Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Quirky is the New Normal
I just love learning new things, and I so enjoyed reading this article about the first person to receive an autism diagnosis, and how his life is actually rather enviable. Which makes me smile. I thought it was pretty neat that the folks this man hangs out with on a daily basis care about and accept him, quirks and all. It really got me thinking about what makes us like people. Maybe good "social skills" isn't the only thing involved in making friends. Maybe there's a bit of quirkiness that lets others know we're being real, being ourselves. And that inspires friendship.
In middle school one summer, I got really into reading biographies. My grandma liked reading them, too, and so I borrowed several from her collection. I read such hits as the biographies of Vanna White, Katharine Hepburn, & Princess Diana. You might think these could be boring, but I actually really enjoyed them! I loved learning that Katharine Hepburn swam in a cold river each day for exercise even as a little old lady, and that because her father was a urologist, she always recommended that everyone empty their bladder immediately when they visited her house. Those little quirks are so endearing.
I'm currently reading the biography of Flannery O'Conner. Talk about quirky! As a child, she used to spend her free time sewing little outfits for her pet chickens. And as a high schooler in a home ec class, she didn't want to make an outfit for herself, so she made a tiny chicken outfit, and she got an A on the project! I also really love reading that she wasn't a very good student and was a terrible speller in school...yet her calling was to write.
I think there's something about learning the subtleties and quirks of other peoples' lives that makes us feel more connected to the world. On those days when my hair is feeling frizzy and I'm sort of awkward in a conversation with someone, it's comforting to remember that Vanna White once got locked out of her house while she was sunbathing nude (you know, to avoid tan lines), and had to wait for someone to come home and rescue her from her back yard. Sorta makes my awkward moments in conversation or frizzy hair days seem trivial. The thing is, it's those quirky moments that make me enjoy these characters. If their biographies had been all about their perfect lives and amazing accomplishments, I probably wouldn't have made it through the whole books. Their characters wouldn't have been all that interesting to me. Which makes me remember that it's ok for me to make mistakes, too, and to be goofy and strange sometimes. It might even be a little endearing!
So now I'm off to revel in my quirkiness. Or really, just to sleep. But maybe tomorrow I'll revel a bit.
What quirks do you think your friends love about you?