“I think everybody’s weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.” ~ Johnny Depp
Weird is cool. That is the message of today, isn’t it? It’s a message that has been driven in the popular media for the past few years with famous names like Johnny Depp, and hit TV shows like The Big Bang Theory leading the way. In theory, the call for everyone to just be themselves is great but is individuality and “weird” really socially accepted?
For entertainers, it seems that individuality is rewarded. Johnny Depp has made a career of being what is deemed as socially strange, different, and yes, “weird”. It works for him because he embraces his individuality with a self-confidence that commands attention. We all love self-confident people who truly know who they are and aren’t afraid to show it, especially in the entertainment industry where so many entertainers seem to be produced from the same cookie cutter. We reward expressions of individuality by paying to see it. Do we do the same in everyday life though?
The truth is that Johnny is correct – we ARE all weird. The word “weird” in itself implies being different from the norm, rare. That is exactly who we all are – rare, different, individuals. Despite the bombardment of messages to stray from the norm and just be ourselves, the pressure to conform is still pervasive. Johnny Depp’s eccentric character in the Pirates of the Caribbean series is undoubtedly what made the movies box office hits. We all loved the peculiarity of Captain Jack Sparrow. However, what if we met Captain Jack just walking down the street? We would probably call the police to get him carted off to the looney bin.
The fact is that the social messages about individuality are still, to this day, very contradictory. The question is, should we even care? In my mind, the answer is definitely not. Trying to break free from social norms is a daunting task though and most of us, to one degree or another, are still afraid of showing the world who they really are. The only solution is to just keep on keeping on by challenging the norms either through baby steps or major leaps. The more we are ourselves, the more we encourage others to follow suit. So yes – be an individual, be YOU. There is absolutely no one on this planet who has what you have to offer. That is a gift that we all must come to appreciate and value rather than be ashamed of. ~Gia