What made you weird?

For many of us there is an event, a circumstance or a series of both that altered us in a specific way, making us strange, odd, whatever you want to call it enough to seek lives less ordinary. It’s different for everyone – Nadya, for instance, was inspired in part by Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation video’s military look and overall stompiness. For there were several components and so I present you a partial list of What Made Me Weird.

My Parents

Let’s get this one out of the way. I’ll narrow this down to just a couple of things, though I have much to thank them for. They took time to expose me to theaters and museums since a very early age, despite the social state of ’80s Russia and our modest finances. I grew up surrounded by literature and read things like Spartacus and Dandelion Wine. With my parents’ busy schedules I was often left home alone to rummage through my mother’s numerous art books and my father’s hefty collection of science fiction. Soon I realized I preferred to spend time by myself, not making me the best candidate for schoolyard popularity.


Russian Orthodox Churches

Everyone in my family is an Atheist but growing up I was taken to many old churches for their artistic and historical value. If you’ve never been to a Russian Orthodox church, you’re missing out on some prime spookiness. The Very Serious long-bearded priests don all-black, from their tall imposing hats to their floor length robes. The walls are covered with solemn Byzantine icons lit by candles while ghostly incense smoke floats between praying old women. This sort of thing to a seven year old is pure brain candy. I took home pamphlets and tried to invoke god for wish-granting. My parents laughed.

Russia’s obsession with UFOs

Whether it was just the 80s thing to do, Soviet paranoia, or a distraction from the sad state of the country at the moment, UFOs were everywhere. This paired with frequent forays into dad’s SciFi made for fevered theorizing during nap-time, drawing diagrams and wishing for a rocket. A few years ago i found a journal with detailed descriptions of an alien rat I apparently saw, with illustrations. The rat had a light bulb nose and video camera eyes. Sometimes I told other kids I was an alien, communicating with the mothership through a crystal pendant I explained to be a micro computer. The first thing i wanted to be is a cosmonaut.

The Soviet aesthetic

Obviously.

Viktor Tsoi

I mentioned before that my brother introduced me to Psychic TV way back when, but before my ears were violated by Genesis P. Orridge, There was Kino. Viktor Tsoi was the Russian Ian Curtis, complete with a memorable tragic death at a young age, and when I was just 10. Ah, his scratchy voice, his brooding sociopolitical lyrics, lines like “He remembers neither ranks nor names, he can reach the far-away stars not thinking it a dream, and he’ll fall dead-burnt by heat of the star we call Sun”. Let the spook begin!

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/jo8vzn76zBc" width="400" height="330" wmode="transparent" /]

And all this before I reached 11. By the time I landed on American soil I was ready for a real adventure, but that’s another story altogether. What’s your deal, anyway?

69 Responses to “What made you weird?”

  1. Populuxe Says:

    There was Kino.

    I remember Kino. I still have the copy of Red Wave that my friends and I played over and over.

  2. E. Black Says:

    What made me weird?

    My mother- Her obsession with the color black and dressing me in it when I was little. It turned into a life-long love affair which to this day causes many to sob and whimper because I refuse to even wear anything light colored.

    My uncle & my stepfather- These men love Star Trek, Star Wars, anything sci-fi, and computers. My love of technology comes from them. I added my own spin on that by falling in love with archaic technology.

    Myself- When I mention to people my interests they stare at me as if I have an extra head. Since I was little I’ve always been “the morbid one” and I like it that way. I make people around me weird now. Quite an achievement.

  3. David A.M. Wilensky Says:

    Parents – Whose parents don’t make them weird. They SciFied me up bigtime.

    My Aunt and Uncle – My Aunt is a professional bellydancer. My Uncle is a medieval knight.

    Synagogue – I went to synagogue every week and liked it. I still do.

    I am now a scific and pop culture obsessed future Rabbi.

  4. Ben Morris Says:

    I would have to say that books made me weird.

    I have always read pretty voraciously, and primarily read science fiction growing up. The one book (well its three books but I’ve always really considered it one) that has probably done the most to shape how I view the world though is one I first read at about 12 or 13, Robert Anton Wilsons and Robert Sheas Illuminatus! trilogy.

    Because of that book I came to believe that one should always be ready to question authority, even if it is the authority of ones own existing beliefs and notions, and to question/examine the idea of truth itself. Because of that book I discovered that countercultures (not any specific counterculture, but in general) are usually the most interesting (and fun) cultures. That book is what lead my to seek out the writings of both Lovecraft and Joyce (Joyce probably being my favorite author now).

    So yeah, books (especially that one) made me weird.

  5. six06 Says:

    before i could read, i fancied the etchings in my father’s books. one in particular that i recall very fondly was 1001 Arabian Nights. the sinister and rich complexities that built these images were nothing short of reconstructed chaos and something sinister to this child’s mind.

    being told repeatedly by my older brother that the week i was born, there was a UFO sighting and i was switched at birth.

    at age 12 i didn’t want a bike, or clothes or anything a normal 12 year old wanted. i wanted a set of encyclopedias.

    my catholic upbringing mixed with folksy mexican shaman beliefs. i can’t seem to shake it to this day even though i know it’s complete hooey. but it’s okay, i use it to my advantage in my work.

    when i was a young teen in the 80′s, i fell asleep with the radio on every night … listening to jazz or classical music.

  6. six06 Says:

    forgot to mention …. i never did get those encyclopedias. instead, i was given “Cosmos” by Carl Sagan.

  7. Ben Morris Says:

    Hmm…thinking about it further listening to the Church of the Subgenius’s Hour of Slack radio program as a teenager certainly helped to make me weird.

  8. Traci Says:

    My parents and their willingness to let me be whatever I wanted to be.

