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Get Weird

Get Weird

 
By:  Mission Team April 6, 2021

On my first day of fourth grade, I sat alone on the playground at a new school. That is, I sat alone until another girl approached me and said, “I’m weird.” I looked up to see another girl in the fourth grade who was similar in stature and demeanor. I promptly replied, “So am I!” I’m not sure if I just wanted a friend or if I actually felt like a weirdo, but just like that, two fourth grade girls became best friends.

I was bullied rather frequently that year. I wasn’t much like anyone except that one other girl, so the main term used to bully me was “weird”. I was weird. The way I ran was weird. The way I spoke was weird. My family was weird. My friends were weird. The list went on and on. One day, that friend I had met on the playground said to a bully calling her weird, “Thank you! I am weird.” I realized then that if my bullies saw themselves as normal, then I didn’t want to be normal; I wanted to be weird.

Fast forward to two years after high school. I dedicated a year to a missionary program. I moved across the United States (from Washington State to Central New York) and began living in a community of people from all over the US. About a third of these people were from Michigan and the rest were from Eastern and Southern states with the exception of one guy from Colorado. Long story short, culture shock. Going from my farming hometown to living in a city in Central New York was a bear to say the least.

The first difference I noticed was the network of freeways. Absolute chaos. 690, 81, 80, 11, 485, and more. It felt like one highway led to the next and the next and the next without many “regular roads”. This was a lot compared to a town where there are two four-lane streets and only two highways that run past either side of town.

The next difference was the pollution. Air, light, and sound pollution are all very real in the city. Back home, I lived in the basement of a house in a fairly rural area. There was very little light or sound at night and beautifully fresh air (with the exception of when we have wildfires in the foothills).

I remember going to bed on my first night as a missionary and seeing light filling the room from the nearby street lamps and security lighting for the next building over. I remember the first time riding out to the office smelling sewage, factory-based pollution, and all the exhaust from various cars. That’s not to say that there aren’t obnoxious fools back home with stinky diesels and those without adequate mufflers, but they certainly seemed to appear more frequently once I reached the city.

Finally, I felt like a very different person than those I met for more than a few reasons.

My dialect was very different in several small ways like using the terms “gal” or “latter”/“former” and the way my sentences decrescendo as I reach the ends of sentences. In the words of another missionary, “You speak like you’ve had voice training since you were two.”

My friends back home were mostly members of the LDS church or evangelical, but the new people in my life were part of largely Catholic communities in their respective hometowns. Moreover, my parents are both converts, and I’m the first “Cradle Catholic” in my extended family since my great-great-grandfather Matthias - we aren’t even sure about him as he was an orphan. Most of the other missionaries have cradle catholic parents and some even have uncles or aunts who live as priests or sisters.

Our schooling backgrounds were entirely different - I’m currently the only missionary to have only attended public schools from age 5 to 19 while everyone else has had homeschooling, private schooling, or some combination thereof with maybe some public schooling on the side.

Apparently, the bullies in fourth grade were right. I am weird. I do talk funny according to the people here. I do have a strange family. I do have some friends that are unlike the friends they have. Praise God for all that. The fact that I have a community that knows all of that, recognizes it, sees it in everyday living, and still loves me is wild.

I am so fortunate to have that crew that shows me the Love of God. I could be the most out there and unrecognizable missionary in the crew, but I am still part of that crew. The reason I am is because I am still a beautiful child of God, and they see that past all my “weird”. This also helps me see myself as that daughter of God rather than as a weirdo - no matter how fun that may be.

If you see yourself as weird or have been deemed weird by others, I would encourage you to own it. The least helpful thing I could have done was meld to my surroundings and succumb to society’s expectations for a young woman. I believe the same to be true for anyone, especially as those expectations are becoming less and less true to our identities as beloved children of God the Father.

By embracing and perhaps even proclaiming your weirdness, you could have the power to change another person’s life in an instant. It could even have the power to change the culture of a school, a town, or even the world. Don’t put a limit on what God can do with your unique traits. See how far you can soar!

Photo Credits

https://unsplash.com/photos/-8j5FpnLmQk
https://unsplash.com/photos/yIJIO2dhWWY
https://unsplash.com/photos/TkEJiq0WaPI
https://unsplash.com/photos/EbkruEVwW5Q
https://unsplash.com/photos/Xbh_OGLRfUM
https://unsplash.com/photos/HIYV3hIVQXM
https://unsplash.com/photos/khjwIW9HH5s
https://unsplash.com/photos/bEcC0nyIp2g



About the Author Mission TeamThe mission team is made up of writers within the HN team who serve for a time with our ministry to Awaken the World to the Power of God's Love. Through their efforts, their vision of making a world where no one suffers alone is an encouragement to many hurting people of all ages. 


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