I was born weird. Back in the very first moments of my life, I had total strangers telling my parents to toss me away in an institution and get on with their lives. So, honestly, I inherited the ‘weirdness’ gene from my parents that decided to pack up their new little bundle of weirdness and defy the odds naturally stacked against me.
I was weird all through school. From preschool through high school, I wore hand-me-downs and handmade clothes. I ate a sack lunch my mom put together each morning – that NEVER included store-bought luxuries like chips or Ding Dongs. It typically had a sandwich (on homemade bread), a fruit, and if I was lucky, a home-baked cookie for dessert. I never died from it or grew up hating them for it, so I guess that’s probably weird these days, too.
Weird again when I got married, as I wanted to stay home with my kids. (Not to mention being in a wheelchair and having babies in the first place!) But being a stay-at-home-mom meant being weird and sacrificing a lot. It meant constantly thinking of ways to save money. It meant not giving them every new techy toy their little hearts desired. It meant that THEY wore hand-me-downs and ate home-cooked foods. It meant that while their friends hit the local drive-through windows and wore the latest designer duds, they had to use much cheaper options.
So, really, no one can blame me for the stars in my eyes (and ears!) when Dave Ramsey came into the picture. His whole philosophy about ‘being weird’ just hit home, and I fell pretty hard for it! As crazy as it sounds, I’ve never heard ANYONE say, “It’s okay to be weird!” It really goes against everything I’ve ever heard from the rest of the world – Be normal. Dress this way to blend in. Eat these foods and drink these drinks so you won’t *gasp* be different. Have your house filled with all this STUFF and drive this car so you can fit in and people will like you! Sound familiar?
As I’ve thought about it, I’ve started to realize how totally conflicting my ENTIRE life has been! I literally don’t have a PRAYER of bein’ normal, right?! Not since Day 1! So, for someone outside my weird family to actually TELL me – to SAY the words “it’s OK to be weird!” – was incredibly liberating to me! I mean, we always hear “Be you. Embrace your uniqueness” blah blah blah…But do we really internalize it? Do we even know what that means for each of us?
Living on one income is tough stuff. Because of the nature of my disability and work history, I’m not really in a position to get a ‘real job‘ anyway. But, we’ve also made the conscious choice to make do with my husband’s paycheck. So, I’ve learned to bleed every penny dry that I possibly can. That means gardening, canning, dehydrating, fermenting…All those lost skills from yesteryear that our ancestors used to stretch THEIR incomes as far as possible – that are totally weird to our modern world.
But, on the flip side, have you noticed that it’s the weird ones that are typically the most successful at their life choices? The ones who DARED to stand out from the normalcy of their surroundings are the ones ‘getting it done’! I want to be one of THOSE people! All I needed was someone to say, “Hey, it’s okay to be the weirdo you that you were born to be!” Even if that empowerment came from a total stranger that I will likely never meet.
So, to that end – Thanks, Dave! I needed to hear that more than you know. And if you’re reading this and need to hear it, too – Here you go. IT’S OK TO BE WEIRD! There is nothing wrong with you! It’s totally fine to do things differently than your friends or family. It’s okay to live completely different lives than your neighbors or fellow group of whatever members. You are the master of your own destiny, and if it takes stepping away from the cookie cutters shaping your current life, then go for it! YOU CAN DO IT! Don’t worry about ‘being the only one‘, either. Because, I’m here to tell ya right now – I take being weird to whole new levels that would probably even shock Dave Ramsey, sometimes, and ya know what? It’s awesome! Let’s do it together!