    When I was 13, my mother said, “Oh, so and so’s daughter listens to the Cure. I think you should check them out, you’d probably like them.” As it would turn out, she would later refer to the music as “Horrible Whining Bob and his Brooding Band”, but it was still her idea. Hah, take that.

    When I was 12, my mother let me dye my hair purple, because she was in cosmetology school.

    My father never squelched any academic or intellectual pursuit, as long as it wasn’t dangerous.

    Looking back, being LDS (mormon) probably made me weirder then ever. Even growing up in these strict constraints, I was still allowed a great deal of self-expression. My parents, being total squares, were still pretty awesome.

    I’m sure there was more that made me weird, and probably even more significant events (say, that time my mother showed me how to find, and grow, my aura using a necklace pendant) but these stick out the most.

  9. dispodip Says:

    i was raised in an environment that promoted self-sufficiency, reading my parents’ Harrowsmith magazines (canadian thing) and encyclopedias growing up.

    my brother was a theatre major, so i have a lot of influence from him. another push was when i heard Dead Can Dance played by my best friend in my high school darkroom for the first time. he introduced me to all sorts of non-mainstream things, most unheard of in the rural east of canada. plus, being the only deaf anglo person in a french community made me see things in a different light from the start.

  10. zoetica Says:

    Populuxe: so exciting to encounter someone else who’s familiar with Kino. It’s very difficult to try to explain their phenomenon to non-Russians.

  11. Jerem Morrow Says:

    A short list, that could be much longer.

    Reading local (NC) folklore/ghost tales books beginning in kindergarten:

    SIGHTINGS, ze TV show:

    Gericault’s ‘Raft of the Medusa’ hanging over our couch during most of my formative years:

    Sitting through Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn at 9 years of age:

    Harryhausen baby-sitting me via ze tube whilst me mum managed chores:

    Hell…this is turning out to be PART 1, Chapter 1…

  12. Daniel Yokomizo Says:

    Nothing made me weird: I’m normal, it’s the world that’s weird.

  13. Marc Says:

    I’ve always thought becoming seriously ill when i was 12 years old and spending the next six years as a virtual bubble boy was the primary seed of my weirdness…

    But something you mentioned brought back a very old memory of weirdness that I must’ve filed away somewhere deep.

    When i was 4 years old I announced at the family dinner table (in a very serious tone) that I was an alien. When my parents asked if that meant that i wasn’t really their son, i replied “no, it’s not like that, it’s …complicated”.

    I wish i could remember more of this.

  14. Gala Says:

    One of my teachers was concerned about my “imagination”, so she recommended I read non-fiction books for a change. Thanks to her I gained an appreciation for gangsters, Boadicea & haunted houses.

  15. Catwalk Ghost Says:

    Wow, I do remember KINO from my teenage years =) But, seriously, what make me wierd? – Probably quite a bit of things) Sincce I was a kid I liked the stunning looks and tried to make some wierd costumes from toys, boxes, etc afer watching a good sci-fi movie or cartoon ;) Any my family, of course – living with artistswas pretty cool and made you think differently!.

  16. Ben Johnson Says:

    Family: all incredibly supportive and encouraging. No alcoholics or drug addicts or anything. Maybe that’s unusual in itself, but it also meant that I had a lot of freedom to explore because nobody was afraid I’d “turn out wrong.” Mom worked in museums and occasionally taught art classes. Dad was a socially liberal Methodist minister.

    Books: since we didn’t have a lot of money, I went to the library all the time as a kid. I read sci-fi and fantasy, horror and mystery. And I poured through mythology books. I read things that were way above my reading level, and having gone back and reread some of them later, I know there were a lot of things I just didn’t get and subsequently ignored. But I may have been the only kid in elementary school to dress up as Ford Prefect for Halloween.

    The Illuminatus Trilogy: I read this when I was 15, and it is my first memory of a proper mindfuck. For several years afterwards, I would lend it to girls I dated to see if they “got it.” Sometimes I brought it to lunch and sat at the punk/queer/troubled table and we took turns reading passages from it. These days I’ve moved on, but back in high school it was a magical tome.

    Cartoons: I am liable to move with a dramatic flourish, make sound effects while I do things, dance like no one is watching. Apparently this is not normal? I should perhaps feel embarrassed? I do not. I blame cartoons. Or thank them. It depends, honestly.

    Japan: I was an exchange student. Sometimes it was wonderful. Sometimes it was the loneliest time of my life. I sort of had a breakdown, but I emerged a bit more self-aware. Many of the odd people I know, well, the healthy ones, have wonderful stories about losing themselves and then finding themselves again. Self knowledge is the currency with which eccentricity is bought.

  17. Immie Says:

    “Many of the odd people I know, well, the healthy ones, have wonderful stories about losing themselves and then finding themselves again. Self knowledge is the currency with which eccentricity is bought.” (i

  18. Immie Says:

    oops it cut me off..cntd..
    (i love)
    what made me weird..
    my dad probably..
    -telling me that jesus farted in the bath just like everyone else, a story i enjoyed retelling to all and sundry
    -amazing childrens books like outside over there, the yami of yawn, terry jones’ fantastic stories, erik the viking.. margaret mahy and roald dahl.. spending my lunchtimes in the library at school reading ‘cos i was too shy to talk to the other kids much..
    -and david bowie; the labyrinth being the starting point of my bowie obsession. i used to dress as him, with two golf balls down the front of my leggings as a makeshift ‘package’ (this was when i was about 7.. i dont do it anymore. at least in public..)

  19. D Says:

    Reading the lord of the rings three times the summer I turned nine did me in, coupled with finding Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants among my mother’s LPs (and some Mingus in my father’s collection). The rest of the kids simply couldn’t relate to that.

    Is the wierd really wierd?

