Stay A Sprinkle: High School Speech (2015)
Written by Lillian Carrier
Being an outcast is something most people fear. I have never had an issue with it. My mind has always put the strange and weird into a category of great things. I feel complimented when people call me weird. This may seem strange to most people, but take for instance the term “Normal”. I don’t think anyone wants to be called “Normal”, or any synonymous word like typical or average. No. I think everyone, even if it’s buried deep inside, wants to be different. Something that makes them special and gets them noticed in a crowd. Like the girl who always wears a crazy hat, or the boy who loves big-wheeled trucks.
Being weird has always come naturally to me. I was born with an identical twin sister, and my whole life I have been trying to find ways to be different from her.
My parents raised me on the belief that my differences were a gift rather than a quality I should hide. I mean if you have ever met my family you would know we don’t fit into a perfect box. I have a dad who never runs out of energy and leapfrogs from one activity to the next. I have a mom who needs order in a house that has none. I have a cousin who would rather study in his dorm than go out partying with a group of girls. And a grandfather who once tried to get out of doing chores by pretending his arm was broken.
In elementary school, no one cared what people wore or if you didn’t like the same things. Our little minds accepted everyone and didn’t see weird as bad, but something new to learn about. The kid who brought in a rock collection for show and tell wasn’t called a nerd but an explorer. The kid who wore hand me downs and had used school supplies wasn’t thought of as poor, but as the kid with a treasure trove of stories about their stuff. The kid in the wheelchair wasn’t thought of as sick, or helpless but as a kid who was part machine and gave others rides to class. And then we grew into middle schoolers and weird was no longer cool but shameful.
I started sixth grade with three friends. They were weird and fun and didn’t care what people thought of them. As a group we hung out in front of the math classrooms. The first week of school I met this girl in my PE class, she didn’t talk to me. She just nodded yes or no when I asked her questions. I later found her sitting by herself at snack time. I invited her to sit with me and my friends that day. She then sat with us for the rest of the week not saying a word. The girl who didn’t talk became part of our group and we accepted it. Then one day as we were joking around the girl tapped me on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. She asked me if we were friends. I nodded in response and her eyes lit up and she smiled. I would later find out that the silent girl’s name was Rayna and she had never had a friend before. I was her first friend in the world. She was weird yes. But just because someone doesn’t talk, that makes her someone no one wanted be friends with.
Our circle grew as kids began learning that the kids who hung out by the math rooms were weird. We were a safe zone for weird kids. The silent girl by the end of year was now joining in on the conversations with inside jokes and amazing opinion. She was no longer the silent girl, but she will always be part of our weird circle.
Coming here to my new school, meeting all the kids in my grade. I immediately felt at home. The weird was overflowing out the classroom windows. I want to remind everyone: Weird isn’t bad. Weird shouldn’t be feared, but embraced. I will finish off with a quote my friends and I would say to each other in elementary school that I still say today: “Weird people are the rainbow sprinkles on top of the vanilla ice cream. So stay a sprinkle.”