Weird, or the Benefits of Continuing on With a Book You’re Not Sure About

So many—perhaps too many—feelings about the word weird. 

I spelled it wrong for a long time.

I vacillate (or vacillated) between being shamed by it and viewing it as a badge of honor.

I spent some time acknowledging that it is a useful word, and frightening, because truly some people, things, occurrences ostentatiously don't fit into our expected experience, and there is a deep fear with leaving that behind.

I want to accept all weird things, in part because I know myself to be at least somewhat weird (though I believe I generally pass as not weird, but I could be wrong about this).

But sometimes the weird scares me. And I retreat from it.

So I read a book for my book group, one I highly doubt I would have picked up had I not been in a book group.

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When I first started reading it, it made me mad. Defensive, somehow, as though I was being accused of not being smart enough, or hard working enough, or ambitious enough (in the large intellectual sense). I wanted to put it down, and I would have put it down had I not been reading it for book group.

But I didn't, and things began to change. It hit me, perhaps one third of the way through, that she was weird. I mean, really weird. Weird enough to connect to a guy in the book who is completely and totally weird, and they were weird together. Weirder—at least as far as I can tell—than I am.

And I wonder: is that part of it? Like, weird is OK if you're as weird as I am and no weirder? Except, isn't that pretty much running from weirdness? Because if everyone thought that, no one would really be OK with weirdness at all.

I'm not being as clear as I mean to be, in part because I'm still grappling with the ideas in the book, which are wide reaching and interesting and surprising. The book made me think anew in all sorts of good ways, it reminded me that the world is larger and allows far more than we ever really take or acknowledge.

Maybe it begins with not saying weird? With somehow not typing or labeling behavior at all, merely witnessing it? Is that even possible? What do you think?

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