    I find it much easier to find someone to discuss Daniil Charms or Hans Arp with, than getting hold of someone to talk about the brilliance of Paul Auster’s Timbuktu. As if everybody read Cobralingus by Noon, but noone bothered with DeLillo’s Underworld. I miss the mainstream.

    Around age 14, the other kids had realized that maybe my odd wasn’t so good and that it was good to conform. Of course, by then I’d erected a firm wall of Joy Division, Finnegan’s Wake (no, I didn’t get a lot out of that when reading it at 14 but it did secure a good grade in english for me) and Gitanes. Then the first real relationship (lived almost entirely through The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars) lost me to that by then very commonplace wierd and alternative.

    Yet… While Virgin Prunes and Associates was fun, Joy Division and other mainstream is what I keep returning to. Shocking, but I might be…normal.

  20. Rachael Says:

    My parents were both child/educational psychologists, for a start.

    But I think I made me weird, I had all the “normal” opportunities, I just preferred to be reading, making things and playing by myself rather than doing the usual child things. I just liked books more than people.

    I think my “weirdness” was established in early high school. I did try to be “popular” and fit in, but my growing obsession with the Lord of the Rings (which included me spending a lot of time dressed up), “seriously uncool” music and making all of my clothes eventually meant one day I just snapped, and spent a few months watching videos in empty classrooms and listening to ABBA on my walkman and reading even more.

    Then I found friends who were weird too.

    Happiness ensued.

  21. theremina Says:

    Being the adopted only child of secular humanist scientists who dressed me funny, read to me constantly, took me to theater and opera at least once a week, and only allowed me to watch PBS probably led me quit far off the beaten path.

    Specifically….

    My obsession with my folk’s LP of Carmina Burana. By age 5 I could recite all of the Latin phonetically. By 7 I could read it.

    The book The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, which introduced me to concepts of nihilism/nothingness, existensialism, collective consciousness, alternate universes, and the zen of neutrality. In particular, the concept of The Nothing scared the shit out of me. Still does.

    That totally bent, brilliant >Adventures of Mark Twain claymation movie I posted about a while ago.

    Reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and shortly afterwards, visiting my dad who’d just come back from a deep sea expedition. He led me by the hand into his huge, cluttered laboratory and showed me what he had caught: one these monsters. It was floating serenely in a pressurized tank like some exoskeletal insectoid Buddha, still very much alive thanks to the machines my father had invented expressly to sustain deep-sea crustaceans for study above 2000 feet. I must have stared into that thing’s compound eyes for an hour, utterly silent while various fans and valves whirred and slooshed. Felt like I was communing with it in some strange up way. I had trouble articulating the feelings that encounter stirred until I read Lovecraft and watched Cronenberg much later on.

    My preference of hanging out with the neighborhood dogs instead of other kids.

    Brian Froud’s Book of Faeries. Twin Peaks. Akira. Dmitri Shostakovich. Star Trek. Ronia the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. Blade Runner. Alien. Legend.

    I could go on and on but I should probably just friggin’ blog about it instead, eh? ;)

  22. nadyalev Says:

    Astrid Lingren! I LOVE ASTRID LINGREN! Did you ever read “Mio, my Mio”? One of my favorite books as a child! And I’d completely forgotten!

  23. D Says:

    Mio, my Mio yes. I still re-read that every year (but I cheat, I spent every summer as a child not far from where most of Astrid Lindgren’s books are set).

    Hmmm, we should write something general about books (fiction) here to see what novels the regulars see as Great.

  24. James Roden Says:

    Early exposure to European cinema and music. a family member who introduced me to modern day folklore, and a love of the early cyberpunk movement.

    USA Networks Nightflight was my first exposure to a lot of music that was not mainstream radio junk. God, I miss it so much.

  25. tdiym Says:

    So many experiences here similar to mine. I loved the museums my parents took me to, even as a kid.
    I’ve always thought for myself, always. I guess by doing that, I challenged the norms, even in grade school. I’ve always figured out my own life and why I should or should not do something, followed my own ideas and have never understood, even now, why this is seen as so “rebellious” or “different”.
    How do other people think? Don’t they ever sit down and contemplate what works for them, and what they want?

  26. Our Heroine Says:

    My genetics? My mother is the daughter of an art teacher and my father is an engineer…so the first 14 years of my life were spent reconciling the left brain with the right. During which I was banished forever from social normalcy by being shipped off to a school for the academically talented, setting the date of the eventual L/R brainmerge back a few years.

    I’m also sure reading the book of Revelations at age 6 and subsequently trying to convert the neighborhood children by graphically describing their future life in hell isnt a hallmark of normalcy…

  27. Dysphem Says:

    You know, when I look back on all the shit that contributed somehow to my weirdness, none of it really directly caused me to be weird. I just think that one of the ways I’d entertain myself, which I still do today, is by cultivating a vibe of weirdness simply for the sake of weirdness, and then being able to laugh at the way people react to having their preconceptions challenged. Sometimes I think I’m just a walking prank that my subconscious is playing on the world.

  28. Paul Komoda Says:

    Mer, I’m so happy that someone else appreciates Giant Isopods!
    I caught my first glimpse of one on a show about abyssal sea creatures, and have been obsessed ever since. Does your father still go on deep sea explorations?
    Next to tentacles, I’m all about the aesthetics of Carapacial Segmentation!

    To get on with my own weirdness( and the why’s and the wherefores ) would require more time than presently allotted to articulate with any degree of facility, so I’ll save that for the future.

  29. AdAstra Says:

    What made me wierd…. Natural selection I ´had no choice!!
    I mean who in their right mind would not choose to enrich oneself with every possible (sub)culture out there!!

    I consider anyone who are not willing to open their minds as the wierd ones…

  30. Marie Says:

    Hmm I would have to say first and foremost.
    1.my grandfather. He insisted that I call him “Shineyes” and would tell my offcolour fairtales. When I would ask where he was from, He told me he was Martian.

