Bad Words: Damaged, Weird


Aren’t we all?

I think those two words are the softest of the bad words because they do apply to everybody and they’re not necessarily bad. Everyone is weird in their own way. Everyone is damaged in their own way and the damage is almost never their fault. Weird implies unique. Damaged implies a victim of circumstance.

I come by my weird honestly. I was born with it. I’ve been weird for as long as I can remember. Everyone told me I was weird. It escaped no one’s attention. But it was a harmless weird. I ate cat food. It was that kind of weird.

I’m still that kind of weird. I quit eating a cat food a long time ago, of course. I matured and so did my weird. I’ve acquired strange number fixations. Odd hobbies. Random obsessions. Bizarre superstitions. Some might regard my love of pickle wraps up there with eating cat food, but pickle wraps are a family thing, so they don’t count.

My weird is harmless and I admit that part of my weird is a kind of coping skill. It’s how I deal with life. The other part of my weird is just how I interpret life. My view is skewed and has been since the beginning. Not a bad thing, just a thing.

Of course, it’s a subjective thing. In this society, it’s ideal to be unique while being the same. Whatever weird a person possesses, it should be a socially acceptible form of weird. Then it’s a quirk. And sometimes that quirk can become a trend. And a trend can be profitted from.

But if your weird is just weird, harmless or not, expect the side-eye. Expect the comments, muttered or spoken or shouted across a crowded place. My weird has earned me my share of disdain. It’s just another way people can complain about not understanding me. It’s another way to single me out, isolate me, make me feel defective.

When I let them.

I’m comfortable with most of my weird. It’s their hang-up, not mine. Weird is one of the few bad words that I’m not rushing to change.

From weird we get a little more serious.

I’m damaged. Like I said before, we all can say that we are. I like to say that every parent ruins their children in their own way and I don’t say it just to be witty; I really do think it’s true. Parents don’t mean to mess up their kids (for the most part). But raising a human being is hard. You have to do more than just keep them alive; you’ve got to teach them the rules of life and mold them into a somewhat functioning person. It’s not easy, mistakes are made. Some temporary, some last. It’s the nature of the game and the game is a rough one.

My parents did their fair share of damage to me, but the damage that I’m thinking of when I think of damage as a bad word is the damage I’ve done to myself.

To make a long story short, I went crazy when I was 21. Nothing too serious, just some major depression. Had I been honest about how serious the depression really was, I imagine things might have gone a little differently. But since I kept that bit to myself, I got the tools to fix the depression (I’m more cognitive-behavioral than Freudian) from my therapist and called the game after three sessions. I didn’t want to sit and talk about my mother. I needed to change my routine, change my mind, and vent in a healthy way. That’s all I needed to know. I declared myself, well, not cured, but on my way.

I duct taped my sanity basically. I made some happy changes to my mind. I started journaling regularly to help keep my emotions from bottling up and strangling me. I started exercising regularly to get those endorphins flowing.  I renewed my creativity.

However, I know the damage has been done and despite my attempts not all of it has been fixed. I’ve managed to fill a few of the holes. For the most part, though, what I’ve done is just a temporary patch job and sometimes the tape comes loose. Sometimes you can see the cracks in the paint if you tilt your head in the right light. And believe me when I tell you that lots of people do.

The damage they more easily forgive, though. Once they realize it’s damage.

The damage isn’t so bad and the weird isn’t too weird.

Those two words aren’t too bad for bad words.

It all starts to go downhill from here.

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