For the longest time I believed that there were 2 camps in life. One is where the normal people are and the other is where the weirdos hangout. I didn't want to belong to either of them.
You see, the weirdos were branded as archaists, extremists, dirty (unhygienic) and OTT by the normal people and the “normies” were branded as sheep, mundane, sell-outs and puppets by the weirdo's. Neither of these appealed to me.
As a creative, I tended to fall somewhat in the weirdo category.
I majored in Art and Design in college.
I experimented with what I wore.
I have been every possible hair colour since the age of 18.
I think differently to most people.
Who wants to be the same as everyone right?
As a realist, I also gravitated towards normalcy.
I analyse everything.
I enjoy problem solving, logical thinking and numbers.
I was fairly good at sports.
I liked a lot of mainstream music.
Who wants to stand out like a sore thumb from everyone right?
I struggled with a strong push and pull between being likable and part of the group, and being a trailblazer or visionary.
As a kid and teenager I embraced it and wore it all as a badge of honor.
I was unique! I was independent! I derived glory from being different and unexpected! I caused a lot of anxiety in my parents I am sure!
But as an adult, that pride shifted.
The shift was years in the making, it wasn't an overnight switch.
My independence was replaced with dependence. My uniqueness was replaced with a desire to assimilate. The glory from being unexpected became shame from being different.
This shift was influenced by (intentionally or not) the people I surrounded myself with, the industries and work I pursued, and the habitual thinking I had created for myself.
This change in perception affected every part of my life.
School. Workplace. Relationships. Family. Hobbies.
I even denied myself some interests and passions because of the fear of what others might think.
I didn't want to appear too far in the weirdo camp for fear of losing my normal-factor, and I also didn't want to be perceived too far in the normal camp for fear of losing my creative credibility.
I found it paralyzing to give 100% to anything because the moment I did, the other side of me would crave my attention, comments and judgement would be made by people, doubt and fear would set in and there just wasn't enough room in my life for it all.
Sadly, it got to the point that I was internally quite tortured by being called “weird”, “freak”,”strange”, “a nut” or “a dork”. I had convinced myself that these things were negative and they were the reason I wasn't able to be accepted, or fit in, by people.
Which then left me disturbed that I was unable to be accepted unless I changed who I was. But by changing who I was I become a part of the group! I would get invites to hang out and go to events with them – as long as I wasn't weird.
And so the dark spiral goes down and down.
What childish and immature thinking right?
It took some pretty major life events for me to realise that denying both sides of me was stifling my soul.
It took me 30 odd years to understand, and know in my bones, that there is obviously not 2 camps in life. There is no normal. Everyone is a mixture of a variety of uniqueness. Everyone has their own brand of weirdo.
It took a significant amount of pain, but it was the right thing to do, when I actively changed my social circles to better align with who I am and what I want from life.
It took some therapy, some ups and downs and some courage to face the fear and unknown.
But you know what?
It was the best thing I could have ever done.
I now understand that it is not about fitting in.
It is about accepting your weaknesses and working to better them.
It is about knowing your strengths and playing to them.
It is about finding your passions and enjoying them. (No matter if you are good, bad or ugly at them).
It is about curating your tribe; those who are your kind of weird.
It is about approaching life with love and gratitude, even during the rough times.
It is about allowing yourself to be who you are – regardless of the opinions of others.
Newsflash: They aren't talking about you or judging you anyway. They are too focused on themselves.
So go on, get out there and embrace the weirdo you have bubbling under your skin.
Are you a creatively minded person who's not interested in conforming to the status quo? Great! The Maverick Creative Academy Community is the place for you. Join other weirdos and let's define life by our own rules and take back control of how we look, how we feel and, how we express ourselves to experience a more fulfilling and authentic lifestyle! Claim your spot today!