    2. Watching the original Story of the “Little Mermaid”. As a young child, it made a BIG impression.

    3. Reading a lot og Biographys of famous and dysfunctional people in high school.

    4. Rennaisence Fair at 16.

    I think they were all pretty positive things, but apparently , a lot of people dont…

  31. anodien Says:

    -My dad, the weirdest person in the world (nothing to do with sci-fi or whatever, he’s just a strange person).
    -My mom, and her endless cruzade for buying me books. She bought me hundreds when I was a kid and a teenager.
    -Sailor Moon! The thing that made me an otaku…which made me a fantasy fan…etc.

  32. paul blume Says:

    What made me weird?
    hmmmm…
    Grim determination, I think.

  33. Says:

    - My family, growing up in the Great Dismal Swamp region of the rural South and having wayyy too much reading time in my early years (especially sci-fi, fantasy and history)

    - Anime, Brave New World, White Wolf games, hanging out with ravers in high school, fencing lessons, Gangs of New York.

    - Vinyl pants

    I hope the list isn’t done yet.

  34. Guye Says:

    Two Words.

    Super. Otaku.

  35. Danae Says:

    i grew up inbetween two polar opposite households. my mother and step father are baptist christian republicans who worry about their image. (mother is a legal professionals secretary and my stepfather is a full blood cowboy, with the vests-boots-ties-hats-pocket watches. and he’s a cop.) then my father and stepmother are poor tweakers, abusive-derranged speed users. mom’s house is atrociously strict in the sense that children are to be seen and not heard, and since i am not 18 i am considered a child. then at the dad’s house he doesn’t care what i do as long as he doesn’t get held responsible for it. so i’ve had to balance myself and try not to split into two different people. which i’m sure you could imagine would make me “weird”. n_n
    that and my friends that i’ve picked up along my travels and life- they all have unique and acclectic styles and interests ever since i was really young i’ve been interested in goth culture and personal styles. plus being ignored for most of my life as the youngest and unstable oldersiblings demanding attention caused me to entertain myself. as a result i get really really irritable if i don’t have the majority of my day to myself, not talking to anyone. i’m shy, but loud. and people constantly ask me what i’m talking about when i speak casually. i guess i’m weird. but i like it. :D

  36. E. Says:

    Parents – First movie I ever remember watching was Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. My dad played violent video games while I sat on his lap. Dog died when I was young.

    Myself – At around age 9-10 I became scared shitless of death. I would lie awake, wondering: what if there is no afterlife? what if there is just nothingness?

    I also enjoy entertaining myself by making up stories in my head. When I was young I had a horde of imaginary friends that just sat in a big clump. They were like ghosts, with no detail in their faces and made of clear, silver-blue vapor.

    Ex Friends – These people treated me horribly. Thanks to them, I know resent most humans.

    Jhonen Vasquez – Picked up his books a while back. Still read them; changed my life.

    TV – I watched lots of science/paranormal shows when I was little.

    Museums/Zoos – Parents took me to so many zoos, aquariums, and museums. At the local aquarium, I got interested in deep sea creatures.

    Books – I’ve always been a reader, maybe not as much as other people, but I love short stories. Ray Bradbury really inspired me.

  37. intrikate88 Says:

    Dad- a man with an odd sense of humor, a love of Southern rock, a tendency to tell stories in far too involved detail, and who read me Robert Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit Will Travel when I was very very young.

    Both parents- who made the decision to homeschool me after watching me be bored to tears in school, critique my teachers’ spelling, and come home and read encyclopedias. In first grade.

    Homeschooling- which allowed me to learn anything and everything that I wanted, and still be far more well-rounded than any of the older neighborhood kids. I read far too many fundamentalist textbooks, 1,001 Arabian Nights when I was eight, and A Wrinkle in Time when I was ten that fostered an immediate and deep passion for quantum physics. (My lack of a natural talent at algebra kept me from pursuing as much as I might have, though.) In addition to all this fantastic reading and learning and increasing my vocabulary to levels considered unintelligible by most of my coworkers, my parents considered every vacation an extended field trip, so I had geography lessons in the Caribbean islands, and history lessons in Williamsburg, VA; physical science class happened in Mammoth Cave, and quite a bit of recent history in Budapest, Hungary.

    University- I started at 15 and it was like everything I had learned led up to that point. Chose to be an English major (surprise, surprise) and continue to confuse people with my love of the nineteenth century.

  38. Erica!!! Says:

    1. my folks….bapist republicans who for my formative years, where absolutely OBSESSED (as was their entire church) with the book of revelations. Growing up I was being prepared for the eventual but inevitable point in time where I, my family, and their church would flee to the woods to avoid being killed by the antichrist for not having taken the mark of the beast. I didn’t dream about what I was going to be when I grew up- i panicked when I couldn’t successfully light a fire without a match and wondered how long my mom’s old fatigues would last before I would end up having to make my clothes out of deerskin.
    2. My very early obsession with all things spooky or occult related. I would sneak all manner of scary books and movies from the time i could read on. I was all about informing my little sunday school friends that chupacabras where alive and well. My interest in all things off the beaten path lead me into alternative forms of spirituality, which my family thinks is pretty weird.
    3. Bouts of insomnia, or as I like to call it, being perfectly comfortable living my life irregardless of where the sun happens to be shining. My mom tells me that she used to wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning to find 3 yr old me watching John wayne movies and eating cheerios.
    4. Being chubby, olive skinned and hairy amongst thin blonde church going kids (who just happen to be the cruelest of children).

