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What’s weird about being weird

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Peculiar People Day comes around every year on January 10th, but we’re surrounded by peculiar people every day. These are the people we label ‘odd’, ‘strange’ or ‘weird’ but the reasons we insult them for, could be seen instead as the reasons they should be celebrated.

I believe that historically, nothing has ever changed because somebody behaved normally. The world in which we live today is the way it is because somebody dared to be different.

Take, for example, Victor Halperin and his 1932 film, White Zombie. Perhaps you have never heard of the producer Halperin, or the 20th century horror but many credit this work as the first ever zombie movie.

Flash forward to now when the apocalyptic theme is more popular than ever, with comedic tv shows such as Izombie and gruesome movies like Dawn of the Dead. The living dead phenomenon today owes some credit to the catalyst movie by Halperin. Despite the film’s success, Halperin’s creativity was probably seen as a little peculiar by some critics. But without him, we maybe wouldn’t have half the dystopian films we do now.

Image credit: chicagoreader.com

It seems that being unusual, stepping outside the status quo, or thinking outside the box can have great effects. So why do we condemn instead of commemorate those that are ‘peculiar’? Peculiar People Day may just be another random date in the quirky calendar, but it can also be an opportunity to reflect.

At the risk of sounding philosophical, what would society look like if we were all the same? The obvious answer is boring. And it would probably be stagnant too. The peculiar people in history played a part in all aspects of life, from Rosa Parks who challenged what many saw as the norm, to William Dorsey Swann who dared to stand out. Their uniqueness reshaped the political and social world.

Identity and how we are viewed is still a predominant worry for many people in 2021. There are expectations to meet, opinions to satisfy, and insecurities to hide. Peculiar People Day offers us the chance to re-evaluate these concerns, and honour those who refuse to blend in.

So how do we celebrate? Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your confidence to end the stigma won’t just appear on January 10. But there’s plenty of ways you can still participate.

  1. Change up your appearance.

You could dye your hair a crazy colour or experiment with your makeup. Lockdown limits your options when it comes to piercings or tattoos, but you could try out some fake ones from online. Or you could revamp your wardrobe, by upcycling a few items. Worst comes to worst and you don’t like your new look, there’s nobody around to see it.

Image credit: mookychick.co.uk

2. Share your interests

Got a hobby you’re usually too embarrassed to share with friends? You could test it out virtually. Maybe host a zoom event around it, or send them a text recommendation of something they should try. Yes, Peculiar People Day is about those that are unique, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try things out together.

3. Educate yourself on the eccentric

We’ve got a lot of time on our hands in lockdown. You could spend some of this time doing something that feels productive. The internet is the perfect place to read up on the weird and wonderful. Research a new recipe to try, or find a new community on social media. Getting to know others can be the key to getting to know yourself.

There’s no right way to spend this day, because there’s no right way to be peculiar. Most people’s goal isn’t to obtain this label, it’s just something that happens when they begin to accept and express themselves. Honestly, I don’t see what’s so strange about being yourself. I find myself the most comfortable around people that are unapologetically themselves, rather than those that are trying to be something else.

Peculiar People Day isn’t entirely about the people. It’s about our mindset and how we treat each other. Until recently, it was a day I had never even heard of but when I found out about it, I thought it was pretty cool.

The message of this day extends beyond January 10 however, because diversity, respect, and acceptance isn’t a one day matter. Maybe your goal isn’t to be peculiar, but it should be to accept those that are.

Featured image credit: stevenaitchison.co.uk

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