Some of my friends describe me as weird, and this is something that I fought for a while before I realized I actually am. Plain and simple. I am weird. But in all fairness, it takes one to know one, so if you think I’m weird and you’re my friend, you know you are too. Everyone is weird in their own way. The only person who understands everything about you is the One who created you, so to everyone else there will always be something weird about you.
So, yes, I am weird. But where did this weirdness begin? To shed light on this, I must go down memory lane..
Growing up, I lived in a house that I not only shared with my parents, but with my extended family as well. I vaguely remember the day my first cousins came to live with us. I didn’t understand much of what was happening but I embraced their presence and it got to the point where I didn’t remember life before them. However, my nature is one of keeping to myself. We would play together and hang out together but my best moments were when I was alone. I would play alone, read, talk to myself, teach my dolls, I had a small blackboard I would write on, and people thought I was pretty strange for doing these things. I think it all depends on one’s perspective.
One of my cousins even forced me to go outside and play with the kids in the estate. For a while I did and it was okay but it went south and I retreated back to my withdrawn state. The next time I was out interacting with people from my hood was when I got to high school. I blame it on one issue that I had, but had no idea that I did. I was scared to admit it because I didn’t know why it happened to me. I got ridiculed and laughed at by my so-called friends back then and I went back to my life of solitude. I was content with that. I had friends in school but at home, I was basically a loner.
This was when I met my first love, not my true love, but a love that got me through the strangest stage of my life. ROCK. I must have been in class 5 or 6 (I wasn’t a teen yet). Now, I come from a family that loves music and so I was exposed to a lot of music genres including soul, rhumba and even Lingala. But rock, I discovered it on my own. I have capital FM to thank for that. It was God sent. That was all I listened to for as long as I could. Those days the only time I could listen to rock was on Saturdays, Rick Dees was my favorite show. It was the era of no mobile phones, no internet, let alone iPods or iPads.
Never had I encountered music that spoke not only to my heart but my soul. It was as if it was created specifically for me. It was the kind of music that was deep and took me to my own world. It communicated just what I felt and because I felt that no one quite understood me, it was a perfect fit. And as always, no one understood the music. It still remains my favorite genre. It made me happy, hyper, it made me cry, it made me feel like I belonged, and it made me feel unique.
I remember in high school as I was making friends we discussed the kind of music people listen to and when I said rock, I got weird reactions. To them it was uncool, weird, and to some people it was demonic. I strongly dismissed this last one because they didn’t even know there were different types of rock music. To make matters worse where I lived, a place considered to be more or less a ghetto, the fact that I listened to rock, was even more peculiar. But they didn’t get it like I did. I thought to myself. I could leave it at that. Let people think that I was a weird chic who lived in the ghetto and listened to white people’s music when I was expected to listen to reggae, hip-hop and R&B. I love reggae. But the other two, I simply don’t get what the fuss is about. Hip-hop, well, the content is just not my cup of tea. I’m sure Hip-hop fans will have something to say about that (write about it why don’t you), but honestly even when it comes to good clean Christian rap, it’s not my cup of tea. Back to my first love..
I proceeded to share tapes and CDs of rock music with my friends in school and before you know it, I made fans out of them. In those days, Linkin Park was big and Meteora had hit the shelves and it was an awesome album. They became fans, my family became fans and soon almost everyone around me had embraced my choice of music. Well, except those in my hood who thought it was too ‘Barbie’. Whatever! I smile when I think of the days I discovered the likes of Alanis Morissette, 3 doors down, Blink 182, Sum 41, Googoo dolls (big sigh!), Avril Lavigne, Simpleplan, Matchbox 20 (another big sigh!). These other rock stars that are big names now, came much much later. Anyway, let me focus before I start looking for those songs. aaah nostalgia.
I think that was one moment I realized just how much influence I could have. Little ol’ me, the short, weird, naïve girl who lived with her extended family. I had influence. It felt really good. Yes, a teenage girl who doesn’t have much going for her can still be influential. And that was just with music. I later came to see that I can influence people to do many things even mischief.
We often underestimate ourselves because of our background, race, gender, social status, looks, our nature, work experience and the list goes on and on and on. But one important thing I learned from my first love, rock, is that I can do greater things than I give myself credit for. I also learned that being weird/ unique/ strange/ odd/peculiar, is not necessarily a bad thing. It could be the one thing that sets you apart from everyone else, the one quality that makes you a favored candidate in any situation you find yourself in, the thing that makes the guy/girl of your dreams choose you over everyone else, the thing that makes God use you and no one else. So, embrace your weirdness.
Funny how things change with time. Listening to rock is no longer a weird thing, it’s now normal. Right? RIGHT?