Growing up, I was weird. I still am weird by many measurements. I was called weird by my peers at that age, and considered it a compliment. As a part of a D.A.R.E. exercise in the 5th grade, we passed around a sheet with a classmate’s name on top, and we were to write a nice thing and keep passing. For one of my good friends, I wrote “You are weird. Love, me”.
She did not take kindly to this and told the teacher. I was in trouble and had to see the principal. What was worse was that my false reality was smashed. All those kids calling me weird weren’t being nice like I had thought.
I still consider weird a compliment, because the alternative is predictable or forgettable. In retrospect, unique would have been a more palatable word choice. Regardless, the lesson here is when a kid does something unexpected, there’s probably a reason other than malice, and I was never asked why I thought that was appropriate.