The closest friend I ever had once said to me, “You have what people want.”
“Are you drunk?” I asked.
But he meant it.
It took a long time, until recently, for me to see that he miiiight be right.
I’ve been hiding for years. Most of my life, really.
I didn’t share much of my writing. I didn’t like to even talk to people about what I was working on. Unless I knew someone really well, I kept quiet about anything I thought might be seen as … unusual. Which was pretty much everything about me.
When I started thinking about launching this blog, the idea of putting this much writing, this much ME, out there in the world terrified me. It still terrifies me. I have no idea how other people do it all the time and seem so cavalier about it.
Buuut I am doing it now because I see that the fear isn’t what matters. The getting out there is. The connecting with the other weirdos is. The being myself and relaxing about it is. Making my way toward doing what I love for a living is, and getting out there is the only way.
And anyway, a ton of great stuff happens when you stop being afraid to be weird:
You have more pride and self-esteem.
You stay true instead of hiding, and that makes you feel better. And do better. You achieve greater things because you’re driven by passion instead of fear.
Your weirdness makes you stand out, and that’s a GOOD thing.
If you’re focusing on the negativity that might come your way, you’re doing it wrong. There may be some of that, and you know what? That’s fine. It’s GOOD, actually, because it turns out that people who are odd and OWN it are more attractive than conventional people.
OKCupid founder Christian Rudder writes about this in his book Dataclysm — women on OKCupid who were unconventional-looking had haters, but they also got more dates, because the people who liked them really liked them — and liked the idea that other people might not go for them. It made the shared relationship they might have that much more special.
You are not boring.
When you deny your quirks, you blandify yourself.
(No, blandify is not a word. Or, it was not a word. It is now. As in, to make something boring. Blandify. Srsly, it makes perfect sense.)
When you blandify yourself, you appeal to no one. You have no sense of humor. You have no opinions. You have no thoughts. You are a robot. Don’t be a robot.
(Unless you ARE a robot, in which case, you completely belong here.)
You are doing things.
If somebody thinks you’re weird, it’s probably because you said something they never heard before. People get verreh confused by this. They are used to hearing the same chit over and over, so when you come out all NEW-like, they flinch. But that’s what the world NEEDS.
Steve Jobs said all kindsa chit nobody believed. So did Copernicus. Ayn Rand? Yeah, they still don’t believe her, but they are starting to …
Doesn’t matter when or where — creative, thinking people are always outliers. So keep thinking, creating, and being not like everybody else, and …
People can truly connect with you.
People want to connect. Everybody’s looking for their OWN weirdnesses in other people. When someone finds theirs in you, they will bond with you. Not everyone will get what you’re about, and that’s okay. Just focus your attention on the ones who do, and leave the haters behind.
At the end of the day, authenticity IS cool. Plus, it feels good. Who wants to be wearing a mask and hiding all the time? It’s so much more fun and healthy to be who we are.
I’m an outlier in every way — take your pick. I’m a writer. (Whoever heard of a writer who wasn’t weird? We LIVE in our HEADS.) I’m an atheist. I’m an introvert and a Highly Sensitive Person. I like museums full of medical specimens and books about the history of surgery. I like dressing up in corsets and blue lipstick, but I also like rappelling down waterfalls. I don’t like dogs. I don’t want to have children. I like to eat liver and bone marrow and thyroid glands. Creepy crawly bugs? I’m down, whether it’s for eating or studying or hanging on the wall or what. Running? Let’s do that barefoot. I feed my cat raw meat. I’m a laissez-faire capitalist. I love art that is both creepy and cute. I could keep going.
And the thing is, once I said, hey, Imma start a blog and write some e-books and stuff and just be ME on the Internet, people started ASKING if they could help. If they could join me. What could they do to get in on the good stuff? They snuck in to like the Spunky Misfit Girl Facebook page before I even told them about it.
People have been asking to join me, in different forms, my whole life — just as my friend said.
But I wasn’t listening and I missed out on a whole lot of awesome — because I was too scared of how weird I am.
Don’t be scared. Embrace your weird.
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~Maya Angelou
“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” ~Aristotle