Do you remember the weird girl in school? The girl that moved to her own drum beat. The one that wore stripped socks with her flowered sweater and didn’t seem to care. The girl that doodled in her notebook and didn’t worry about being a cheerleader. That did her thing, completed extra credit homework, and loved what she loved regardless of what was popular. Do you remember her?
I think we all had one or two in our classes in school. She might have been your friend or your science lab partner or rode your bus. Maybe she was you?
Regardless, she was there. You probably didn’t think much about her. She minded her business. But sometimes she would talk about something at lunch or in class and you would look at her and think “what is she talking about?” You just couldn’t relate to what she was saying at all.
When you got into college, the weird girl would have these life events or experiences that she would share, or perspective that she would imply, and you would figure she must be from another planet. How could she even think that way, right? Of course, she’s probably running a Fortune 500 company now but, hey…everyone starts somewhere, right?
I was never the weird girl – well, maybe I was and just didn’t know it, I mean i did play in the band and do the school play and love what I loved. And it’s ok to be the weird girl, many of them were my friends. (Again, maybe I was…hmmm?) But I tried to be conscious about fashion and the latest trends. I read what everyone was reading and talking about what everyone was talking about. I wasn’t the most popular girl in junior high and high school but I certainly could sit at their table in the lunch room.
But this past year, as I have been working this past year outside the home, returning to the workforce after leaving it for the last 5 year for a brief stint, I was the weird girl.
Yes, I’m the weird girl.
I’m not saying I didn’t have friends or anything, in fact, I had lots of them. Plenty of coworkers to chat with and socialize with and lunch with. However, I found myself the weird girl in many conversations.
If we were talking about babies or vacations or weekend plans or work, it was all fine. But if we started on other common workplace topics like kids school, dining out, grocery shopping and meal planning, or anything related to money, I was the weird girl.
I knew this based on the side cocked heads of my coworkers. The furrowed brows as they watched me talk. The confused and befuddled looks on their faces as I mentioned coupons and best prices and meal planning – frugality! Who knew that would make me weird in the corporate world.
Anything related to frugal living was like speaking a foreign language to my fellow workers. I was the weird girl here in my workplace because I’m conscious about money. Because I consider a budget and don’t always opt for convenience.
It first started when we were talking about sunscreen one day. The conversation started out about the beautiful weekend and sun. Kids and sunscreen. Simple enough.
One colleague mentioned that they ran out of sunscreen and tried something new that they borrowed and didn’t like it. What type do we use? I was asked.
And so it began…..
“I make my own sunscreen,” I said.
“What?” says colleague with head tilted to the side and wrinkled up nose.
“I make my own sunscreen,” I repeat. “It’s easy to do, costs much less, and is more natural and better for my kids. We use it after they have had 15 minutes or so in the sun getting their Vitamin D time.”
My colleague looks at my face with a stranger still expression. “Hum, well, I certainly could never do that. Too time consuming and I wouldn’t know the first thing to do. Plus, I love that spray stuff, can you make it spray?”
Well, as you can imagine the conversation didn’t get any better from there.
Speed along to another ‘water cooler’ conversation where I mentioned going to two different grocery stores to complete my shopping list. The side cocked head, squinty eyes look was prevalent, and my remark met with the response of “my time is more valuable than going to multiple stores to shop.” Apparently mine is not, right?
When I explained that these trips are planned out along with the meal plan and sales the subject was changed. Meal planning? What is the point of meal planning? When I explained what my family feels are the benefits, I was met with responses like “We like to decide on our mood each night.” or “It takes too much time to plan with the ads, it’s not worth it.” or, my personal favorite “I don’t meal plan because we aren’t sure which nights we like to go out and when we like to eat leftovers.” What?
But of course, my “what?” with squinty eyes and furrowed eye brows is confusing to the person with this response. They can not fathom why I’m confused!
And I haven’t even MENTIONED what happened when homeschooling was brought up. You what? How do you do that? Why do you do that? What do you have against public schools? I didn’t know you were so religious? That’s not something my family could ever do. I can’t imagine not working and being with the kids all day. My kids need to be around their friends. And, my personal favorite in this category, I could never do that, my kids get bored at home.
So, I’m a penny-pinching, frugal living, homemade product making, homeschooling mama who apparently has 2 heads and is from the planet Mars. right? At least that’s how I feel. So, I’m the weird girl.
-The weird girl that doesn’t have a new outfit every day.
-The weird girl that watches her money and doesn’t go out to eat every night.
-The weird girl that brings her lunch most days to eat better and not spend $120 per month on fried foods.
-The weird girl that goes home and does homeschool with her kids instead of watching prime time television.
-The weird girl that plans out her families meals and checks the grocery sales for the best deals.
I’m the weird girl. I just didn’t realize how weird I was until I went back into corporate America and visited those that have 2 incomes, live above their means, can’t imagine being home with the kids all day, and eat out every day because its takes WAY too much time to plan and pack a lunch.
And I have to say, I’m totally good with being the weird girl.
Have you ever been the “weird girl (or guy)?” Did you know it? I would love to hear about your experiences.