Our neighbors think we’re strange … and we are
|April 14, 2012||Posted by eryn under Family Life, Kids|
“My mom says you’re strange,” our 4-year-old neighbor proclaimed this morning as he was playing in our living room with our son.
I was startled. I didn’t know what to say. She thinks we’re strange. Suddenly, I’m self-conscious.
“My mom says you’re strange,” he says again. Still, I don’t respond to him. I don’t know what to say.
Then he asks, “You are different, aren’t you?” And I realize, yes, we are. We are different. And I tell him so.
My conversation with this 4-year-old made me realize two things:
- Do not say things in front of little kids that you don’t want repeated.
- We are strange.
And finally, as I’m approaching 35 years old, I can accept — and even embrace — my strangeness. After all, isn’t the whole point of so many of the things we do to not be like everyone else, like the mainstream culture that pervades us? We eat whole foods, not fast food. We drink water, not juice, alcohol or Coke. Our downtime with our son is reading to him, not plopping him in front of the TV or popping a Disney movie into the DVD player. We budget our money to live within our means, rather than relying on credit to buy things we can’t afford. We’re saving for our retirement and our son’s college education, rather than relying on the government to take care of us in our old age or planning to take out college loans. We opt for wooden toys, rather than noisy, plastic ones. We live in a small town, not a tract home in the suburbs. To most people, we are probably really strange.
For most of my life, I have felt like an outsider. I was relentlessly teased all through school. In college and graduate school, I didn’t fit in. And when I started working, I didn’t fit in there, either. For most of my childhood and early adult years, the fact that I was so strange (albeit for completely different reasons than my current “strangeness”) caused me a lot of pain, suffering and sadness. I desperately wanted to be “normal,” whatever that was.
But I realized today I actually kind of like being different. Sure, it’s still hard for me to fit in (I am always the oddball in any group of moms). But I like our weird little life. We chose to live this way and although life is far from perfect, all in all we have it pretty good. I like who we are and I’m excited about our future. We are strange, and that is OK by me.
Are you strange, too?