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Thursday, 14 June 2018

How To Be A Weirdo

Hannah Barnes
I've been rediscovering my wild side lately. Or rather, my weird side. For years social anxiety dampened this part of my personality. It's difficult to act on your own spontaneous whims, when even conservative behavior sets your mind whirring between the various judgments people around you could make.

Thing is though, people rarely give a stuff what you're up to. If they do, it probably says more about them than you, and even if it takes every ounce of your inner strength to just do you, whenever and wherever you are, it's a truly fulfilling way to live.

So, I've been working on loving my quirks and reclaiming my weirdness. When I was younger being a weirdo was a desirable trait. My friends and I created a Kit Kat Appreciation Society, we bought a pack of Top Trumps Mullets and paraded them wherever we went. We worshiped Kevin Bacon in an ironic, yet deadly serious, way. We carted a tiny penguin around to more clubs than I can count, introducing him to unsuspecting strangers and chanting 'smile and wave boys, smile and wave' before sidling off, if they refused to converse with him.

We had so much fun! And not once did we stop and wonder about what the rest of the world thought of us. My fears surrounding going my own way, cultivated by social anxiety, may have been unfounded, maybe not - I'll never know - but if there's one thing I've learned since coming out the other side, is that if flying your freak flag for long enough, you'll soon stop caring.

Here are just a few ways, in which, I let my own freak flag fly high...

1) Music wise, I listen solely to Taylor Swift albums. It's been commented on many times by passengers in my car, but trust me...there's a Taylor Swift era for every mood. Plus, it saves plenty of time when choosing what to blast through the speakers whilst getting from A to B. Originally, I'd have called Swift's music my guilty pleasure, but by this point I'll happily refer to her as my soul mate. Creepy as that may sound.

2) When not caterwauling along to Tay-Tay, you'll find me listening to a rather niche range of Audio books. I like to learn...but I'm not picky. Right now I'm listening to The Knowledge, which seeks to compile all human knowledge needed to reboot society after an apocalypse. I just wish the narrator would stop shouting about said apocalypse, whenever I'm stopped at traffic lights. Previous titles include A Time Travelers Guide to Medieval England and Why We Sleep.

3) Lasagna is a dish best served cold...and preferably for breakfast. That's all I have to say about that.

4) I greet every animal I see. Be it your pet dog, the bird flapping hysterically to get out of my way on the road, or an unusual bug I've spotted. It's nice to be nice, after all and judging by the spider that's built itself a hammock on my living room ceiling, it also makes for some unusual house guest. Which I'm a-okay with. Seriously spidey, you do you!

So, cultivate your quirks. Learn to love them and be proud of them. Flick the V's to the haters and the self appointed judges and just enjoy being you. You're the only one who can, after all and you might just enjoy yourself. We're all weird here.

Hannah Barnes / Author & Editor

I keep myself busy with my small business; The Loft Gifts, the period poverty charity I run; The Crimson Wave, writing here and for vaious platforms and a growing menagerie of household pets.


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