About a month ago I had a dream. I was at this function and there was someone on the platform getting ready to share. I was busy talking with the person sitting next to me, when I realised that the individual that was going to share was bending down close to me. They got my attention and whispered in my ear, ‘You are peculiar’. Other things were said to qualify that statement, but that is all I remember. I awoke out of sleep feeling really affected by the dream and the statement. It has stuck with me until today. What’s more interesting is that I believe it. I am Peculiar.
As a child and teenager, I was called proud. As an adult I’ve been called anti-social. All by people who did not know enough about me to make those statements. Some even grew up with me but didn’t appreciate our differences enough to accept who I was. But every life has a backstory. And before we go placing labels on others, if it’s so important to label, we should find out why someone might be the way that they are.
Additionally, we should not let the opinions of another person colour our opinion of someone we do not know. I have always operated by the Modus Operandi, “I hear what you say about that person, but I will get to know them based on their own merit” – if it becomes necessary to create a relationship with them. Just maybe, I may come away with a different perspective than you did.
So back to me being peculiar. When I got over the emotional impact of the dream, I settled down and agreed that I am peculiar, in more ways than one. As a teenager I can remember not wanting to be or look like anyone else. It went as far as my fashion sense. I would wear two socks of different colours because it expressed how I felt at that moment. And I didn’t care what anyone else thought of or felt about it.
I also remember my mom buying a dress for my valedictory service. It was a beautiful white dress made of a floral-patterned material. To add some pizzazz to it, my mom sew beads to the bodice. If by chance anyone else came with the same dress, it wouldn’t actually be the same because she had altered it just for me. So my mom as well contributed to my propensity to be different.
Today, even though wearing our hair natural has become a trend, I know it’s something I struggled with for years. The struggle was not with myself, but the people around me who didn’t particularly like the look of natural hair. I wanted to appear attractive to them, so I went along with their desires for ‘my hair’.
Not long ago at my 50th birthday party, my sister/friend created a crossword puzzle as one of the fun activities for the attendees to do. One of the clues alluded to the way I prefer to wear my hair. And the answer was of course, ‘natural’. I smiled because up until then, although I had not pushed the envelope as hard as I should have about my preference, it was the truth. That moment planted an indelible seed of discontent and determination about the change I was going to make.
As a matter of fact, what my friends and family didn’t know is that in that moment of what they thought was a fun activity, I had already begun the transition to my natural ‘creps’, which by the way are beautiful. The question in the game was only confirmation that I was on the right path. After all, being in my 50’s means that by now I should know what I want and not be afraid to express it, right? It’s a moment of do or die. I’m already on the other side of my ‘three-score and ten and by reason of health, four-score days’ allotment of life. So might as well get on with living a life that I’m happy to live. Don’t you agree?
Recently I was looking at some pictures, and I found one taken as far back as 2013, which was the first time I did the big chop and decided to wear my hair natural. The old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ comes to mind, as this would be the third time that I’m attempting to go back to my natural roots, and by George (sorry brother) this time I’m sticking with it.
I don’t mind being peculiar. It means that I am one who swims against the current. It means I don’t especially care what people think about me. It means that I may not have a large entourage because people generally like to go with the flow. It also means that I prefer to walk the narrow road that leads to a narrow gate that many don’t know eventually opens into a large field. A field of freedom with room to grow and space to soar. And I’m all for that.
As a matter of fact, we who are believers are called peculiar in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Praise the Lord!
Peculiar in the Merriam-Webster dictionary means different from the usual or normal. Other words associated with someone or something being peculiar are special, particular, odd, curious, eccentric, unusual, crazy, quirky, weird, to name a few. It means that you are not normal by the standards of the person or criteria describing you.
For me it also means that I’m not common, and that my friend is how I would like to classify myself. I may appear quirky or eccentric to you, but I am cherished and special to the One who loves me most. His thoughts are all I care about. As a matter of fact, He is responsible for who I am today, therefore my only concern is that He is daily pleased with who I am becoming.
Peculiar begets peculiar. Who wants to join me in standing out?