Were you a weird kid?

I’m a regular listener to the podcast Rune Soup hosted by Gordon White. If you enjoy listening to DruidCast I would thoroughly recommend checking Gordon’s show out – great guests and thought-provoking discussions. The first question he asks his guests is Were you a weird kid?

Damh 1 year old

Damh 1 year old

I was listening to the latest episode as I drove to the OBOD office this morning and began to wonder what I would say if he were to ask me that question. I was definitely different. I was a gentle child and hated violence of any kind. This really came home to me when I was out with friends one day. We were playing on one of the barren stretches of land I spoke about in a recent article. It was late Autumn and the floor was littered with fallen apples. So, what do a group of young boys do? They play war. We chose our sides, and retreat to our camps. Then each group invaded the others space. Our weapons? Apples. Thrown. Really hard. I’ll say right now that a swiftly thrown apple hurts. But that was the point. As the game progressed my lack of enthusiasm was noted by the other boys, until one of them said, “You’re really different.” I took that as a compliment.

As I say, I was gentle. But I was also 6 feet tall by the time I was 15, and therefore was an obvious target for shorter bullies at school. I guess it made them feel stronger, picking on a giant who, no matter what the antagonism, wouldn’t fight. I also had a secret weapon. My tongue. My words got me through many a sticky moment. By the time I left school most of the troublesome kids would stick up for me. “Don’t pick on Smiffy, he’s alright he is. Makes us laugh.” Boom.

Damh 18th birthday with nan

Damh 18th birthday with nan

I had a really active imagination from an early age. So active that my parents were once called into school and asked by my teacher to “curb my imagination”. Maybe it was the secret brother I had. You know. The one that lived in the caravan. The innocent ponderings of an only child, but they had to go. Apparently.

My imagination got me into other trouble.

I loved little worlds. One of my favourite toys was my Action Man, but I loved worlds much smaller than that. So much so that I kept asking for a Doll’s House. I didn’t see the problem with that. All of those little rooms! But this was the very early 70s. The age of Love thy Neighbour, and boys should be in blue, be tough, shake hands, and grow up to be footballers. But in the end my parents bought me a Doll’s House, but they got so much stick for it from some of their friends that me and my Dad negotiated that he should adapt it to become a castle. I got that. I was fed up with having the piss taken out of me anyway by then, so out came the hacksaw, and Caer Smiffy was born.

Those little worlds though. I knew there were things, small things, that lived in the garden, under the old apple tree, in the hedgerows. Because of the Doll’s house I was accused of being a, yes, I think the word was poofter (oh the 70s), by friends, and to be honest a couple of their parents, who should have known better, but didn’t. What nobody knew or saw were the ghosts that walked the corridors and rooms of that little Doll’s House. The portrait on the wall whose eyes had seen everything. The knocking on the wardrobe door. The dark cupboard. My imagination was filled with wonder, but also shadows. And a deep belief, that I still hold to this day, in the power of Magic and the Fey. I’ve talked with the Fey for as long as I can remember. Most of the other kids ‘grew out of it’, but I just got more interested. I wonder if my parents still think this is just a phase I’m going through… As I grew into a teenager so my bookshelf became populated by books on the supernatural, the occult, the Golden Dawn, psychism, magic. I found a book club called Encounters that I joined straight away, and more books came.

So yes, I was a weird kid.

I was playing a gig a few months ago, looked out into the audience and said, “So this is where all the kids who didn’t fit in at school ended up.”

The response was a resounding cheer.

Seems I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a problem with that idea.

20 Comments

  1. Bronzewing September 1, 2016 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Yes. πŸ˜€ In primary school you’d general find me in the nature strip either being a pony or on my knees studying ant lions or something. Luckily for me I had a weird friend who would also be there with me. When I got older it got harder but I was lucky to have horsey friends who were at least outside the normal ‘clothes and boys’ stuff. The imagination bits and all that time spent writing long, long adventure stories were all my own, though. πŸ™‚

  2. Laura Lindsay September 1, 2016 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Oh, how I love this post!

    I got to the point where I treasured every time I was called weird. I still love it. Lol

    Little worlds, yes. Oh, yes!

    Thank you for that walk back through time. Have a beautiful morning.

  3. Greg September 1, 2016 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Do love this Dave!

    Reminds me of me! Strapping kid, big build, shoulders of an archer, hated violence. Still do, yet no have a more pragmatic view point.

    My son starts secondary kid next week & I see so much if me in him. It’s a great joy & a great fear all in one! He like me is a gentle soul and I know how hard that can make life in the coming years.

