It says it right there in the header: Deborah Makarios, Old-Fashioned Fruitcake. But what do I mean when I call myself old-fashioned? (Sorry to disappoint you: am not actually a cake.)
There are so many negative connotations that people apply to the term ‘old-fashioned’, such as prudish, backward, ignorant, intolerant, narrow-minded, prejudiced, uneducated, judgemental, afraid of technology… The list goes on.Continue & Comment
The way some people talk, you would think that being different from those around you was an inherently bad thing – particularly if the difference is externalized in the way you appear. Speaking from personal experience, this is at best a massive oversimplification, and at worst a covert attempt to enforce muffin-ness.
1) The Odd One Out is not easily mistaken for someone else. Ever been introduced under another’s name? Awkward for everyone. The only time I myself have ever been mistaken for someone else was the year I spent in uniform – school, not military. And speaking of the military, there are medals for conspicuous gallantry, so why not one for being gallantly conspicuous? This guy deserves one, for a start.
2) Conformists have to re-outfit themselves as often as the ‘in’ thing changes. The Odd One Out thus saves a packet on overpriced poor quality items and is still free to change their look whenever they please.
3) Ever played the game “I’ve Never”? It’s a party game – each player is issued with a limited number of tokens. Then each takes turns saying something they’ve never done. Anyone who has done that loses a token. “I’ve never owned a smartphone.” “I’ve never used a hair dryer.” “I’ve never owned a car.” Whatever it is that makes you the Odd One Out is now solid gold. Go forth and conquer.
4) Relative immunity from peer pressure. Peer pressure is basically just pressure to conform. The threat held over you is that you will be the Odd One Out if you don’t. You already are the Odd One Out, so what’s to lose by refusing to submit?
I am aware that ostracism can be a painful thing, but trust me, it isn’t friendship if you have to buy it at the cost of being yourself.
5) You’re outside the game. In Victorian times, the social code was so static it was published in books, which told you the correct thing to do in any given situation. But today, the codes and rules are not only unwritten but mostly unspoken – and unlike the Laws of the Medes and the Persians, they constantly change.
Frankly, I wouldn’t even play a game under those conditions (Mao is what they play in Purgatory), let alone live my life that way. Be yourself, be considerate, and if anyone mocks or scorns you, give thanks that you don’t have to dance to their contorted little tune – because you are the Odd One Out.
Agree? Disagree? None of the above? Your thoughts welcomed!
I’ve been blogging for the last 14 months as Sinistra Inksteyne, but eventually (dawn breaks over Marblehead, New Zealand) I realised there was little point in building an online reputation for an alter ego whose name does not appear on any other work. So Sinistra Inksteyne will have to content herself with being a URL from now on.
As Francis Bacon observed, great changes are easier than small ones, so I didn’t stop with the name. This new picture isn’t me, but it might as well be (I’m working on developing the smiley wrinkles):
As I’ve mentioned before, this blog started as a way of keeping me accountable for my procrastination, but it no longer serves that purpose. Because I am now a perfect paragon of proactivity and – ha, no, sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face. But I’m not as bad as I used to be, not by a long shot, and there’s only so much talking about it that can be done before people stop procrastinating and get right on to clubbing you over the head with a thesaurus to make you shut up.
So I thought about what I wanted to do with this blog, and I decided that I just wanted to be myself – that is, to champion the cause of weirdness, oddity and eccentricity. I believe that people are individually created by God, which means that there is no standard-issue to vary from. To put it another way, ‘normal’ is not a Christian concept.
I have a sneaking suspicion that an awful lot of apparent ‘normality’ is due to peer pressure. People feel they have to fit one of a limited selection of moulds or they will be ostracized – and they may be right about this. But is it worth the price you pay?
It is a sad fact of human nature that if we are surrounded by one worldview, it requires a lot of effort to not succumb to it. As the letter to the Romans says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.” (Now there’s a nauseating thought.) But resistance is hard. It is less hard when there are more of you. Enter the internet.
I am weird. I freely admit it. I am odd. I have never been and never will be cool. And I’m fine with that. If that’s the price I have to pay for not having to chop off the bits of me that don’t fit (like some Ugly Stepsister of the soul) then please, put it on my tab.
And so I give you (fanfare please…)
the Eccentric Ethic & Æsthetic!
Eccentric: The Oxford Dictionaries’ definition includes the phrase “unconventional and slightly strange” for both adjective and noun.
If my picture doesn’t appear in the dictionary under the word ‘eccentric’ by the time I die, I shall have Unconventional and slightly strange graved (hur hur) on my tombstone. The oddity is partly, in my case, the result of being raised in a mixture of cultures, but one can only blame one’s upbringing for so much.
Ethic: One of my main reasons for not following the mainstream is because I follow Christ, and the two diverge widely. So truth is important to me. (Truth is my middle name – really…) Justice is important. Sustainability is important. Compassion, creativity and joy are important. Conformity – not important.
Æsthetic: Clothing sends a message. In my case, that message is “unconventional and slightly strange”. I find it lowers expectations that having the physical characteristics of the majority ethnic group means I have the same culture and value system. My personal appearance signposts my differentness – an early warning system, if you like. And it’s more fun wearing whatever I like anyway. I wish everyone felt freer to wear what best expresses who they are inside. Visual identity is a fascinating thing.
To sum up: this is a place for me to have fun being my eccentric self, and a place where others will hopefully feel encouraged to be their eccentric selves – particularly if they share some of the same eccentricities. As CS Lewis wrote: “Friendship is born at that moment when one man [/woman/small furry creature from Alpha Centauri] says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…””