Embracing Your Inner Weirdo

    

I am a weirdo.

Yep, you read that right. A complete and utter weirdo. To unravel how and why I came to this conclusion, I’m gonna need to take you back, way back.

I sat mesmerised at the scene in front of me: Michaela Strachen, rolling around with playful cheetah cubs on The Really Wild Show. Man, she was my idol. I was a weird child. Instead of playing with My Little Pony and tea sets like the other girls, I would spend hours climbing trees and lifting up rocks to see what varieties of creepy crawly I could find lurking underneath. I was that child who would lovingly scoop up a spider and place him safely outside whilst every other person within a 500m radius was screaming their head off.

Weird.

In fact, other kids used to call me insect girl. As you've probably guessed by now, I was not the most popular kid on the block. I just didn’t fit in with the shopping-mad, gossip-loving, make-up-clad girls around me. I was different. I was a weirdo.

The truth is, I have always been fascinated with the natural world. By the time I was twelve I had become a vegetarian, a campaigner and an activist for animal rights. After dabbling with various career paths, from vet to intrepid explorer and everything in between, I finally settled on studying wildlife conservation at university. My dreams were taking shape.

However, a major and crucial change had taken place. I was a teenager. And the one thing I didn’t want to be any more was weird. I longed to be normal, to fit in and be liked. I was also a brand new Christian and the thought of working with animals and the environment just wasn’t very Christian-y. So I turned down my place at university and quickly fell into the routine of full time work. My dreams of a life spent rescuing elephants on the planes of Africa was replaced by the stark reality of serving sandwiches on the plates of hungry city dwellers. My weirdness was slowly slipping away from me. I was becoming so NORMAL.

Fast forward 14 years and some pretty big changes have taken place in my life. Recently I have gone on a bit of a journey with myself and I've made two major realisations. Two thoughts which have rocked my world and flipped my life upside down. My hope is that they might do the same for you too.

Here goes:

Realisation number 1: It’s ok to be weird.

Wait, scrap that - it’s flipping awesome to be weird. Being weird is being unique, it’s standing out from the crowd, it’s being uncompromisingly, unapologetically, unashamedly, wonderfully you in every way. And this realisation has awoken in me my sleeping, half-starved weirdness. The longing of my heart to look after the environment and protect the natural world has always been there and it always will be. It’s who I am and I won’t keep pretending to be someone I’m not. I don’t want to continue to live someone else’s dream. Where’s the fun in that, right? I want to follow my own path. I've confronted my fear, told it to take a hike and embraced my weird.

Realisation number 2: The reason why I have these longings that never go away is this - God. Put. Them. There.

Wow. God made each human being completely and utterly unique. What makes God happy is when I am being true to myself. Being truly ME. Not trying to fit into someone else’s mould. God created me to care about the planet, to love spiders and to feel alive when I’m around trees and rivers and mountains. It only took me 16 years to realise this. Gee whiz.

If you’re reading this, chances are you are an activist too. Which also makes you a weirdo. You might not like it, but it’s true.

Weirdos like us are the dreamers, the creators, the world-changers. Weirdos like us stand up for what they believe in, unafraid and defiant in the face of the status quo. Weirdos like us are different, we are the misfits, we break out of societal moulds. When you embrace your unique God-given weirdness and unleash it into the world, powerful change takes place and lives are transformed. So go out into that big ol’ world, you weirdo, and kick ass.

I am insect girl.

I am an activist.

I am a weirdo.