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!!!