  39. Morwyn Says:

    1. Parents: My parents met in the SCA – a historical re-creation and living history group that I’m sure some of you will be familiar with. By the time I came around, they had already returned to the present time and place, but I still found my mother’s bellydancing garb and swords and my father’s turbans in their closets.

    2. My mother was experienced at making costumes and Halloween became my favorite holiday – I would always have the best costume. Favorite costumes were goddesses – I was Isis one year and Athena the next. I was under 10.

    3. Literature. and Art – In elementary school, my favorite books were the scary ones that kept me up at night and Greek and Roman mythology. I ALWAYS had a book checked out and the library was my favorite place. In high school, I took Latin for three years; my favorite books were fantasy novels. I’ve also been apart of the online art community since I was 13 years old (I’m 21 currently).

    4. Spirituality – I was a devout Christian since before I spoke. I clung to God because I was fearful of death from around age 2 or 3. Now I’m interested in Christian Mysticism and Celtic Spirituality – I’m on the fringe of even the most straightlaced organizations.

    All of the above, and my love of theatre and visual art, pushed me to study acting and costume design in college. Now I’m fascinated with alternative fashion bordering on the theatrical; I have an alternative fashion line in the works.

  40. heather Says:

    1. my parents. first they decided to home school me, then they decided to stop practicing christianity when I was 6 (mom was sick of the mysogny, dad wanted to grow his beard in peace). Then they let me wear and do what I wanted as a teen, which was suprisingly frustrating at times. I had Nevermind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols hidden behind my other tapes (tapes!); mom found it and put it on, and instead of disciplining me she now owns her own copy. How uncool for a 16 year old!

    2. Our favourite Sunday-afternoon activity was to go to the used bookstore and while away a few hours amongst the art books, the poetry, and the store cat. I wasn’t allowed video games.

    3. my neighbourhood as a kid. a weird section of California populated entirely by cowboys and new-age hippies.

    4. teenage isolation. my parents, bless them, moved us to a different state when i was a teen, AND I was still home-schooled which meant i spent much of my time alone, reading foreign music magazines and publishing my own zine.

    I’m 25 now, and my weirdness has served me well. I live in Ireland, sing with a really great band, and am a journalist/writer/proofreader.

  41. Infamous Amos Says:

    My mom, for never telling me not to be weird in the first place.

    Canadian suburbia, for forcing me to have an imagination.

    Watching Robocop and Heavy Metal when I was six years old, for making me fall in love with cartoonish abnormality before I was even aware of simple normality.

    My grade 5 home room class, for showing me that being normal is just plain wrong.

    In order of discovery, Weird Al, Beck, Primus, Ween, Mr. Bungle, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, the Residents, and Captain Beefheart, for showing me that it doesn’t sound good to me unless it sounds good to the uncomfortable parts of me.

    Breaking my spine on a trampoline and being immobile in bed for 5 months, for the time to reflect on everything about me that wasn’t working out so well, and the realization that only mutants will survive the apocalypse.

    The authors, writers, film makers, comedians, and performers who mattered, for mattering, in all their respective ways.

  42. bobby Says:

    A lot of SciFi out theah.

    Though I was never all that exposed to SciFi as a kid, I think finding a duffle bag of porn tapes under my moms bed did the trick. Something to think about while building forts, I guess. When she finally realized I had been under there she said, “You know, those people don’t love each other”

    hahahaa whah?

    yep. mom’s gross and dad’s the best in the world.

    Everyone is different, no?

    OH! and something compelled me to ask kids i didn’t know whether they were a girl or a boy. i feel bad about it now.

    So, if I happen to be the reason YOU think you’re weird, I’m sorry.

  43. Elvira Says:

    PBS late night used to show performance art videos, modern dance, and experimental animation. So I used to sneak up late at night to watch Laurie Anderson, Merce Cummingham, and Heavy Metal. On top of the daytime programming of operas and ballet.

    Add that to the introduction to college radio at 10 and a voracious reading habit.

  44. Jovana Gašpar Says:

    I became weird when I tried to fit in, luckily I never did so I’m a freak to this very day :D

  45. Meridian Says:

    One day, an acquaintance said to me: “are you ok? You’re acting strange (pause) -er than normal.”

    Miniscule epic description of what made me weird:
    The Brothers Grimm, living on a tropical Island for three years when was very young with no TV, entertainment consisted of running around naked, and reading and drawing and listening to Vivaldi, The Carl Sagan videos my mum had and that I loved. the books on art, mythology, architecture and science. Clinical depression combined with mild psychosis also seems to make people a little wierd…

    All culminating in me having to wear something black at all times!

  46. the rave clothing store guy Says:

    parents…parents…parents! I blame all my freakiness on them :) And I couldnt love them more for it!

  47. Daniel Says:

    what made me weird.. well my i got “the addams family” movie on video when i was about 10, i watched it almost everyday until i was about 12 becasue i had a crush on wednesday! haha

  48. Tom Says:

    I grew up in SC, in the ’60′s. (I’m Old… Way Too Old…) My parents were quite conservative and Presbyterian, yet they seemed to encourage me to think for myself.

    No pop music in the house, just classical. Except for a few Spike Jones records, which warped me a bit.

    And my dad had a bunch of Pogo books, which were/are a big influence.

    That’s about it, except for having lots of time alone after school everyday (both parents worked, and my brothers are much older than me). Lots of time to read… and my best friend turned me on to fantasy novels (Ursula Le Guin, Moorcock’s “Dancers at the End of Time”…)

    No videos back then, and crappy TV! (except old Popeye cartoons). Once PBS got cranked up, there’d be some good animation now and then…

    So somehow I developed a love for weird noisy complicated music (first King Crimson, now Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Ahleuchatistas, and so forth), peculiar comix (Woodring, Achewood, etc.), and other unsavory art/humor.

    Not sure why.

