Wednesday, June 22, 2011

That I might be a platypus person - someone God made in a random mood

The platypus is a weird and unique animal. I can understand the confusion its discoverers would have had in classifying it. Is it a duck or an otter? A mammal or a reptile. Would you be more likely to find it in the water or on the land? They finally decided to call it a mammal and classify it as a monotreme. Perhaps the platypus is the animal God created in a frugal mood, when He'd finished everything else and just wanted to put something together from the parts He had left over. Maybe it is a sign of our Creator's random sense of humour, or simply a message that not everything can be easily classified.

Do you know, I've been similarly confused when I've been thinking about my own role in this world. When people have tried to pin me down and ask me what sort of person I am, I haven't been able to tell them. Emotional books, films or events which seem to draw tears from the majority may leave me dry-eyed while a simple, throw-away remark has me sobbing like a baby, embarrassing my family because they can't understand why I'm so touched. I used to think I have some characteristics of a hermit but I definitely value some sort of steady social input. I also used to think it would be nice to be an intellectual, but I'm definitely not one of those. Intellectuals frighten me a bit, yet I do like to spend a lot of time thinking and learning. Like other girls, I used to think it would be nice to be a model when I was in my teens, yet I was too short and even though I was anorexic at the time, my bones themselves were still too chunky. Recently I bought a book about discovering your chief spiritual gift from a list of seven, and I got frustrated because I couldn't fit myself comfortably into any one of them, although I could certainly place other people I know.

I always wanted to be the sort of person who fits into a niche. People who give themselves some alternative label such as 'hippy' or 'emo' have a distinct style and seem to know what shops to go to. They all look 'different' in the same way. How I would have loved a label during my life's journey, but I'm not a yuppy, hippy, yummy-mummy, eccentric or anything in between. I'm not even a 'random' (unless you could count this post as something like that).

Once I almost talked myself in to placing myself and my son, Logan, into the category of 'eccentric' because they appealed to me. My husband pointed out that we definitely aren't, because we lack many of their characteristics, including one crucial one. "Eccentrics don't care what people think of them but you and Logan definitely care what people think." So, in the end I had to call myself "weird, style-less nothing-person!" I don't seem to fit anywhere and defy definition.

So I can relate to the platypus. The introduction to the book of Ecclesiastes in my Message Bible says, "Unlike the animals, who seem quite content to be simply themselves, we humans are always looking for ways to be more than or other than what we find ourselves to be." So maybe, like the platypus, my wisest course is simply to be happy being my patchwork self, appreciating the people and things, books and activities that make me smile. I guess the most valuable and acceptable gift we can offer to God and others is to be grateful and content with the way He's made us and all the good things we find in our lives.

We might as well put a good spin on our self-descriptions too. Instead of "weird, style-less nothing person" I can be a lover of beauty, a free spirit, an appreciator of good things, a seeker of interesting things and theories. (And of course there are always the old standards such as 'homeschooling mum' and 'fiction author' and 'Aussie woman' to fall back on.)

I'm wondering whether I'm the only platypus person out there, or whether others have considered themselves "platypus people" too. Let me know if you think this describes you too. I'd be interested. Perhaps this thought is more widespread than we all realize. And let's celebrate because after all, our namesakes are considered unique and cute enough to place on a twenty-cent coin.


  1. To be created from God's frugality! Now that is cool. I may think of myself as a playtpus after this too! Good to get to know you a little better Paula. Looking forward to more :)

  2. You know, I am yet to find one person who fits into the categories seemingly decided by our culture, without trying to fit into one of them. I think if we were all honest with ourselves we would accept they we are all unique,and hand crafted by the master crafter. I think we would then be more likely to forge ahead in the tasks God's designed us to do.
    But I must say Paula, you certainly are one very creative,intuitive and dazzling platypus.

  3. Nicole, I think you're right. One thing everyone does seem to share in common is that instinct to somehow conform. I think the school system is partially responsible. I love the idea of matching your kind words :)
    Dorothy, it's great to hear from you and I hope you do return. I'm looking forward to reading your book when it's ready, too.

  4. I see myself as a writer, but then people ask 'what do you write?' But we are all humans and are different. No one is exactly the same as we come from different circumstances and have different personality traits. You do personality tests, and you can see yourself in all of them (usually). Just face the fact that not being able to be labelled makes you all the more interesting.

  5. Hi Melanie,
    I think you're right. And I like the thought of not being pinned down to a label makes a person interesting in their own right.

  6. Definitely a platypus. I never feel completely like I fit in with anyone...except other platypuses (platypi?). I guess I might lean toward eccentric. As I get older, I find I care less about what others think of me and what I'm doing. It's too hard to live up to others' expectations, you know?

    Peace and Laughter!

  7. Hey Paula, why not call yourself "one in a million"? hehe We can all fit into that category. :) You know, I've never really been fussed about what group I fit into (except perhaps in my childhood). I am me. End of story. I guess that makes me a Platypus too, eh? LOL

  8. Thanks Cristina and Amanda. You know, when I think about it, I'm sure fellow platypuses (or platypi) are some of the most interesting people I know.

  9. I now have the attitude of .... don't put me in a box - drives me nuts when people tell me I'm a xx type personality... I stopped doing those tests a while ago ... I always seemed to have a conflicting personality ... I'd rather be unique - platypus are unique

  10. Michelle, I'm with you now. I wish I hadn't wasted so much time in years gone by wanting a label.

  11. Hi Paula
    As much as I hate labels and try not to label others I've always wanted to fit in somewhere.

    My kids have left home so I'm not a single mum nor a homeschooling mum any more. I'm not currently able to work due to illness so I'm not a worker either, I'm studying part time so I'm a student but there's more to me than that. I too am learning that I'm not defined by what I do but who I am. I'm a platypus made up of all different parts, yay!!!

  12. I think you're coming from a similar position as mine, Kylie. When you think about it, platypus people are interested, well-rounded people.


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