Reframing Weird

The picture shows a desk with two whiteboards, one reads weird, the other shows a puzzle, and the word unique. The image reads Reframing weird.

I am laying on the acupuncture bed and the acupuncturist leaves the room, dimming the lights as he leaves the room. I am left with soft music, a rock salt lamp to my right, a cozy warm table with super soft grey sheets, somewhere between 20 and 30 needles strategically placed, and my thoughts for the next 30 or so minutes. 

The picture shows a woman laying on a bed with acupuncture needles on her back.

Often times I lay there and just try to focus on my breathing and practice mindfulness allowing my mind to take me to one of the needles and back to my breathing. It's not uncommon for me to doze off. But this week, my mind kept wandering back to something I said and my psychologist's response.

We were having a conversation about an "incident" I had a few weeks ago that I described as a meltdown at my best friend's house that caused me to leave abruptly. The details and background of the incident are not really of great importance here, so I won't get into that. But before we get to what she said though, I want to set the stage of my thoughts and what I said.

"I am weird."

The picture shows a woman pointing down to text that reads I AM WEIRD.

A seemingly innocent little phrase that represents a deep inner thought that I have about how I perceive myself and what I believe others perceive of me.

Of course, this was followed by my psychologist asking one of those boilerplate questions that makes you pause and think. "Why do you think that?"

For those of you who know me personally, you know that "stumping" Rachel is rare. I was stumped though. I sat in silence for what felt like forever. If there was a clock in the room, I would have been able to hear the second hand ticking along. This is the part where I must become vulnerable and honest with myself and my psychologist in order to get benefit out of the session (or at least that's the logic I told myself in my head.)

The video shows a clock ticking.

What was probably only 30 seconds later, I start blurting out all the reasons I think I'm weird. "I don't make eye contact, I make weird faces, I don't regulate my volume well, I can't make friends, I am hyper-focused on work, I struggle to listen, I lack empathy, the list goes on and on. 

In natural psychologist mode she asks another one of those probing questions, "what did you feel, or how did that make you feel?".

The first response was I don't know, but with some more time in my thoughts, I started to reflect. I left my friends' house because the noise was too loud, the light was too bright, I felt like I was being attacked emotionally, I felt tiny and invisible and just reacted. I did not think, I just acted. I was fixated on leaving and couldn't shift focus away from "going home" until I was literally home.

When I finished my rant, my psychologist reflected and said "I don't think that's weird at all. "

I probably rolled my eyes, but I'm trying to keep an open mind and reflect and learn, so I asked why or how.

A woman with short curled hair wearing a green top is rolling her eyes.

She went on to explain and restate the things I said to her. But basically, it boiled down to you had feelings, your body and mind communicated that you weren't safe or that you might react negatively and your flight or response trigger was activated and decided to fly. She concluded that doesn't seem weird to me, that seems normal.

Perhaps my trigger is too sensitive or I can work to use my words better in these situations. And I likely will work on myself, but not because I am broken and require fixing; rather, because I want to. 

As I lay on that acupuncture table, my mind kept shifting focus back and forth. Why am I weird?... Why am I not weird?... Then I drifted back to the conclusion of my conversation with my psychologist. 

Before I give you my closing thoughts, I will give you my few bits of research. When I decided to write this blog, I figured it would be important to understand the formal definition of the word weird. So, first is the definition of weird according to Oxford Languages. "adjective: suggesting something supernatural; uncanny". According to Merriam-Webster, "strange or extraordinary character; odd, fantastic." Next, I needed to understand why "weird" has a negative connotation. I found something at that explains "weird induces a sense of disbelief or alienation in someone." Finally, I searched for the term "reframing weird" since that was going to be the title of my blog, and I came to learn that reframing is actually a"psychology hack", you can learn more here. This is where I was able to draw my conclusion from, I am not weird. You are not weird.

I leave you here with my closing thoughts and reflection...I am not weird, I am unique. I have thoughts and feelings and I may react. These thoughts, reactions, and feelings don't define me; but, they certainly are part of who I am. If anyone can't accept me for me, then I need to seriously consider if that person is someone I want to invest my time and emotions with.

The picture shows a woman pointing down to text that reads I AM UNIQUE.

If you have ever thought you are weird in a derogatory way, I challenge you to try to reframe your "weird". You are unique. You have thoughts, feelings, reactions, and more. Just because these things may not line up with the so-called "social norms", your unique perspective makes you, you.

If you have ever described or thought someone is weird, I challenge you to work to be a better ally and reframe your perspective to "that person is unique". 


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