Episode 100: For the "Weird"

There’s a whole category of people who miss out by not allowing themselves to be weird enough.
— Alain de Botton
I think what people call “weird” comes part and parcel with people who are brilliant in some way. So embrace your weird. Embrace your eccentricity.
— Eileen Anglin
There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.
— C. Joybell C.

For our hundredth episode, I wanted to cover something I felt both universally significant and intimately connected to my personal experience. For as long as I can remember expressing myself and any multitude of thoughts and feelings I've had, others have labelled me as "weird". The term has always truck me as intentionally disparaging, a means by which we keep the herd homogeneous and deter social outliers. But what if our (rather common) use of the term stems from a place of fear of difference? This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Houda El Joundi about the word and its implications. How might those who cast judgment on others for being "weird" actually close doors and prohibit open-mindedness in themselves? How might the term promote a cycle of misunderstanding and a failure to empathize? Although I suspect many may not find the term nearly as hostile or polarizing, I hope all of our listeners will reflect on the profound power such a brief and ubiquitous word can have. - Kip