    I’m glad there’s a place where the weird kids can go. I’ll see you there….and in a few years, so will he!

    Blessed be.

  4. Sue September 1, 2016 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Where the weird kids go… yes, definitely ! Never fit, still don’t most places. People just don’t see, don’t believe in the fey…

  5. The History Anorak September 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    I wasn’t weird. Everyone else was weird…….;)

  6. Ann Beirne September 1, 2016 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Yes I was definitely considered weird by folks at school and at home by parents, brothers and grandparents.

    I had a world of little folk that would play on my bed covers by night, I don’t know if the were fey or not, but they kept me unafraid of the silence and being alone in my bed, My imagination used to get me into a lot of trouble and from a very young age I could see things that others couldn’t see, also from the age of 14 loved books about unusual things , like was god an astronaut and other books about ghosts and things that go bump in the night, I also had very close ties to nature still do. I was often in trouble for my views, and at one point my parents considered sending me to a mental institution because of what I saw and told them. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and I still live in much same way today.

    My imagination is still alive and kicking, I am not sure which childhood I am in but it certainly helps me understand our Granddaughter better she doesn’t understand why I am like a child with her and everybody else isn’t.

    We have animal spirits in the house, they only stay a while and our own animals just accept them, I love being weird but it does sometimes mean you are isolated but I now have like minded friends and they are really weird too in many different ways, there words not mine.

    • Christine Hasan September 1, 2016 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      I totally agree with you Ann. Reading your words was like looking in the mirror. Mat peace be with you.

  7. Kathy Zimmerman September 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Wonderful post, Dave. One of my first memories is of my Mother explaining to a neighbor my weirdness. So, I came to believe that I was born that way. As soon as I was free to go and play by myself, I retreated to the woods, and that is where I spent my childhood. I built a room underground, lined with rock and covered with logs and leaves. It was a secret place that only I enjoyed. Yep, I was so weird, still am at 67.

  8. Jane Eastwood September 1, 2016 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Weird is good, I dont worry about my family not being able to take it on board. I just accept that I feel a bit different to them and leave at at that. I have found people over the years who felt and heard and saw things and I have had too many experiences to dismiss it as imagination as my family thought it was. May be one day science will pin a label on it, I hope I am not around to see that.

    • Christine Hasan September 1, 2016 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Respect!

  9. Kevin Rowan-Drewitt September 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Great post Dave. Yes I was always considered a bit weird and still am by norms but thats their problem! I’m just me!

  10. Margaret September 2, 2016 at 2:39 am - Reply

    Ah, weird is wonderful! I always felt sorry for all those not-weird kids. They really missed all the fun. πŸ™‚

  11. Kathy September 2, 2016 at 5:18 am - Reply

    Great article, thanks for taking the time to write it – can certainly relate! x

  12. Gwion September 2, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply

    I think my entire family was β€œweird”: for years I thought everyone was like that

  13. Herb September 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Oh my this post has brought back some memories. It’s made me laugh and brought a tear to the eye. Funny that even in “grown up” world you are still feeling weird and just not like everybody else. Now though I like that, who wants to be “normal”, that’s just boring.

  14. Danielle September 7, 2016 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful post. I can picture you, the gentle giant at school. Sounds just like my oldest son. He’s the biggest in the year and yes we’ve had problems with shorter boys trying to assert their dominance over him. But he too is quick with words and has learned how to keep himself out of harms way. He’s never happier than when he’s whittling a catapult in the garden or making music on his computer.
    I was slightly weird as a kid. I always got into trouble for ‘daydreaming’. My imagination would never stop and I often sat staring at clouds, thinking up adventures, when I should have been figuring out algebra or some other boring school work. I still feel weird now and wonder if other people feel as weird as I do. Then I found OBOD… πŸ™‚

  15. Tracy Glomski September 13, 2016 at 3:11 am - Reply

    Nope, I can’t say I was an especially weird kid. I’ve grown into my weirdness. It’s never too late to have a weird childhood.

  16. Beth October 20, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    It took me into my forties to find myself in my weirdness. I was the strange little hippy girl who sat alone in the back of the room in school. And who collected rocks, leaves, and feathers.But now, at 59, I am right out there baby!! Blessed Be!

  17. caz October 25, 2016 at 5:46 am - Reply

    Really enjoyed reading this. I am and like the weird folk. Far more interesting to have around. Xx

  18. Debbie from Michigan March 25, 2017 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    This has to be one of my favorite posts of yours Dave, a sigh of relief that ‘yes there are others out there just like you’ loving our ‘weirdness’!

Leave A Comment