I got nothing but love for you, quirky girl. For far too long, your eccentricities have been deemed odd. Displeasing. You’ve been described as a loner by the very people who put you in a dark, distant corner, then marveled at your every move, your ability to survive, in order to prove a moot point.
People have labeled you “other;” uncooperative when all you’re doing is being your natural born self. Look at how different she is, they say. Look at how she doesn’t belong, they utter, while pointing fingers, snickering and whispering about you behind your back, or, to your face. They try to tell you about your quirky self as if you don’t already know who you are. As if you requested their unsolicited opinions about you. They try to strip you of the person your creator intended you to be. But you don’t let them with your vibrant, vivrant self. You’re inventive, the creator of movements and words that get added to the dictionary, like “bootylicious,” “yaaas,” and “fleek.”
Quirky girl, you’re that beautiful glitch in the matrix. You walk that visible and invisible tightrope. You refuse to smooth out your round edges to fit square pegs. The limited, pre-packaged narratives dished out at the this is your life factory? Not for you.
You’re expected to be socially awkward, quirky girl. Sure, awkward quirkies exist, but we’re not on that keep an eye on them (read: potentially dangerous), glass cage/bubble hybrid tip. Maybe it’s your penchant for video games, cosplay, comic books and sci-fi, or nose rings, oversized, colorful glasses and patches of color in your hair. Or Afro-punk. Maybe it’s your Bohemian lifestyle or your appetite for quinoa long before it was Columbused, much like kale, which, any day now, will be available at on-the-corner dispensaries in gentrified neighborhoods the county over. Maybe it’s your undeniably crafty ways or your ability to break randomly into song and dance. Or your medal-worthy sarcasm and wit. Maybe your brand of quirky is not reflected in any of the aforementioned things, but as you well know, your quirkiness knows no bounds, and you’re cool with that.
One of the misconceptions that exist about you, quirky girl, is that you’re on the lower end of the IQ scale. Your carefree attitude is somehow equated with being annoyingly giddy and ditzy. I guess because there’s no way you can be so unapologetically you. Who taught you to do that?
That weird, out there, socially awkward, lonely plane that quirky girls supposedly exist on is even more exacerbated when you’re a quirky Black girl: Don’t you know the expectations of Black womanhood? Quirky is not a Black trait. Do you think you’re better than the rest of us? Are you trying to be White? You even sound White. Don’t be mad at me, I’m just telling it like it is. You know what? Never mind. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, clearly you’re not Black enough. Any of that ring a bell, quirky Black girl? I trust that you’ve heard some variation of the compliment-diss, “You’re not like other Black girls” on more occasions than you care to remember.
Here’s the thing, quirky girl. There’s a door that you can walk through where there used to be a wall. That’s a line I stole from Prince but, hey, he’s quirky too, so it’s all good. There are so many of us out there. We have patron saints in Solange, Janelle Monaé, Santigold, Erykah Badu. In everyday girls and women. As a quirky girl, you’re part of the Black Girl Magic collective. You may not use that term to describe yourself, but it was inspired by you and created in your name to remind Black girls and women everywhere that there is no ceiling and that we have every cause to celebrate our unique selves. You will not be silenced or ignored. You are enough. You are welcome. Keep on with your fresher than you awareness. Rock on with yo’ bad self. Own it. Proclaim it. Wear that badge of honor proudly, ‘cause quirky is where it’s at.