Singularly Bizarre: A revelation and a manifesto
The title is an odd one for a blog, I’ll readily admit. In truth, it wasn’t really my first choice and when I considered it at first I thought it no better than a fallback.
I was wrong. In fact, thinking more on the subject, it is deceptively perfect.
On the most basic level, it is drolly apt. By accident of birth, I was born into an orientation only shared by 1% of the population, that of lacking a sexual orientation. By another accident of birth, my brain’s concept of my body was in dissonance to my form, a flaw it will take years of hormones and potentially surgery to correct. By these accidents and the further accident of being raised by loving, supportive parents, I managed to avoid much of the social programming about “proper” behavior. I was for my adolescence an atypical boy, which has given me remarkable freedom in charting my course as an atypical girl.
Indeed my life has felt punctuated by weirdness on every level. When I was in 7th grade, I developed multiple personalities and while everyone else was dealing with hormones, I battled for just some sense of harmonious group consciousness. When I was in high school, I spent my free time writing an epic play and other works, skipping lunch sometimes just to write. In college, I developed out of my gender dissonance, a sudden and all+powerful obsession with radical lesbian culture.
Even in the freak groups, I was often an outlier. Back in high school, I even had a name for it: utis.
Utis was based on the mangled greek utopia, which famously means no place or nowhere. Utis very similarly means no person or no one. It was started as a joke based on how many essays or teacher’s lessons or other sort of universal statements would assume traits I had as those held by no person. Whenever a sentence would start with ” No one”, it would often describe me and when it claimed to describe everyone, I was nowhere to be found. I was the outlier that proved the assumptions false again and again.
Though, that word wasn’t only my joking descriptor for myself, a source of great merriment for me and my friends, it was also my badge of pride. Long before I ever heard of reclamation (the process by which a minority group reclaims a slur by appropriating it and giving it positive connotations again), I was practicing it.
And why not?
Why should we so let freak and the host of slurs always yelled at the non-conformist define us? More to the point, why should we let others define us at all, constrain our possibility, or make us feel alienated? Why should we defer to their opinions on normal, on universal, when we have all at some point or another held in our own selves the raw proof of their inaccuracy?
Again, more to the point, why should we try and correct ourselves rather than someone else’s false opinion.
Being a freak, singularly bizarre in any subculture, filled with minorities of chance and circumstance, was a mark of freedom. Every attempt as constraint was transparently inaccurate, laughably inapplicable. Being a freak allowed me to explore who I was even as who I was turned out supposedly stranger than anyone else.
More amazingly, when I conversed with my friends, those who stayed with me, I found my strangeness bringing out more and more of their true selves as well. Mental battles, honest sexualities, earnest examinations of past traumas, even looking into what relationship structure truly fit what they needed.
Was I infectious? Or did people just never consider who they might truly be over the common patterns that it was so easy to fall into? Did people need a freak to realize the large world of possibility available to the human animal? Did people need an outlier to further examine what exactly the baseline really looks like?
The answer to all of these is yes, but not because of any quality of the freak.
Rather, it is because it takes a freak to reveal a deceptively simple truth: that there is no normal, few if any universal traits to define all human experience and possibility. We are almost all to different shades and with different levels of obviousness or inability to hide, singularly bizarre. We are each one point of a spectrum charting the vast heterogeneity of humanity.
We are all a little weird.
And it’s a good thing.