A year ago, I was obsessed with calling myself as “weird” or the odd one out. I’ve written articles about being the weird friend, loud, and everything. For some reason I labeled myself as weird and “owned” it. Secretly, I dreaded calling myself as weird and hated that I did it.
Growing up, I was always the odd one out. I never followed the status quo and I owned it. I never aspired to be like the cool kids. Instead, I aspired to be me. In elementary school, I would wear boy clothes every day. Not because I wanted to be a boy, but because I liked them better than girl clothes. I liked the colors and characters better. As a kid, I hated Princess movies and loved superhero movies. I remember loving Spider-man because who doesn’t want to be a superhero and save the world? I loved playing sports outside with my family, and looking at rocks and bugs. I loved Toy Story, and Woody was my favorite character because he was a leader. Who doesn’t want to be a leader growing up? I loved Woody so much that I would play with a Woody doll every day. Instead of dressing up, playing with Barbies, and doing make-up I played with a Woody Doll. It was my creative outlet. As a girl, none of these things were in the norm. I was okay with being myself, but a lot of kids didn’t like that I did my own thing. Therefore, I was an outcast. As an outcast, you’re ostracized, and not many people want to be your friend.
The label of being an outcast never quite left me. When you’re labeled as an outcast, the word “weird” is used to describe you. Instead of denying that I was weird, I embraced it. If you can’t beat them, join them. I was still ostracized and I didn’t have many friends so my creative outlet with Woody became my stress outlet. Yeah, I played with a Woody Doll up until college. I was able to create this world with a Woody Doll and I would run around my room making incoherent noises, but be telling a full story in my brain.
During my senior year of high school, I began to care about what people thought of me, so being labeled as weird started to bother me. I started to want to wear clothes that everyone else was wearing, and I began to take an interest in the trends.
I grew out of playing with Woody. I went off to college. I started to make solid friendships. I grew into a different person. Even though, I became someone who was almost completely different than how I was in high school, I still used the word “weird” as the first word to describe myself. However, I didn’t feel that I was “weird” anymore. I thought of myself as other words. Independent is one, resilient was another, weird didn’t truly feel like it belonged on this list anymore.
I changed as a person. However, I felt that I had to keep up an inaccurate label that was placed on me by a couple of kids in elementary school over 10 years ago.
Over this past year, I’ve learned that I don’t need to live up to that label, if I don’t want to, labels are superficial and don’t mean anything, and that I should accept myself for who I really am. I ONCE was the girl who played with a Woody Doll, dressed in boy clothes, but I am NOT that way anymore. Over the course of this past year, I’ve taken the time to gain sight of who I am now and have learned to accept that. Even if it doesn’t fit a label that I’ve “always” had.
We live in a society where labels carry a lot of weight. If you’re meeting someone and you know of their label, it can influence your first impression of them. It can affect whether you think highly or poorly of the person without getting to know them beyond the surface. People change and grow all of the time. I know that I am not the same person I was when I started this blog, yet alone a year ago. Labels don’t show who someone really is because there is so much more to a person than just one label. They’re not accurate and they can be degrading to the person who has a label that isn’t ideal. The word weird has a negative connotation around it, and it was hard having that be my label. It gave me a lot of negative feelings, and I am no longer going to associate any label with myself other than my own name.
I am Kathryn “Katie” DeBois, and I am hereby officially removing the label “weird” from me.