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


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. 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.

  2. 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. :#

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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 […]

  7. 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!!!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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”:


    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.

  12. 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)

  13. 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…..

    Stay on groovin’ safari,

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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)

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.