The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. Friedrich Nietzsche
You are weird! Has anyone ever said that to you? Did it feel like a complement or a put down?
I started thinking about the word and decided to look it up and see what the origin was. Here is what I found: Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon culture roughly corresponding to fate or personal destiny. The word is ancestral to Modern English weird, which retains its original meaning only dialectically. Old English wyrd is a verbal noun formed from the verb weorþan, meaning “to come to pass, to become”.
Wow, really? That is a long way from the meaning it has now, which is something strange, odd and sometimes unacceptable. The modern adjectival sense, meaning strange or uncanny, dates only to the early nineteenth century. The modern sense of weird developed from M.E. use of weird sisters for the three fates or Norns (in Germanic mythology), the goddesses who controlled human destiny. They were usually portrayed as odd or frightening in appearance, as in “Macbeth,” which led to the adj. meaning “odd-looking, uncanny,” first recorded 1815. I love the original meaning of weird/wyrd because it speaks to authenticity, being real and living our destiny. That meaning is about our true beauty which is what I strive to embody.
weorþan is a word that reminds me I want to be authentic and real. It reminds me that I want to drop the “Minnesota Nice” and speak what is on my mind. It reminds me to flow with what I am becoming and flow with my destiny. I am going to write the word weorþan in fancy letters and place it around my house to remind me.
I wonder how originality and authenticity became weird and conformity became the norm? It’s easier! Or so we think. We are socialized to conform and change our beliefs and behaviors to fit in with a group. It starts at a very early age. This change is a response to real or imagined group pressure, on the playground by our peers and later through the media. Media advertizing works because our brains are programmed to conform at an unconscious level through years of training as children. We all want to be accepted and fit in and it takes courage to do something different and stand out in the crowd. Conformity is rewarded in a lot of different ways and being unique and authentic sadly isn’t. If conformity wasn’t rewarded and authenticity was there wouldn’t be an issue.
It is a challenge to become Weird Weorþan Warriors yet unraveling the social programing to conform is possible. It is never too late to become your authentic beautiful self and it takes a whole lot less energy than pretending to be something you’re not.
Here are some experiments to try that will help you break free of fitting in and move your toward authentic freedom:
1-Watch how much you censor yourself because you want to be accepted and stop doing it.
2-Wear stripes and plaids at the same time or some other “unacceptable” combination.
3-Spend one day a week being weird.
4-Do the opposite behavior of what you would normally do and see how it feels.
5-Focus on what makes you unique and accentuate it.
I also suggest paying attention to your resistance to doing these things and see where it comes from. It is likely to lead to an unconscious belief that isn’t serving you.
I think weird is beautiful! What do you think?