What’s Wrong With Being Odd?

Dr. Evil

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how people and society tend to declare what is normal.  Part of this has probably stemmed from my son being special needs and seeing how the world responds to him.  We seem to take ‘normal’ for granted even though I can’t even truly define it for this post.  You hear people point out oddities more than normalcy, which makes it feel like being odd is the only way to be an individual.  Yet, we’ve also stigmatized many differences including those that require special attention or medical help.  Overall, I have the opinion that most humans cannot exist without seeing something ‘beneath’ them.  That flawed person to make you feel superior because then you’d be the one at the bottom.  It’s fairly sickening.

Yeah, this is a pretty heavy post for a Sunday, which is usually light here.  I just couldn’t get this topic out of my mind.  Especially considering many of my ‘abnormalities’ that people have picked on:

  • I watch and enjoy anime.
  • I wear glasses.
  • There are patches on my legs due to being allergic to my own sweat.
  • I’m a fantasy author.
  • I walk on my toes.
  • Short and fat go on the list.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Naturally anxious.

Many of those are physical issues and I don’t even have control over some of them.  Others are choices, but they are things that make me happy.  So, the judging of society covers things that are both beyond our control or within our control.  Isn’t it strange to genuinely bash someone for getting happiness out of something that isn’t hurting anyone?  Yet, we see it happen all the time because it might not be a ‘normal’ interest.  My list is actually pretty mild compared to others who are marked as ‘abnormal’ simply because of who they are.  Why do we have to define a normal anyway?  Is it really that important to have this label that is used more to ostracize than include?  Been thinking about this for a long time and I can’t figure it out.  In fact, it tends to make me tired and want to spend more time in Windemere.

I will say that one thing I enjoy at my job is seeing how the students interact.  Every week, I see or hear at least one encounter where someone who would be an outcast during my school days be included in something.  Not because a teacher told them to, but because they wanted that person there.  Gives me some hope for the future.

Anyway, what does everyone else think about this topic?  I know it’s rather touchy and I’m not asking anyone to declare their oddness.  Just let me know what you think about normal and abnormal.  Maybe you can figure out and explain this to me, especially since everyone has has one thing that makes them ‘odd’.  I mean, how can you have normalcy without people being identical?  It just doesn’t really make sense to me.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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43 Responses to What’s Wrong With Being Odd?

  1. First ~ “normal” doesn’t exist – not since Adam and the Garden of Eden, which means every single person has their own unique abnormalities. Need I add more?

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    • Exactly. Yet, it seems like society requires some definition of normal. It’s rather frustrating.

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      • Agreed Charles. Some want THEIR perceived “normal” and each person, each culture sees differently; like a snowflake, we are all unique, even if we are twins we are unique, and we have unique brains with unique perceptions. The closest one can get to defining normal is to be among an indigenous group of people who have not seen or even heard of the outside world such as a clan of some sort in the outback of Australia. However, even those unexposed to the world or even a small bit such as explorers, normal changes. If anything, Charles, that small group tries to make themselves different with different piercings, paints, and such. Therefore, normal is a conundrum or quandary and cannot be truly defined.

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      • There’s always a push for individuality. The search for identity is a big part of being a teenager too. Seems to be human nature at times. You can see that in your examples of cultures where people have different tattoos and piercings while sharing a similar ideology and culture. Almost like society’s push for normalcy goes against our instinctive drive to be unique.

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      • …and with that push for individuality, Charles, we come full circle to what is “normal” and there’s no “normal” on planet Earth. One society’s cultural norms may be steadfast for a group in the outback, but they all try to individualize like I had written. “Normal” doesn’t exist.

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  2. Our definitions of ‘normal’ and subsequent means of shaming, criticizing, and controlling aberrant behavior serve a few purposes that I’ve seen: encouraging the best behavior for society, encouraging the best perceived behavior for society, and encouraging others to learn that they (the shamers) are the better people and we’d best not challenge them.

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    • I got a little thrown off by that last one because it started so positive. Guess a spin on that is we can identify those who are highly judgemental and not take their opinions to heart. Actually, rereading the others in a sarcastic tone makes the whole thing work. Maybe having a definition of ‘normal’ wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t lead to the shaming, criticizing, and controlling of others. Just a base level that people are allowed to be different from. That doesn’t sound right either. The concept in general seems designed to cause division in society.

