How do you picture beautiful? How do you describe eccentric? I was drawn to her, but slightly bewildered. There was an awkward dance between us, our words seeming to miss the receiver on both ends. As I kept speaking, the words rolled out without much thought as my behind-the-scenes analysis was processing and slowing the intellectual output. I believe she intimidated me in some unusual way. She had a depth beyond a normal acquaintance. I wanted more.
Her questions dug deep, unearthing my own questions. How do you answer when you are so entranced by examining the question? Opening up my pandora’s box of unknowing, I blabbered.
The writer in me was bewildered. I wanted to show I knew something. The more I write, the more I feel the enormous weight of unlimited potential. Endless possibilities exist. All I could do was express a lack of clarity with my response.
She exemplified a quiet and reserved wholeness from within. Her carefully constructed questions gave me a glimpse of a life without self-judgment, an identification with her deepest and rawest self.
This human in a natural state struck me as beautiful. If I described her in this way, most would hand me a pair of glasses. Describing her as eccentric was a safe appraisal, or so I thought.
That word haunted me all night, as soon as I let it escape from my lips. Could I have been misinterpreted, as I recalled the recipient of my description responding defensively and protectively? Was it said in admiration or mystification?
Words often motivate those evocative feelings. People don’t. She did.
My eccentric nature was being exposed, by the magnetic pull of defining another. I have discovered my own tendency to meander in “curiosities”. Often when I speak after being provoked by deep questions, the glazed eye response I receive exposes disinterest along with a feigned smile that says, “I’ve lost you.” Where my mind goes, not many follow. There is a checklist to determine eccentricity. What I do know is…I’m on the scale.
I may or may not be comfortable with that discovery. The questions that define eccentricity swirl in my head. Do I see myself in someone who provides tantalizing mysteries to ruminate on? How much do I care how I present to the world? And am I content with just being me?
When I present the non-eccentric semblance of the norm, I find my deep insecurity fueling my desire to impress. And this, I now believe, is when true beauty hides.
The gift of her example claws at my heart. Labels incessantly follow us, attempting to define our deepest natures. We are often judged from an outward appraisal.
Each person’s life follows a unique path, sometimes artistically rendered in an aged appearance, molded by the tides of time. And beneath it all, the layers are pulsating with living history providing a sharper definition of distinctness. True beauty is found close to the core of the humanness when it strikes your heart, something that cannot be measured by outward appearance alone.
In reality, we all exhibit some eccentricities; but what I have learned through this reflection is when I meet someone I feel compelled to label eccentric, from now on, I will just call them beautiful.
-Erika K Rothwell
If you want to rate your own eccentricity, take this fun Quiz – A Different Drummer.