From a young age, I have always known and felt like I was different from people my age or people in general, if I am honest. I wasn’t your typical teenage youth; I was far from that. I never played football, never watched it, loosely supported Arsenal, and only cared for social activities a little.

You could ask me what the offside rule was, and I wouldn’t know a damn thing – but ask me about a film and a TV series, and I could tell you the writer, director and actors, along with the previous things they have been in. There have been times when I was younger and tried to fit into the narrative of what a typical teenager and young adult should do, but it ended up mentally and physically draining.

I remember when someone first told me that I was different, and I was confused and automatically got defensive about it. My first instinct was to get offended. I used to think people wouldn’t like me if I was different – this was when I cared what people thought about me (ages 13-17).  Multiple times, I have been ridiculed for not liking football, especially having boys who are hardcore football fans; it was long to pretend to like it. It made me feel left out whenever they would link up to play football because I didn’t know how to play and didn’t want to play.

My preference was basketball, any chance to play basketball, I took it. When my family got Sky, I would record NBA matches (I would never stay up to watch the matches; the time difference in the UK was crazy). I would even go as far as to say I was probably one of the best in my school (humbly). My love for the sport dwindled when my school finally got a team (the last year and a half of school), and the PE teacher chose the football team to play. To say I was fuming about it is an understatement.

Being ridiculed for not participating in most things got annoying, so I tried my best not to be different by any means necessary. Things like staying in, watching shows and films, playing games, etc. I cut it down till I hardly did it. The things that brought me genuine happiness and peace at a time when my life started to get rocky and became a rollercoaster.

Naturally, I would say that I am introverted; I keep myself to myself and don’t care to be around people that much – I love my own company. I also find myself extraverted because sometimes I am the opposite. I can spark a conversation with anyone from all walks of life as if I have known them my whole life – but that came as I got older and found comfort within myself.

Getting older made me realise there is nothing wrong with being how I am; there is nothing wrong with being different and being yourself – if you aren’t hurting anyone, why should we care what other people think is weird or odd, simply because it is not what people “typically” do.

I am at an age where I don’t care what anyone has to say about anything concerning my life or preferences. Anything anyone says to me about being different, I embrace it. I own it with my heart and call myself a ‘Different Breed’. I am a Different Breed and wouldn’t want it any other way.

We live in a world where everyone tries to copy something from someone else, whether it is a trend, fashion, or culture when in reality, all that is needed is just to be yourself. No matter how daunting that may be. No matter what you think, people will think. There is only one you in this world; learn to love yourself and embrace the differences within yourself. That is something that I have had to learn about myself and something I have had to implement into my thoughts and feelings. Be unapologetically you, and things will be just fine.

There is nothing wrong with being different.