Society has an idealized perception of a black person. They feed into the stereotypes and think that everyday black people are loud, obnoxious, “ghetto,” etc. If someone does not fit this description, they are an outsider. This also holds truth within the black community on a smaller scale. Some black people think that all black people should act alike, and if one person strays away from the way we are “supposed” to act, they are abnormal. The ideal black woman, for instance, is not one that engages in cosplay. She does not LARP (live action role play). She is supposed to listen to the same music, care about the same things, and engage in the same activities as her counterparts. If she doesn’t, she is judged and not considered “normal.”

My taste in music, books, clothing, movies, etc. forced others to label me the “weird black girl.” From kindergarten until the end of elementary school and even now,people called me weird. I was unlike many girls in the black community, and it made me insecure and uncomfortable and even brought tears to my eyes. For years, I even tried to assimilate into this idealized black community and suppress my likes, interests and mannerisms in order to be accepted. I have, however, discovered that just because I stray from the norms and the stereotypes, I am not weird. I am simply myself despite the fact that I might like reading comic books or shopping in Hot Topic or binge watching X-Files or listening to “Bodies” by Drowning Pool sometimes.

When I started to embrace that I was ‘weird’ was when I started to notice that I was not alone. There are plenty of weird or eccentric black girls that have the same interests as me. It is also socially acceptable to be different. When I arrived at Washington University in St. Louis, I was greeted with a note that said “The truth is out there” on my suite door courtesy of the student-run newspaper, Student Life. The reference is from The X-Files, one of my favorite television shows. Most people find my obsession with The X-Files strange, but coming to a new place and having that be my first encounter was great, and I felt like it was more acceptable for me to be myself.

So to all my ‘weird’ black girls: You are not alone. It’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to be different. Like what you like and do what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are strange. Be unapologetically yourself, because being the weird black girl is so much better than forcing yourself to be like everyone else.

On Saturday, May 21st, we’re hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here. Use code blavityfam.