I find it amazing that the people who are most in touch with themselves, who are least likely to worry about what others think of them, and who are not afraid to flout others’ expectations of them, are considered to be eccentric, meaning unconventional and slightly strange in their views and behavior. If they are considered strange, then we should all be striving for eccentricity in our lives.
But, I would argue that there is no such thing as an eccentric person, for it is a label placed on people who consciously refuse to conform to the conventional in society. They are not strange; they are wonderfully brave. These are people who seek to be all that they were created to be, regardless of the thoughts and feelings of others.
They dress so wild and with such abandon that you cannot but help admire their courage. People look at them and frown, thinking prejudicial thoughts regarding their inability or unwillingness to dress or act like all of the rest of us. I say, “Bravo, my sister! You rock that dress! Love the colors, and you look so comfortable!” I say, “Go for it my brother! Who says only women can get colorful in the dressing!” You do your thing!”
There are moments in my life when I secretly wish that I could be a little more eccentric in how I dress. Douglas tells me to buy that loud-color dress, even if the hem is just above my knee. I say, “No, it looks too young for someone my age. I do not want to draw attention to myself or have people laughing at me.” Then I will see someone in a dress like it and they seem so free and joyful, because they just don’t care what others think of them! What a free spirit!
Some of my fondest memories are the students who were considered by the other students as strange and eccentric. They brought such fresh ideas to the class. They spoke their minds, not being all wishy-washy in their views, but straight to the point, even when their ideas conflicted with society’s beliefs. They wore such beautiful clothes, outfits that challenged others not to laugh, but they did not care. I love letting them know how cool and elegant they looked, with their blue, green, pink, purple, or rainbow-colored hair and matching outfits.
They made teaching exciting and never boring. I encouraged them to stay true to themselves, letting them know that I loved them just as they were, reminding them to not allow anyone else to define them or tell them how they should or must be. And, I envied them, most of all.
Eccentricity is a label we place on people who refuse to act as we want them to act. It is judgment, nearly always negative, that reflects our gang mentality. You either act, think, dress, date, or dance like the rest of us, or we label you strange and won’t allow you in our clubs, organizations, workplaces, churches, or homes. We can’t be your friends, unless you act your age. But, why should they? Why can’t we be differnt and still be acceptable, not becoming a laughingstock or an outcast?
What a waste for the rest of us, for we could learn so much from these free and gallant souls about living to please only God and self, about individuality and stress-free living that results from not trying to please others, and about loving the man or woman in the mirror. Give me one of these beautiful people as a friend any day, for they fill our lives with love, laughter, and lessons.