in my case, my love of Rush and passion for drumming) or shuddering at the stereotype that someone just slapped on you, I am hoping that my posts might be either relatable or slightly amusing, but NEVER pretentious.
Can we turn “quirky” around to actually mean, “one who often struggles to fit in due to having traits and interests that deviate from the majority of the population” ??? Probably not….
I will end this with a public plea – If you are quirky, please do us all a favor and don’t HUMBLEBRAG about it!!!
Humblebraggers, I’m coming for you!!!
6 thoughts on “Oh No, It’s a Quirky Girl…”
Hey Gia Lynn,
Here are some additional terms besides quirky to consider, which I’ve heard from others in reference to this particular humanoid form I somehow seem to have been assigned and associated with, going all the way back into the foggy mists of memory: loner, free spirit, rebel, maverick, heretic. To which one could also add: misfit, screwball, nonconformist. Been a mish-mash of all that my whole life.
Got a good start on it, too, from my dad, who was a social nonconformist himself. Far from being embarrassed about him as a kid, I actually thought the oddball things he did, or that we did together in happy, shared weirdness were kinda cool:
Scuba-diving or duck-walking for golf balls in mucky golf-course lake bottoms, sometimes late into the evening after course play had concluded, with a slice of moon overhead, the smell of the mud, murky water, and a cool breeze wafting over us, the golf balls to be later sold back to the pro shops.
Playing 36 holes of golf with him in 100-degree heat on abandoned courses, happy as a lark on scorching afternoons that nobody else would brave, with the whole place to ourselves.
Going on bike rides for scores of miles on mostly untraveled backroads by ourselves, back decades ago when it was goofy and few others did so.
Watching track meets — one of this country’s more unpopular sports — even in horrible weather in ponchos with rains coming down, because we were getting to observe some of the best if most underappreciated athletes in the nation in full flight.
And so there was never any “weirdo” thing for me to overcome. Instead, “Pity all the sheep out there following everybody else” was my credo, pretty much from day one.
No need to brag, or humblebrag, or even concern oneself about it. Just an inner confidence carried within, perfectly comfortable in one’s own skin. With an attitude, at least for myself (dad was more charitable than me) of, “Thank gawd I’m not one of the herd.” And knowing what that actually meant: The freedom to be who one really is begins inside. Really grateful to have been given that gift from the beginning. You seem to have it too — count your lucky stars!
Hello Hermit Spirit!!! Thank you for this mini-blog-post-always-amazingly-written comment – I was blown away by your words again – you need to post this comment on your blog as an actual piece – and I’m sure you could expound on it even more 🙂 I was thoroughly entertained. And yes I’m back and intend to post regularly. It’s nice to connect and I so appreciate your responding to this post!!!
Thanks for the compliment, and good to hear you’re aiming to post more regularly — I’ll look forward to it. Not always easy to make blog posts with the complexities of living and working these days chopping into one’s time. A certain amount of “space” in life is needed to stretch out and enjoy the process. I’d like to be posting more regularly on my own blog, but have been busier than I’d prefer — even as someone who’s less busy than most people, probably. Anyway, interested to see what you may have up your sleeve!
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Hi Ward, thankyou so much! I’ve been trying to comment on one of your posts – and my comment will not post!! I don’t understand this. I was commenting on A Mouse in My Pocket……
Gosh, Gia Lynn, my apologies about the posting issue you’re running into. I will contact you by email so we can put our heads together and figure out why your comment isn’t getting through.
Great, thank you again!!