Of late I've come to the conclusion that I might be weird. It wasn't a sudden epiphany but more a growing suspicion that despite my best efforts to be normal, I'm just one of those people afflicted by a severe case of the weirdos.
Even from an early age, the weird dye had been caste. During the summer holidays, whilst other kids were skmming stones and nicking Wham bars from the local newsagent, I was in my back yard in the widst of a highly organised nature project.
And when I wasn't tracking the slightly repetitive migratory patterns of my grumpy neighbour's homing pigeons, I was cooking up plans with the kids next door to fake a meteor strike in our back gardens or the devastating impact of a giant troll. Our weirdness knew no bounds. Once, inspire by The Way We Were, an excruciatingly dull World War Two documentary series, we decided to build an underground bunker. Like a scene out of The Great Escape we discretely distributed the soil from the massive hole we were digging around my mum's garden. Every day, we'd secretly dig a liittle deeper until one day, we hit the sewage pipes and in a blind panic frantically filled in the hole. I only recentlty confessed all to my mum who had been none-the-wiser.
At school, when I was probably at the height of my weird-dom, I fought and lost a valiant battle to fit in. The feral nature of school means there's safety in the anonymiity of sameness but I could never quite get it right. I was in the choir, I liked homework, I wore the shit out of national health glasses and I didn't own a stick, blob or puff of make up even though most of my class mates were already rocking frosted pink lipstick and blue mascara.
And ever since, I've felt myself in this perpetual battle between trying to be normal and being weird 'me' that spills out when I could do without it frankly. The one that says the wrong thing at the wrong time, that goes to work in odd shoes or my skirt tucked into my knickers.
And the whole thing is complicated by the fact that normal isn't just about being the same as everyone else but also about being what people expect someone like you to be.
Other people's expectations is a web that you can so easily get yourself tangled up in.
There's so many ways we try to catogorise and compartmentalise each other and it's easy to be railroaded by the ideas others have of you or even how you think you should present yourself to the world. Like how people berrate Madonna for being unashamed of her sexuality when everyone knows women over 50 are dead below the waist or how if you're black obviously you love Empire and hate the police or if you're disabled your life must be a living nightmare.
Its so important we break free of other people's ideas of who they think we should be because these criteria only exist out of fear, people fearing their own weirdness will be exposed so they compensate by fabricating an idea of normality and judge you when you don't meet these made up criteria.
The fact is, we're all weird and it's a glorious thing when we embrace it. In fact, the most boring and unoriginal thing you can possibly be is a copycat of someone else. When we unleash our 'me' into the world, unadulterated, it can be a thing of beauty.
Luckily many people break free and we thank God or there'd be no Ed Sheeran, Laverne Cox, Ade Adepitan, Eminem, Grayson Perry, Richard Branson and Courtney Barnes who gave a fantastically out-there eye witness account on local news recently.
That's where the variety of life comes from and it ensures life's rich and varied tapestry. Therefore you have to embrace your weird. Your planet needs yo and in fact, I'd go as far as to say I suspect 'weird' will one day be the new normal.
Click here to watch Courtney's glorious eye-witness TV debut.