December 4, 2010 - submitted by Sel, United States of America

Is it okay to be different? Should I change?

I'm in high school and 17. Someone told me I was weird but cool. They told me this because I am curious about the universe and love to watch documentaries. I also am not like the rest of my class mates. I don't keep up with fashion I just wear what I feel like wearing. Have I painted an image to the rest of my classmates that I am weird? Is this the reason some students don't talk to me? Should I change who I am?

The Oracle replies:

Here's what I think... If someone told me I was weird and cool, I'd be thrilled they thought I was cool, but yeah, I guess weird would feel a little insulting. But hey, hang on I AM weird & cool! There's nothing wrong with being different - though as a teenager it may not seem so. It's a tricky time already without other people making you question yourself. I'd be amazed if people don't look back in the future and wish they'd stood out and been as interesting as you are. Different is good. It's simple; don't change who you are for others. Be proud of who and what you are. The difference in you is what makes you special.

Over to you:
Dear Sel, Whoa reading your letter was like looking in a mirror for me... albeit a mirror 40 years ago. I too was branded with the "weird " status. Personally don't you dare change a thing! Uniqueness is lacking in our world as is individuality. It is a gift to be your own person and not latch on to others style, personality and thinking patterns. Yes, it sets you apart and that is a GOOD thing. Give yourself time to get to know who you are and give yourself permission to be who you already are and friends, true friends, will get you and will understand you and admire your individuality. School can be tough but you are tougher and you have your own mind. Don't be afraid to use it, Laurie.

Hi Sel,
As a student, I know how it feels to be called "weird". You need to think, is changing who you are going to make YOU happy? Why be like everyone else? In other words, be yourself don't change yourself for anyone and if people don't like you, move on with life.
Take care
Jasely, 13 - USA

Dear Sel,
if I can tell you one thing, changing yourself only because somebody told you that you were weird is the worst thing you can do. Please, don't do that. I know what you feel, I'm 18 and I often feel lonely, because I'm not 'cool' enough to join a 'cool' group. But believe me, although sometimes I wonder whether I'd have more friends if I changed, I am sure that I'd feel terribly trying to be someone I'm not. Don't give up, I hope that there is someone out there, who will accept you as you are. Don't give up, I'm with you.
Kate - Poland

Dear Sel,
Here is a quote that I turn to often:
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself".
Friedrich Nietzsche
Hope this helps.
Princeton, NJ USA

I know exactly how you are feeling, for when I was around the same age (a little earlier though) I was going through the same thing. Do not let the pressure to fit in change who you are. It is a beautiful thing to not care what others are wearing, to be able to focus beyond the materialistic side of life, and instead focus on what you are most interested in. Continue with your curiosities and your passions, for they will lead you to true happiness.
Boston, Mass US

Dear Sel,
I think its great you've your own style and your own avocations like the universe. In fact I'm a lot like you. I'm also 17, love the mysteries of the universe and watch documentaries on National Geographic and Discovery about it often. I'm not keeping up with fashion and like to be different. My friends like me the way I am and I see it as a compliment when someone calls me "weird" because it means I'm original. I think you should be more confident about yourself, and be proud of yourself because you dare to be different. When you've more self-confidence, more people will look up to you and see you as an example. So don't change! Always be yourself, it's my catch-phrase!
Greets Tara, the Netherlands

You sound like a beautiful soul, never change yourself for someone else, always be who you are and who you want to be.
I am a mother of a 15yr old boy, and a 18 yr old girl, and I would love to give you a hug and let you know not to worry, believe in yourself and be confident, and people will notice that.
Every person on the planet is weird in their own way. Treat people around you the same way you would like to be treated and ever thing else will fall into place.
Good Luck, and many hugs.
Tracey from the USA

Wow Sel, this really struck a chord with younger and older fans alike but so many of your age going through the same situation. The response was overwhelming. Every single person said "no" with genuine well wishes.

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