Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset. – Joss Whedon, screenwriter
This was a photo I took several years ago at an art fair — and it’s still one of my favorites. From the dog’s pink tongue that matches the girl’s hair to the zebra boots, I love the fearlessness of this whole picture. I remember marveling at the time at this girl’s confidence at such a young age. I didn’t find a place of self-acceptance until my 40s.
I know sometimes I can be a little different. A little quirky. And most of the time, I’m good with it. I usually don’t give it that much thought — unless I’m in a place that brings it to my attention. Like this afternoon.
After work, I decided to treat myself to a manicure (one of my new favorite indulgences) to start the weekend. I go to a place in an affluent area that frankly makes me uncomfortable. I can’t relate. Extremely well-to-do ladies, very polished styling, designer handbags, luxury cars, botoxed this and that.
Whatever. Just paint my nails this shade of periwinkle, please.
I complimented the colorful dress of the woman next to me. She said, “Oh, thank you. It’s just a Blah-blah.” I stared blankly. “You know..Blah-blah Blah-blah.” I feigned my admiration and understanding of a designer I’d never heard of (and still can’t remember his name). “Ohhhh. Blah-blah. It’s lovely.” But I was suddenly very self-conscious about my lack of sophistication…and a little embarrassed. Then I noticed the lady just beyond her getting a pedicure. Jewelry dripping everywhere, talking on her cell phone while wearing her sunglasses. Indoors. Seriously? You know you’re in St. Louis, not New York, right?
At this point, I felt so out-of-place I wanted to leave. But then, a little bitty girl came in with her grandma for a manicure — she was maybe four, tops. She picked out five shades of polish (including Granny Smith apple green), one for each nail, and insisted upon glitter flower stickers to top it off. She was hilarious. Once her manicure was completed, she held up her fingers to be admired and exclaimed dramatically, “O. M. G., Grandma!!” I started to giggle. So did the woman next to me. “Do you think her grandma knows what OMG means,” she asked me. We both laughed out loud.
Somehow, I no longer felt as stressed or uncomfortable. This little girl was completely oblivious to her environment and was focused solely on the task at hand — getting gorgeous nails. Her definition of gorgeous nails. And she enjoyed it thoroughly. I decided I should enjoy the rest of mine, too, and not take myself so seriously.
So that’s what I did. I sat back, took a breath, and stopped worrying about the people around me. So I don’t fit in, so what? These just aren’t my people. But they’re still nice. And I love my periwinkle nails.