A teaser/excerpt from the short story by Brian A. Plank.

By the age of 3 years I knew that there was something significantly different about me…

From birth, I was extremely introverted and quite sensitive. And without a doubt – at least in my opinion – quite weird. Rather than embracing my eccentricities most of the other kids and their parents frowned upon or looked down on me. This added to my insecurities – which caused me to behave even odder. I was stuck riding on a circle constantly seeking an end to define where I should begin – to where I belonged.

I was a “gifted” child, but also one who refused to be lumped in with the other smart kids.

Unfortunately, I didn’t fare well with the “cool” kids either.

I did, however, have a gift for identifying with the kids who had learning disabilities or minor psychological difficulties – the “special needs” kids. I was – and still am – an empath. Being an oddity myself, I could understand the emotions and stigma associated with being different.

I was often anxious, and as a child I fought my shyness and eccentricity by acting even weirder than I really was. I spoke my mind in a manner that most of the other kids thought was strange. Eventually, I learned to dumb myself down. These days I would probably be considered as a high-functioning autistic. Even as a full-grown man I had one girlfriend suggest that I was “on the spectrum.”

As a child, rather than make a statement, I would ask odd or rhetorical questions, or repeat “why?” after every comment. Although my intent was honest and innocent, it wasn’t readily accepted by the regular kids. I just wanted to be myself and have fun. Because I was a very sensitive kid my feelings were easily hurt. I cried a lot.

I even remember feeling suicidal – I often prayed to God that he would take the ache out of my mind and heart.

I used to get a little riled up when I heard about schoolkids with “special needs,” because this phrase was generally used to describe kids with learning or behavioral deficiencies. I felt that I was also a “special needs” kid because I was never able to grasp how to fit in and socialize. Kids like me were generally referred to as the geeks, nerds, propeller heads, and so on…

But there are a few of us who are special cases – we aren’t geeks or nerds – we are far more advanced than that. I think that because of our “gifts,” we are expected to be able to sort things out on our own. Instead of “special needs” we are often considered to be “advantaged.”

Having a high IQ does not mean that you will automatically succeed. Quite the opposite – I have met other exceptionally gifted people, and they too have had poor social-skills. We are the ones who are at the top of every class. We are the loneliest – very few people can keep up with us when we start to express our deepest thoughts.

We are deep thinkers. Intellectuals. Philosophers. Imaginers. Creatives.

Through no fault if our own, we are also the envied. This means that we are often easy targets for bullies. Most of us try to hide our gifts because of the associated stigma. I cannot count the number of times I have been told, “Well you are the genius…”

And if we disclose our gifts as I am now – we become instant targets and are dismissed as being arrogant, cocky, full of ourselves, full of shit…

Just as I am right now…

Now that I have many years of life experience, I have addressed and overcome many of my social skill issues. I like to think that I was – and still am – something of a champion for the underdogs. I am learning how to use my gifts for the betterment of humankind.

My mom often told me that everyone was weird – that it was natural to feel that way – but I knew that I was so weird that the weirdos thought I was weird. Upon thinking about it, Mom was pretty well an outlier in her own way as well.

But still, I am a weirdo…