Apologies for the expletive in the title. I know some of y’all still follow that raggedy sense of respectability and whatnot.
Look at the featured picture* and tell me that’s not what you might think of when you hear the phrase “quirky Black girl.” I challenge you to give me another answer.
I resent that phrase and you want to know why? Not only is it another box that people try to put people in, but because once upon a time quirky wasn’t the word that people were using. Quirky is a cute word, not quite an Instagram model, but a girl next door. It conjures up images of birds and running in fields of grass and AfroPunk and pins and buttons and pink colored hair and interests that lay in the nerd realm or a carefree sense of being. Quirky is blue skies and dewdrops on grass and a fresh spring breeze. Quirky is summer in the city. It’s spending time “finding yourself” and tumblr accounts and blue checks on Twitter.
Once upon a time, quirky was weird. Weird stinks. Weird is overbites and under bites and cystic acne. Weird is repulsive. Weird is thin, oily hair and wrestling t-shirts and nasal voices. Weird is surprisingly masculine. Weird is misunderstood. Weird doesn’t have too many friends. Weird grows up and has a constant chip on its shoulder and possibly seeks authority so that it can inflict the same pain and suffering onto those that once inflicted pain and suffering on it. Weird can’t relate. Weird is out of the loop. Weird is a damp basement with one light where a body might be buried in the concrete floor.
I was weird and I didn’t want to be that shit.
I wore that shit like a scarlet letter and I tried to wash it off as much as possible. I started cursing a lot, tried my hardest not to be a dweeb, tried avoiding dating fellow dweebs, and you know what? That shit don’t work. I couldn’t stop being weird. I was born in that shit, baptized in the waters of Lake Minneweirdo. Now I’m just a weird ass Black girl that curses a lot.
So when my sister called me quirky recently, I flinched. That shit hit me to the core because today’s quirky was yesterday’s weird and pre-29-year-old me still holds on to that stigma of being a weirdo and fuck you motherfuckers for celebrating the shit you used to shit on, where were you when I was running through the schoolyards pretending I was a Martian because they didn’t have one on Space Cases? Where you ass was at in 2003? You wasn’t with me shooting in the gym!
So if that’s what y’all want to call it now, I’ma be quirky. I’ma be weird. I can’t wash that shit away. No amount of
dick weed booze self-hatred and denial is going to get rid of it, in fact, it makes it even more apparent. I can’t be anything else than what I am and as much as I have tried to be anything else, this is my lane, this is my niche. I don’t want to be anything but this. If you want to call it by a cute little name, then so be it. Just run me my blue check so I can start gatekeeping this shit while claiming to be for the culture.