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  3. Like so many other traits, Kids aren’t born with the need to judge others as ‘normal’ or ‘not normal’ – it’s taught to them by adults, i.e., family, friends or authority figures 😱

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  4. Sue Vincent says:

    Normal… doesn’t that just mean taking the average and drawing a line?And doesn’t that mean very few people would be on that line? So few,in fact,that even they would be unusual.

    If I had to list my abnormalities, we’d be here all day. I’m happy just being weird… and being me…whatever anyone else makes of it.I think you have a point though, that having someone, somhow, ‘beneath’us, makes us feel better as a species. We may need to work on that…

    Anime, by the way, is great. I love the artwork…

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  5. Yeah, I’m as odd as the next one so when you talk about normal I’m not sure what that is. I do know that because I embrace the oddities in myself and others I enjoy the benefits these oddities bring. I have met a number of folks who could be labeled “normal.” They are boring and have nothing to talk about except what they think is normal and that is usually bland. Give me the odd ducks every time.I learn something new from them every day.

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  6. I think you covered it pretty well. What do you think about the idea that people are more complicated than normal? Someone outside the parameters could have a few superior traits. That leads “normal” to make the kind of remarks that put them down. It’s almost a fear reaction.

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    • I think you’re right. Though, it is interesting how ‘normal’ reacts to variations. There’s praise given to the odd ones who are talented and superior in some ways. Yet, those who show a lack of something or a different way of doing it are either kept down or forced to adhere to the ‘normal’ standards. This is the problem with standards in general. They create a baseline that can be used to do harm.

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  7. I don’t know much about being ‘normal’ but I share 6 of the 8 ‘abnormal’ things with you that you listed. So either we’re abnormal together or we’re both pretty normal in a not-so normal world 🙂

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  8. L. Marie says:

    “Normal” is relative. I watch anime, write fantasy (and other) books and stories, still like dolls, play videogames, and crochet lambs. That’s “normal” to me.

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  9. Staci Troilo says:

    I think “normal” is relative. We tend to think the things that make sense to us are the “normal” things and when people deviate from that, we find it odd. Those people are probably looking at us and finding us peculiar.

    It gives me hope that you see kids being included now who wouldn’t have been before. That certainly seems to be a step in the right direction.

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  10. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this post from Charles Yallowitz on his Legends of Windemere Blog that asks the question: What’s Wrong With Being Odd?

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  11. V.M.Sang says:

    I’m getting on in years, so much so that I remember a song from the musical, South Pacific. It goes
    You have to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made
    And people whose skin is a different shade
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.
    The same is true of many things, not only racial differences.
    Individuality should be valued, not disparaged.
    I’m odd, too. I, also, write fantasy, which is considered a bit odd, and, at my ripe old age, I enjoy playing computer games. Again, considered strange by many of my age group. ( although one of my grandson’s friends thinks I’m really cool because of it.)

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    • I fully agree that individuality should be valued. That’s how progress is made in my opinion. Odd people are the ones who work outside and try to expand society’s standards. Yet, it really does feel like we push for conformity. It’s all backwards.

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  12. stephaniedanielsonauthor says:

    I am very odd due to many traits, which make me an individual. This is beyond the inate fear of anything ‘different’ than ourselves…it’s about conformity to a societal norm that somebody determined. I guess me and a host of others are ‘oddities’. Here’s to oddities!

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  13. Normal is over-rated. Actually, what I think people mean by it is “safe.” Do I know what to expect from this person? Then they must be “normal.”

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  14. As others have said, there’s no such thing as normal, and what’s normal to one person is odd to another. What I don’t understand though is why, given the fact this should be obvious to anyone who interacts with other humans at all, so many people struggle to accept that. I know we learn our definition of normal from the examples we’re given as we go through our lives, which is why we all have our own opinions on what really counts as odd. But I would have thought human beings could at least accept that people are different, and let others be, especially considering the way the internet allows us to see so many different kinds of people and ways of life, so it’s really difficult to escape the fact that “normal” really doesn’t exist.

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  15. Pingback: Seven Links 3/2/19 Traci Kenworth – Where Genres Collide

  16. David Davis says:

    My website is Alien Resort, where aliens write comics for Earth newspapers. Even though I get some comics published now and then, almost everyone I know clams up when I mention this pet project on mine, which to me seems like a normal pastime. I still haven’t quite figured out the psychology involved.

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