Zia Hassan

Just Be Weird

I’ve had trouble with conforming to society’s expectations for my entire life.

When everyone in art class drew a picture in elementary school, I wrote a poem (in a cool font, I might add).

When everyone learned Dave Matthews covers in high school, I was writing my own music.

When everyone else decided to use a Mac or a PC in college, I used a text-based Linux machine.

When I was asked to play happy birthday for a colleague at work, I composed a birthday song for the person on my ukulele. And performed it in a breakout room. In front of clients.

My boss said, “maybe you should keep your personality out of the office.”

And it was that day that I vowed to never leave home without my personality.

After that, the jobs I worked allowed me to be myself, be a little weird, and flex my strangeness.

But these days, I’ve found myself being more reserved. Thinking twice before posting a blog. Feeling like an impostor writing music or computer code.

And sometimes I want to shout at the top of my lungs: let’s normalize being weird. Let’s standardize sticking out.

The only problem is being weird, by definition, is not normal.

And so I will just continue to be weird while the rest of the world pretends to be normal.

I will shun normality, standards, and conformity.

And I will be free.