When Does “Weird” Become Unacceptable?

I saw online this weekend someone talking about how they were not picked on or bullied for being autistic. Instead, it was done because they were weird. And you know what? I get it. I know the “weird” label was attached to me as a kid, and still is often today. But I’ve got to think…

At what point does “weird” become unacceptable in our society?

My child is a typical little boy, but he has some quirks and weirdness to him if you observe him enough. However, someone always befriends him at school. He usually has at least one friend, and sometimes a small entourage of friends. They get attached to each other. I think some of the friends are trying to take care of him, but it is still positive attention.

I had an autistic student for two years when I taught school. The first year, she was all but invisible in the class of mine she was in. The second year, some of the girls in the class took a shine to her and befriended her.

For me, I had friends when I was a kid, but not many. I was often picked on and bullied. Through the grapevine, I end up hearing some pretty mean things still being said about me as an adult.

I’ve been picked on because I’m weird and different. But at what age do people decide weird is no longer an acceptable thing? Is it when peer pressure kicks in during the tween years? Is it in high school when the artificial class system that includes jocks, geeks, nerds, and goths kick in? Is it younger than that? Is it a behavior that is learned at home?

It really is a toxic behavior.

Kudos to those who actually befriend us who are “weird”. You do brighten our day.

Also published on Medium.