In my teens I despised being “weird.” I pretended to not speak Mandarin, and yearned to be a “normal.” American, suburban family. My brother managed to play the part perfectly. He was on the varsity football team, threw keg parties, was incredibly popular, lived on fast food, and dated the prettiest girls (but never committed to one.) I on the other hand was not built to belong. I hated Abercrombie and 4-hole brown Doc Martens, but was swayed to mimic the uniform. My dinner of choice was always seafood, all kinds, whether it was raw or obscure. I enjoyed a refreshing novel over any music video, and wasn’t interested in dating jocks with polo shirts. My differences kept me at a distance from my friends, never having them as dinner guests, only wearing my fashion choices on vacations, and always spending summers in Hong Kong avoiding the boundaries my friendships built.
Luckily I escaped after junior high, commencing the international life which suited me best. I now realize “weird” can be a very good thing, and I’m happy to say my family, husband, and I are very “weird.” We married very young ignoring the many judgements from our friends. We do not desire children early, reside in a messy studio, party most nights, and don’t possess normal careers. He surprisingly is not phased by anything, his favorite dish at dim sum is chicken feet, would never wear a suit and tie, and is happy to take Sambucca shots with my Dad at a nightclub. We revel in our weirdness, shoving aside any expectations about marriage or career people throw our way, and I’m sure we’re happier than most “normal” people I know.