  49. Thom Says:

    1. Always being the tallest. Being tall, no issue. But I was always the tallest in my class at school. Tall, skinny. Unco-ordinated. Unathletic. I didn’t blend in. Wasn’t chosen for sports. That pushed me to a geeky niche, to the library and the art studio. Not the sports field. On my own, not in a team.

    2. Nuclear war/Reagan/the Star Wars program/the arms race/the Soviet Union. I grew up totally certain nuclear obliteration was inevitable. I wondered how my family would survive the bomb. In the mid-80s, I used to lie in bed, hearing planes, wondering if they were the Russians. Or if Reagan had pressed the button, and the planes were American, and on their way to nuke Moscow. In my defence, I was, like, 7. But I was freaked out about it.
    As an aside, I grew up in nuclear-free New Zealand. However, the French bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship, in 1985, in Auckland, exacerbated my paranoia.

    3. Superheroes. Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies. The Greatest American Hero. The Incredible Hulk TV Series. Lee Majors as The Six Million Dollar Man. The Bionic Woman. Batman re-runs. The Spiderman cartoon series. Uh, Scooby Doo. The Smurfs. I loved the concept of superheroes. I wanted to be a super hero. I had fantasies of saving the world. I wanted to defeat evil.I didn’t want to be normal.

    4. Aliens. To quote the X Files, I wanted to believe. As a kid, I was alien-obsessed. I think I owe that to the movies E.T. and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and, possibly, the TV series ALF. And I remember the space shuttle Columbia mission in 1981, not in detail, but I watched the launch on TV in awe. The concept of space exploration was so cool. Also, I was a Star Wars nerd and owned all the action figures. All of them. I was obsessive. And all the Smurf figurines too.

    5. My hairstyle. I’m not Jewish, but I had, technically, a Jewfro. A tall, skinny boy, who had a Jewfro. When I was 14, I decided to use hair gel to tame my ‘fro. My first day at school with gelled hair, kids called me Michael Jackson. That’s MJ, circa Bad. I was so uncool.

  50. Seth Says:

    Warren Ellis’ “Transmetropolitan” No. 1

    That was my first real encounter with unabashed truth, and I found I really, really liked it.

    After that it was a downward spiral of HST, foulmouthed-but-socially vital comedians, unbiased news coverage, and reading between the lines.

    Would I do it all over again if given a chance to stay “normal”?

    Hell yes, I would. Normal kind of sucks.

  51. trixiebedlam Says:

    regarding Russia’s obsession with UFOs. I found those at a stamp expo, because an active interest in stamps is one of those things that makes ME weird.

  52. Anja Flower Says:

    What made me weird?

    My genderqueerness –
    which was visible in my demeanor when I was in kindergarten, possibly younger. That may have been the deciding factor that pushed me over into the “over” category.

    My family situation -
    which drove me into a deep depression. To deal with said depression, I withdrew into books, drawing, and my computer. I also took hours-long solitary excursions around town by skateboard, rollerblades or bicycle, which accustomed me to contemplation, noticing, and quiet self-absorption.

    My dad’s book collection -
    which was huge, and which occupied much of my bedroom. I lived in his library – we all did, as it took up most of our little house with shelves – and this, of course, meant that I read his books. They were a sanctuary, and when the house was filled with shouting and screaming and I needed to get away, I would spend hours at the local library, reading the huge Archie Comics collection in the children’s section.

    My brother’s music -
    My brother was into Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM. He was also one of my only role models. Thus, I got into NIN and KMFDM, and this drove me further away from the social scene at school. Now, of course, I’m a total drooling music hound.

    The illustrator who worked near my school -
    There was a strange door with strange stickers that said things like “DUCKFACE!!!!” on the way to school, and one day I got all brave and knocked. The man who answered was John Hersey – an illustrator and art teacher with a totally weirdo style and a collection of old ’50s sci fi toys. His studio was like the den of some sort of evil genius to me! A huge desk with big, humming computers, all sorts of peripherals – some of which I’d never seen before – and big stacking cabinets full of dyes, tinctures, papers and all sorts of gizmos. That guy was so cool, I visited him nearly every day! To this day, I still want to be a professional illustrator.

    Cyberpunk and gothic horror -
    Among my dad’s many books were a collection of cyberpunk novels by the likes of Sterling, Gibson and Stephenson. I read them all, and fantasized cyberpunk for the rest of my childhood. He also had wonderful, beaten old copies of Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and above all, a big collection of the works of one Mr. Edward Gorey. From then on, I was hooked.

    There’s more, of course, but my fingers are complaining. :#

  53. ellie Says:

    2 Rutger Hauer movies (Bladerunner and Mr. Stitch), lots of tentacle hentai, and a household so strict that I created imaginary friends by conjuring them through bonfires in my room using various foreign medicines I’d find around the house. My mother and I lived in a darkhouse for a decade, and she was (still is) quite fascinated by death and illness. I painted pictures of her diseases, which she encouraged, ultimately leading to my current livelihood. We still laugh about methods of proper death, and where to put our ashes. Her pain made me weird. I also looked like those girls from those asian horror flicks, which put off most people who thought I’d kill em (damned Columbine put me on the hot list). That was through age 10-14.

    Afterward, the whole cyberpunk, robot fetish, conversing with many a schizophrenic thing came in. Seemed like natural evolution.

  54. What's in a name anyways? Says:

    I’ve always loved the definition of weird. Uncanny or unexplainable. I’m paraphrasing here but that’s what it means. Silence makes us unexplainable. Strange choices make us unique but I feel to be truly weird is genetic. Drugs help. Interesting question, interesting answers.

