Turing, whose work cracking the German military codes was vital to the British war effort against Nazi Germany, was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency with a 19-year-old man, was chemically castrated, and two years later died from cyanide poisoning in an apparent suicide.
Stay weird, stay different
This article was not intended to be about Turing and his struggles, however I do recommend that you watch the movie and understand his story. I’d also recommend reading the Enigma book. It’s important for more people to learn about his life and appreciate his contribution to our world. However, what I wanted to discuss was the Imitation Game’s writer, Graham Moore and his powerful Oscar acceptance speech, “Stay weird, stay different” (around the 32 second mark of the video).
When Graham was 16, he wanted to kill himself because he felt different and didn’t belong.
I’m sure that there are many people who have felt a similar overwhelming sense of displacement. I never really thought of myself as ‘normal’. Far from it. Actually, I have always cringed at the word “normal”, because it reminded of status quo and simply accepting things as they are. In life, we unfortunately create our own version of normal from the preconceived values and beliefs of others.
But who are the normal ones?
There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. Like androids, they are pre-programmed to accept only that which they are comfortable with.
If you look at yourself in the mirror and feel like you don’t fit in or just wish you were accepted for who you are – just remember what Graham Moore said, “Stay weird, stay different and when it’s your turn [experiencing success], please send the same message to the next person.” Use your uniqueness as a strength because the right opportunities will be available to you – maybe not now, but they will come – one day. And when it does, stay true to yourself, be proud of who you are, work harder than anyone else – and create the future you deserve.
Father of computer science Alan Turing issued royal pardon 59 years after his death