Writing

On Being Weird

I watched Imitation Game with a girlfriend, and it made me think a lot about the progress of people who are different. But not just different: weird. I was always a little weird growing up. I read a lot, I listened to classical music, I despised boys. Anyone my age, really. Why? Because I couldn’t relate to them. I couldn’t talk to them. It was an unfortunate circumstance for me because, as an only child, I didn’t really have anyone else to turn to. Quite frankly, by the time I was in later elementary and early high school I was almost convinced that I had some low-grade sort of autism. To this day I wonder if my inability to be around people is based upon a hyper intelligence (I was tested for IQ at 15), mental illness (BPD or otherwise) or simply a lack of exposure to people with whom I could relate.
I dislike making statements like that, because first off, I don’t want to offend someone by implying that mental illness is something to be, I dunno, ashamed of. Because I’m not. Secondly, saying that I don’t relate to people because I’m smarter than them – whether true or not – is a very arrogant thing to say and I hate to make others think I’m prudish or conceited. I’m not. Honestly I find myself insufferable at times, so I’m really not trying to brag here.
This is the problem in and of itself, really: the things that go on in my head sometimes don’t translate well when I try to say them, and films like Imitation Game that exhibit a person who is not particularly skilled with people but has other valuable qualities really make me feel like less of a freak of nature. I spend so much energy trying to be normal it prevents me from expressing myself the way I want to. Then a film like this comes along and it reminds me that just because I stutter sometimes and just because I don’t really read people so well and just because my thoughts get away from me when speaking doesn’t mean I’m utterly useless.
I’m not sure why this film in particular spoke to me as much as it did. I’ve seen other films with socially inept leads. It helped, perhaps, that there was a female awkward person, also, but she wasn’t awkward at all compared to Cumberbatch’s stuttering, antisocial protegé. I like to think it wasn’t just because I admire him as an actor, but you never know. It might also be that I identify with the awkward, antisocial genius a little more than I like to admit, but I already discussed that.
What I could also be is that he’s just another in a collection of awkward characters in media who are making “weird” the new “cool”. The acceptance movements, from sexuality to race to gender, are moving also in the way of just general acceptance of everyone, and that is very exciting to me. I’m very chatty with my friends, but when I meet strangers I find it difficult to communicate due to a lack of understanding of people. I can be myself around my friends because I’ve spend long periods of time getting to know them and their particular nuances. Around anyone else, however, I get really awkward. Lucky for me, this is often endearing because I’m so kind of adorable, but even so, getting weird looks suck regardless of whether or not the other person thinks you’re cute.
This weird acceptance thing brings me back to something I’ve discussed on and off again pretty consistently: that we should all just bloody well get along. Hopefully, films like this that exhibit weirdness as just another personality and show that weird people are people too will help weirdos like me not to feel quite so weird anymore.

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