Once Upon A Time a painfully shy little girl who was afraid to talk to her classmates (hint: she grew up to be me) stuck her face into a book whenever the opportunity to interact with others came up. She brought a book out to the parking lot that her school managed to convince her was a playground during recess, she pulled out a book after she finished lunch at her desk because despite the fact that her parents paid thousands of dollars in tuition to attend a Catholic school, they could not only not spring for a real playground but also not a cafeteria at all, and when she got home from school she would read outside if it was nice weather and inside if it wasn't, and her three best friends growing up were Anne Shirley, Jo March, and Nancy Drew.
And it was the best fucking thing to ever happen to her.
I don't know if you know this, but reading makes you terribly interesting. People want to talk to you because you actually have an arsenal of opinions formed, and if you can manage to not throw up from the terror of initiating a conversation (responding never bothered me, just starting), you can actually be friends with some people who also adore reading.
Somewhere in the hell of junior high, when I was struggling to connect with others while simultaneously trying to remember to de-fuzz my legs and de-stinkify my underarms, because adolescence isn't hell unless you're hairy and stinky in addition to being awkward, I realized that all that self-imposed isolation and hours of imagined play had made me irrevocably weird.
In high school, (quick shout out to AnthropoloChick and Canadian Baker, who've stuck by my weird little side since those awful days) I slowly realized the dirty little secret of life.
Are you ready?
Here it is...
Everyone is fucking weird.
Everyone is weird about something. Not about the same things, obviously. But scratch the surface of literally anyone in the world, you'll find something they overanalyze, fangirl (fangirl is a unisex term, btw), obsess, and/or squeal over. The Big Bang Theory, the Philadelphia Phillies, the inherent superiority of Apple over Windows, the art of the perfect cupcake, religion, doorknobs, candles, animal husbandry, whatever it is, someone is absolutely nuts over it. And once you embrace your own weirdness, you gain a real appreciation for everyone else's
There's a fine line between assaulting people with your weirdness and being open with it. If you're ringing doorbells to tell someone all about the thing you think is awesome, it's the former. If you compliment someone on that t-shirt, because seriously Boondock Saints is such an awesome movie, you're probably the latter.
When you hit the right balance, you can actually make some truly incredible friends and find your own weird little community (at this point I need to shout out to friends I've made since embracing my own inner weirdness, like Dragon Queen, ArchaeoloChick, IronMac, and his wife, Crafty Lady) and sometimes, you get to attend events in another state while carrying a substantial metal chicken, and total strangers/your new best friends will ask to take your picture, because you're weird, they're weird, and everyone involved is awesome and embracing their weirdness.
The Bloggess is one of those people who learned the secret of life, and what made her insanely awesome beyond the ordinary embracing of her inner weirdo is the fact that she created and fosters a community of people who need to hear the one thing I wished I'd known sooner: You are not alone. It's amazing, because even though she's awesomely weird, some things beyond her control, which are decidedly not awesome, in fact awesome's polar opposite, have disrupted her life, yet she keeps popping up again and reaching out, and refusing to be beaten. That's all I'll say on that, because it's her story to tell and even if it wasn't, she'd tell it better than I can anyway, and if you're interested in learning her story you should buy her book. If you're not interested in learning her story, you and I probably aren't going to be friends. Also, I strongly suspect you are the nun who wanted me to put down the book and play with the other children at recess. Well, Sister Sourpuss, I didn't like your anti-literacy attitude then and I don't have to take it now. And the other children were snots. Who were smoking behind the rectory. So there.
This may be the longest-winded post I've ever made, and some of it may not even make sense. The point is, last night I had the privilege of embracing my metal chicken and realized I was also embracing my inner weirdo. I'd come full circle, because I was there initiating conversations and having the time of my life, using a book to bond with people instead of hide from them. So thanks to Anne, Jo, and Nancy for being my friends and for helping me make new ones. Thanks to Jenny Lawson for giving me a place to bond with others of a like mind. And most of all, thanks to my inner weirdo just for being you.
Come here and give me a hug.