Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oddities Exposed!


Some of us are normal looking, but very odd.
Some of us are odd looking, but very normal.
That makes the norm somewhere in between. 

Here are some Victorian Era oddities. They were very preoccupied with birth anomalies and medical conditions, from sideshow displays to royalty taking them in like pets and medical schools making a real show of displaying them after their passing. This begs the question, who was really the odd one? 

They did a great deal of photographing and cataloging - 



Odd
Adjective:  differing in nature from what is ordinary, usual, or expected




Oddity
Noun: A strange or peculiar person, thing, or trait. 



I was born with a double earlobe on the left ear. An oddity. Not odd enough to be of interest to the Victorians, but odd enough that kids in school would kid me about it, say a boyfriend bit my ear, and the like. But, those same kids made fun of me living in a haunted mansion on the hill, that I was very shy and barely spoke, and that I was very skinny with long limbs and a big head.




Odd personalities - People with odd-eccentric personalities 
tend to withdraw socially and detach themselves from others. They are said to be often suspicious, distrustful, and uncomfortable with close relationships. 




Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Became a showcase of oddities for a more modern world. Mr. Ripley made a career since 1918 collecting examples of oddities from around the world. Robert Ripley was quoted as saying "I have traveled to 201 countries and the strangest thing I saw was man." 





Oddities are expressed in appearance, personalities, tastes, activities/talents, and thought processes. Odd and eccentric are usually interchangeable in our language. What is odd to one is genius to another - just look at Leonardo Di Vinci - a man before his time considered "odd" by his peers for his notions about the human anatomy and robot concepts, helicopter designs, and the like. Many fashion designers could be considered odd, that is until we start wearing their clothing concepts. Tesla, a brilliant mind with odd notions about science and invention, was also a very quirky man who did not like human intimacy or the nastiness of connections with others, had OCD and anxiety issues, and yet his odd focus made him brilliant in the arena of invention.



Embracing your oddities is a blessing. Once you free yourself from expecting to be "norm," in some aspect of your appearance or content, you can actually focus on your skills and talents. That goth teenager sitting next to you in chemistry class is likely developing a songwriting ability that will blow away the masses in 10 years and that teen with no legs will become a CEO of a nonprofit that safeguards those with disabilities.


It's interesting how those of us who consider ourselves nerds and geeks are actually proud and pleased by our oddities. We see that as being individual. If I am going to have red hair and stand out, I will wear bright colors too. Why not just give in to and enhance that which sets you apart? If you love to collect creepy dolls and paint Michael Meyers, then you are owning your oddities and your individuality. You are exploring without the parameters society forces upon us by rebuking us for being odd. We are islands. We can stand alone. And, if we are lucky, we find our tribe of other oddities who revel in putting their very own stain on this world. 



As a person with facial amnesia, I find that people with unusual symmetry or oddities to their faces are memorable. I actually don't like faces that are flawless and boring, because they all look exactly the same to me. 


Whether I mean to or not, when I meet new people, I feel the need to probe them a bit to find out what is odd about them. Most people will confess what is socially acceptable and that makes them rather boring and dull. I try to find in what arena they are quirky, odd, peculiar - Strange habits? A repeated gesture or facial tic? A desire to live in a recycled dumpster? They don't become "real" to me until they have something odd about them, and preferably and oddity they feel no need to apologize for. For that, I admire them most wholeheartedly. 




Who is more endearing; Martha Stewart or Cyndi Lauper? 



Perhaps being odd is something people don't like to confess, but the fact is that we are all odd in our own ways; some just work hard to cover it up and lose all character and others own it like a proud and hard-earned medal. 




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