  55. izi Says:

    Both parents served military = birth of me= married, dads fourth marriage. dad was facinated with photography/ combat camera, filmed pornography for some time in hollywood for experience, i never left home without a camera or a camera pointed at me from ages 1-12. mother dropped out of marines she worked in a mental facility for a while and then became a cullinary chef in sf= met step dad in process= married. lived with two cullinary chefs and almost perminently lived in the kitchens of fancy resturants. step dad forced me to learn to read and read all kinds of books from daniel pinkwater to Madeleine L’Engle’s wrinkle in time. grew up around adults and hardly any kids my age, my cats were my best friends. had a cat with six toes on each from paw, named him yoshi, he made me curious about deformations and mutations. went to many college parties and drunk parties with mom( around age 10 and up). can’t stand most people my age. father introduced me to all types of horror films while i assisted him in showing drive in movies at the military base( around age 7). we would go out at night to oceanside beach and wade in the water collecting sand dollars. father moved to japan and met my step mom= little sister. bad ass little sister bullies the bully at her day care and takes back the big weeler. later on mom+ step dad = two brothers, who i raise because of moms Postpartum Depression. tv and music wasn’t a big deal growing up, i was exposed to alot of it, but wasn’t that infuenctial to me compared to being a stand by in my parents lives. i have never lived in one location for more than 4 years and have only lived in the same location once( all along california). told my first grade teacher that i would be an artist and nothing else, so far it looks that way

  56. the bounder - What made me weird Says:

    [...] most people are but it takes a bit of self awareness and a sort of forthright bravery to admit it. Inspired by this blog post, here’s five things that made me [...]

  57. Gilmoid Says:

    My brother blames himself for my being weird. In 1958 I was stuck in a ’49 Chevy in a rainstorm. I was bored, so pulled down the back seat and got into a cardboard box of paperbacks my brother had in the trunk. After reading all the hot parts of “Mandingo” and Sarte’s “Intimacy” (9 year-old boys should NEVER read French erotica!), I found a paperback of HP Lovecraft’s “Cry Horror!” From that point on the world became a horrible place. AND I LIKED IT!!!

  58. Nadia Says:

    What made me weird?

    Growing up between the shores of, my birth place, Sicily and in the post industrial wasteland meets middle of nowhere hills that was my home town in west MA. Spending early days running around my Holocaust survivor grandfather’s dry cleaning plant, chemical smells burned into my memory (literally?) bring back fond nostalgic memories to this day. Being the oldest of three with two busy parents who often left me to my own devices with my overactive imagination and (thankfully) un-medicated HAD. My early self induced introduction to horror movies, porn, art and liquid television (I still remember seeing Aeon flux when I was 10). My “Weird Gothy” cousin Rebecka and how cool I thought she was (and still do). to some degree I have my eccentric, crazy strong mother to thank, and her wonderfully unorthodox parenting methods. Also I thank her for giving me the first old 35mm camera I owned and my first set of charcoals. I was always weird, and never thought that was a bad thing.

  59. ChristopherR055 Says:

    My uncle worked on the Manhattan Project… He witnessed Trinity, and vaporized Hiroshima.
    When 3, I snuck out of our house in the middle of the night and made my way to a wooded field where a lenticular disc was resting on the ground.
    When 6, I developed a crush on a girl in school whose father turned out to be another Manhattan Project scientist.
    When 8, my family and I witnessed a large “winged-globe” UFO hovering in the night sky over Chicago. After that, before falling asleep, I would shrink to an infinitely small point.
    When 14, I discovered the writings of Aleister Crowley.

  60. Peechiz Says:

    -Dad was a total Trekkie
    -Being the scrawny, perma-new kid. All the families in the neighborhood had been there for a long time, and I was never big enough to really be athletic. This led to:
    - Lots and Lots of fantasty books. Followed by the entire Animorphs series. And:
    - Musical Theatre, Choir, and piano lessons in gradeschool made me an artsy kid in a school full of Football players.
    - Poetry Slams and Spoken Word (via the internet)
    - A college dormitory full of Hippies, Activists, Artists, Stoners, Exchange students, and ones without clearly defined sexual preferences.
    - And a year abroad in Japan

  61. Mer (the second) Says:

    Today I came across something that made me remember about this entry, it may be a bit old by now, but I see I am not the only one still commenting here ;)

    When I was a child, in Spain, a country just coming out of a decades long fascist dictatorship, this kind of stuff was played on national TV, Saturday morning, “children schedule”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2G4rZP-J_s

    She says she is a slave of evil, a professional with identity card, toads, adders and dead bugs, etc. Oh, and she has a great frienship with Satan. It was all in great fun, and it did make my generation (77) a bit weird, but perfectly functional (really ;p)

    This would of course not be aired nowadays.

  62. Adriano1977 Says:

    - Discovering Isaac’s Asimov Foundation trilogy in a single book at age 10
    - Reading Eco’s Foucalt’s Pendulum at 11
    - Japanese giant robot anime series from the 80s
    - A catholic upbringing (yeah, yeah, that is a boring one…)
    - Warren Ellis
    - You (i.e., Coilhouse)

  63. Tor Hershman Says:

    Let’s see, hummmmmmmm…..moi’s father dyin’, when moi ’twere five, and the “Grown-Ups” tellin’ moi that ‘God needed your dad in heaven’.
    Yep, that was the main event that set moi ‘off to see the wizard’ and here’s what I discovered…..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m6qC6FCiY0

    Stay on groovin’ safari,
    Tor

  64. eliza Says:

    - captain picard and agents scully and mulder
    - a love for edward gorey’s Mystery! animation that blossomed when my dad gave me amphigorey in highschool
    - my middle school mad scientist teacher (telescopes, pinhole photography, bones and power tools will do that to a girl)
    - growing up in a tiny town
    - a confused middle school crush on jonathan rhys meyers in gormenghast
    - and seal the deal with a week long trip to new orleans at the age of 14, giant albino pythons and all.

