Being the crazy wrestling weirdo is tough. Often, I will say wrestling-related jokes or connect the world of professional wrestling to a current event going on in the world. Most people usually give me a strange look as I wait for their laughter. Middle school me would probably walk away with tears in my eyes, being rejected by society. College first-year me has learned to embrace it.
Being weird is something I pride myself in. I don’t even classify myself as weird. I classify myself as unique. I value the fact that people around campus know me as the “crazy wrestling guy with too many wrestling shirts.” I value the fact that I can rap John Cena’s whole verse in his song “All Day” with Wiz Khalifa. I value the fact that I spend over a thousand dollars on “fake” wrestling merchandise. I value the fact that I trust Bray Wyatt, a Louisiana-raised man who plays a character that has superficial powers on TV, more than I can trust my parents.
Things like that let me know that I mean something. I’m not like the standardized college student (wearing sweatpants and an Elmhurst College hoodie with flip flops). I walk into class wearing my $24.90 Bullet Club t-shirt that I enthusiastically bought at Hot Topic. As I walk into the door and get many confused looks, I tell myself in my head, “You’re unique.” That gives me the confidence that many people struggle to have.
Outcasts like myself are often rejected by society. We’re judged for the way that we look, the things that we say, and what we like. But I’m here to say one important thing: who cares? Who cares what other people think about me? I value who I am and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. It upsets me that people get self-conscious about themselves and try to dress a certain way to be embraced by a community. I would rather be single being myself than be in a relationship acting a certain way to please a significant other. I would rather have one friend who truly understands me than many who I try to please by acting like a yes-man.
The point I’m trying to convey is that I’m not alone. There are other people who feel the exact same way. And to those people, I tip my hat to you. I respect your values and I respect how you view your surroundings exactly how I do. Don’t be a follower in this community, be a leader (yes, I made a pun regarding the title of this newspaper). Be innovative. Don’t be afraid to wear something because someone else might be judgmental. At the end of the day getting through college is an individual’s job. Depending on what others believe in distorts inner beliefs and can persuade one to think a different way than what they truly believe in.
Like any “weird” person would, I feel like the best way to sum up this column is to share a quote by my favorite wrestler, Bray Wyatt. Bray Wyatt said something when he first debuted on WWE television. “I am the red in this world of black and white,” he said. That is what I carry with me every day. I embrace that “red” and walk on the sidewalk with my chin up high. And, like me, fellow outcasts, embrace that red. The world wasn’t made for us. That’s why we’re going to be the ones to take it over.