After being evaluated by Dr. David Weeks, author of “Eccentrics: A Study of Sanity and Strangeness”, it was discovered that I was certainly a non-conformist, with strong views. This diagnosis was no surprise to me. However, at the time, I did not realize that such characteristics along with ten others would label me as an eccentric.
I always knew that I was different from my peers since I was young, but I never let it bother me. My family and close friends accepted me for who I was and sometimes referred to me as “weird,” but in a nice way. I did not seem to conform to what others my age were doing, but was never a loner. In many ways, I was a leader who took risks and started trends.
Throughout life I have always wondered why, women in particular, need to check out just about everything they do with other woman. You find women continually asking:
- What are you wearing to this or that event?
- What are you going to bring to the party?
- What time are you going to arrive? Who are you going with?
- Who is going to be at the event? Will I know anyone there?
- What are you going to order for dinner?
- What should I say?
In my mind these are all very simple questions, and I would never even think of deferring to anyone else to find the answers. Today you can wear literally anything to any event. Why would you have to check about a dress code and, furthermore, who cares?
When you bring something to a party it should be from your creative mind, not from suggestions given to you by others. Who are you going with, infers that you are not confident to go alone, and when are you going to arrive is ridiculous, at least in my mind. You get to an event on the given time. That is why a time was established. You do not need to come late and make a grand entrance.
Menus were developed so that people can have choices. Trust yourself to choose a meal that everyone else is not having. Your choice of a somewhat different meal may help others to be more adventuresome in their choices.
As a teacher I use the children’s books, A Bad Case of Stripes and Ms. Wishy Washy. The two woman in these books want to play it safe and make certain that they fit nicely into a group. The always ask others for their opinions and then follow the lead of those who answer their questions. Even today, many women feel that they will be more popular if they are more like everyone else and don’t really stand out in a crowd.
After a while the homogenized women become so unrecognizable people don’t even know who they are. Often these woman who can’t take a lead, do not know who they are either as they are a composite of so many people and all their suggestions.
If you are a woman, or a man, who has to ask others all types of questions before an event, stop and think. Can’t I really make these decisions all on my own so that I can become my own person? Listen to your internal core. We all have one. Maybe you just need to turn up the volume.
As an eccentric, it never ever occurred to me that I would need to turn to others to make decisions that might effect my popularity. First of all, popularity was never a goal of mine. Secondly, I have always followed my own instincts, made lots of mistakes, did not play it safe, and learned so much about myself and living a full, productive life.
So to avoid being Ms. Wishy Washy or the girl in a Bad Case of Stripes, be more like an eccentric. TRUST YOURSELF, make your own decisions, give yourself the freedom to fail, and be your own true self.
Acknowledging failures and mistakes and correcting them, takes you to a higher level. These levels eventually lead to increased self confidence and self actualization, the place where you really begin to experience contentment and happiness. It is on this level where you find the most eccentrics as they continually use their own wits and talents and do not put themselves in the middle or at the end of the flock.