  65. polly_deus Says:

    I was also born in soviet but it soon collapsed in 1990 then my family moved to the uk then dublin Ireland where i live now.
    its weird i remeber the orthadox churches and victor tsois song ‘blood group’ (grupa krovi) sends shivers down my spine…
    -so my ethnic background made me weird too.
    -My dads music taste and when it imprinted and when it imprinted apon me
    -my mam bringing me into a religious cult we went to every sunday back in London and their talks and teachings and the people of the church singing and dancing madly and me,as a child along with them,
    -being the firstborn of young parants….i was the guiney pig,they really couldnt raise me as they were pretty much kids themselves
    - the first time i ever saw Nick Cave and Kylie Minogues duet as a child(where the wild roses grow) and it was etched into my mind and though i didnt listen to it until many years later i could recognise it straight away…
    and more stuff i cant remember

  66. phine_art_ophile Says:

    *Childhood tv shows: Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Fraggle Rock (I thought they were real, and wanted to own a Doozer!)
    *My parents being Child and Youth workers meant that I was raised in a very liberal household with little to nothing to rebel against. It also meant that my little sister and I were always spoken to as tiny adults, resulting in excellent vocabularies that alienated other school kids, but rendered us very popular with teachers. Go figure. Good grades don’t always measure up when your friends are taken away by the Children’s Aid Society because their parents had shitty parenting skills.
    *My own passions for art kept me inside drawing when other people were out enjoying the outdoors, and movies like The Dark Crystal and anything Tim Burton was more entertaining than Friends or America’s Funniest Home Videos- everyone else’s tube of choice.
    *My shitty little small town, where everyone knew each other since birth. Everyone liked country music and had no idea what Mexican or Italian food was. Our family experienced many different cultures and brought it home with us. The kids I brought home to play with snubbed their noses at anything that wasn’t peanut butter or a ‘steak-and-potatoes’ meal. And scoffed at the music we played to boot! I didn’t like those kinds of ignorant people, so I chose to be the complete opposite.
    *The Marx Brothers- Knowing the difference between slapstick and wordplay, and experimenting with mature humour right from the get-go. Not always a big hit with the Stooges crowd…
    *The book “Show Me”. My mother’s sexual education books were always in plain sight. Blatant pornography for those who had closed minds, a veritable anatomy textbook for me, who just wanted to draw people the way they really looked.
    *Album covers. Some of the trippiest art to warp a little person’s mind, my mother would give me wallpaper sample books to draw on, or cut and paste- Much of my early works are composed like band collages, or have interpretive images of certain lyrics or song titles.
    * Being one of the first kids I know with the internet- my father was self-employed at fixing computers as they were first being made available for home use, which meant we were exposed to loads of technology before most others I knew, and we were waaaaaaaay ahead of the game on experiencing and downloading different music (before we knew the repurcussions of piracy).

    Many other things contributed to my weirdness, mostly just being young, artistic, in Canada, in the 80′s/90′s, and being the daughter of intellectual “Woman’s Libber/Hippie” parents, was enough to make me want to stand out for any reason, even if it was just to challenge authority and/or my peers… I still don’t give my folks enough credit these days…
    Cheers Mom, Cheers Dad (RIP)

  67. JR Says:

    I was always weird. I think my parents just encouraged it. I was always the artist and a sensitive child prone to communicating with other worlds and entities. We lived on the edge of the industrial area next to the freeway where the old neighborhood history and industry had great influence. My dad used to take me out in the back yard once a year and move the junk around and teach me all the scientific names of the creatures we found he volunteered at the zoo then. these are things I still love to do and find them great inspiration for my art.

  68. Ingunn Says:

    I grew up in a small town with my family of five. This town is kind of like Twin Peaks if you look close enough. It is typical for the people who live there to not really care about the outside world, they get their conversation-topics on the supermarkets, which seems to be the most important place on Earth. Coming from a family where my mother was quite eccentric; she has always been a pretty free-flowing woman with interests in alternative medicine and healing, and a father who was creative in his upbringing of me and my siblings; I was soon the weird kid. I was also the middle child of three. And I feel that this has sculptured me in a way. My older brother was a math-and-checkers-geek in his early years – which automatically made my weirdness in school even stronger. My younger sister was a very free-spirited person and always the centre of attention. With a brother who is a genius and a sister who everyone adores, I found it hard to find my place. Also I felt much smarter than a lot of the people from our society, and I still do. But I have always been a very discrete person, and realized that when I was being honest(which is not a common thing in my little town) people got afraid, – so I kept most of it to myself. I spent a lot of time in my room as I grew up, developing my artistic abilities. My mother and father encouraged me to do so, and I think they saw what a sensitive child I was.

    I have always felt weird, even when I have tried not to be. Especially when I have tried not to be. I have always been very filosophical and blurted out things that noone else understands. “You are so weird”. I have lost count of how many times I have heard that.

  69. Griffleo Says:

    My Uncle Leonard who,when I was just 13 gave me 4 books, The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger,Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh,Junky by W.S Burroughs and the complete works of P.G Wodehouse. My English teacher at the time could cope with P.G Wodehouse and reluctently,Evelyn Waugh,but,Salinger and Burroughs were deemed rather unsuitable for school reading so hence their confiscation ( I used to resd them at brake times at school). Another situation that made me ‘weird’ was the time I came across a box of old photographs in my Grandma’s loft. She was rather an eccentric old lady,but when she was young she led one hell of a life in the 20′s and 30′s. She always seemed to be traveling,France,Spain,Eygpt,India,Africa and she found beauty in the most absurd things and her photos proved to me that one should never accept what you see but always question it,with her insight to life as she saw it gave me the basis of who I am now..I’m not ‘weird’,I am just me,a little pretensious but rather happy.