Q is for…. Quirky! Overcoming the (perceived) need for conformity 

Content warning: bullying 

There is a saying that the coolest adults were unpopular at school. I am not sure how ‘cool’ is defined but I do agree with the sentiment. I was certainly not in any way shape or form cool at school but I like to think I am pretty cool now!

Quirky is a positive quality in my mind. Being a bit left of centre, a little idiosyncratic is a good quality. Despite my current view it took me a long time to accept my own quirkiness. 

When I was at school I would have done anything I possibly could to have been accepted by the ‘cool’ kids. Instead they – and it seems most of the other kids too – took it upon themselves to bully me and make my life unpleasant. I tried as hard as I could to fit in. I changed my fashion sense to be a bit more like everyone else’s. I lost my English accept because nobody else had one. I even changed the spelling of my name, thinking that removing an ‘e’ would make me less of a target! I never achieved coolness at school.

My wish to fit in and be how I thought everyone else was followed me into early adulthood. I masked like nobody’s business and tried to be socially accepted. I was actually quite good at hiding my quirks. I was so good I believed my own performance! I was ashamed to be my true self.

Thankfully my life changed. I matured and built my self-esteem. I also wrote a book which changed my world. The book was all about my journey as an undiagnosed autistic person so I had put my autistic experience and my true self out into the world in book form. I started to feel proud of who I was – autistic, Queer, schizophrenic and everything else that I once would have hidden in shame because it was quirky or unusual.

I now love my quirky Yennski self. I am proud of my various differences and unique take on life. I know that I have as much right to exist and thrive as anyone else does. I would so much rather be quickly than ‘ordinary’ – whatever that is! Quirky is a good quality I think. So many Neurodivergent people – including me – are beautifully,  wonderfully, fantabulously quirky. Yay to that! Let us celebrate our quirks. 

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