Weird & Interesting

I have been weird my whole life, but in an Addams Family/Munsters way, where I go about my life feeling rather ordinary and doing the ordinary things I do, only to have people feel the need to repeatedly tell me that I’m weird.  I’m never sure what, exactly, they think is so weird about me, but there it is.

Plimco has been “interesting” lately.

“You’re just so INTERESTING, Celia. Wow, you really are INTERESTING, aren’t you? MY my, what an INTERESTING person you are.” And they say it like it’s a compliment or something. No shit. I’m interesting. I know I’m interesting, I don’t need you to tell me that.

“Interesting,” to me, sounds very similar to “weird.” I guess it’s supposed to be complimentary, but, when it’s the default of how you are–just that way–it doesn’t really feel so much like a good thing to be called.

6 thoughts on “Weird & Interesting

  1. I run into that a lot. In my own mind I’m just ordinary. I know that people who make the life choices I do are few, and women who make those choices are fewer than men who do. But I’m convinced this is due to lack of opportunity, not lack of talent or intelligence.

    So when I look around and don’t see anyone like me, it just reminds me of the confluence of opportunity that has been available for me, and I feel humbled that out of billions, I should be so fortunate.

    Periodically though, I run smack into seeing myself reflected in the eyes of others who see in me a fairy-tale made real, something about as probable as a unicorn showing up in your living room to take tea with you. It throws me for a loop every time. I know they’re right — the odds are they will never see another with the combined package that I bring to the table in their lifetime — but it’s still a bit jarring since I go through my days thinking I’m ordinary. And because I sincerely believe the only reason I’m not is because of damaging systems of privilege.

  2. Reading this post I couldn’t help but think of this refrain from A Chorus Line

    Mother always said I’d be very attractive
    When I grew up, when I grew up
    “Different,” she said,
    “With a special something
    And a very, very personal flair.”
    And though I was eight or nine,
    Though I was eight or nine,
    Though I was eight or nine,
    I hated her.
    Now, “different” is nice, but it sure isn’t pretty.
    Pretty is what it’s about.
    I never met anyone who was “different”
    Who couldn’t figure that out.
    So beautiful I’d never lived to see.
    But it was clear, if not to her,
    Well then to me!

  3. My most favorite uncle, and I had 11 of them, is one of those people everyone calls weird. His common response is to say, with a slightly resentful tone, “I resemble that remark.” The joke surely reinforces the description while making it clear that he refuses to accept any negative judgment intended or implied. That’s part of why he’s my favorite.

  4. my Texas relatives used to call things “interesting” when they meant nearly the opposite – it was something so weird they never wanted to talk about it again.

    but now, a particular crew of (fellow) academics call me “interesting” because I have a life outside of academia- or rather I see academia as part of a larger life.. this usually feels less hostile (although not always), but is still tiring.

  5. (I just found your blog through Adventures in Ethics and Science, and just subscribed — lots of good stuff!)

    I, too, am both ‘weird’ and ‘interesting’ while just going about my ordinary life. And people ask the stupidest questions — “What was it like growing up with _____?” (Blank could be: 5 older brothers, on a farm, with a disabled parent, as the girl getting the highest math scores in school (sucks socially, btw), etc.) Um, I don’t know, it’s all I know. What was it like for YOU, growing up with the assumption that it’s normal to ____? (have a huge Sweet 16 party, get a new car, go on a family vacation every year, think that food comes from the grocery store, etc.) To be clear, I don’t think it’s at all wrong to want to know more about other people’s backgrounds, and people with different backgrounds (and current interests) are fascinating. It’s just the way they frame the questions — I have to understand their dominant experience and then figure out how mine differs from that and then try to explain that difference to them. Sound familiar? We follow the same social patterns, with the dominant, unmarked culture feeling privileged to assume that the minority, marked culture has to explain itself to the dominant one.

    Our personal “normals” are exactly that, personal. It’s just that some of us are more interesting than the majority of the population, usually because we don’t care so much what the general population thinks of the things that we enjoy — we’re just living our lives. (I’m half-joking, there, but only half.)

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