…Be so god damn good at it that the world can’t deny you.
(I suppose that’ll be my White Lotus Sermon, and like the Buddha, I’ll have to explain to anyone that didn’t immediately get the point, which probably is a good thing, as I don’t always immediately get the point myself.)
Our world, well our species anyway and this country – America – for damn sure, exist in a constant tension between conformity and individuality.
Be you VS. Do what is best for your community, (ie: conformity).
(BTW, I think this is a false dichotomy, but that’s the subject of an entirely different post.)
I was told, from the time I could recall, by parents, TV, books, etc… that all I had to do was, “Just be yourself.”
I’ll bet serious money you’ve heard the same thing enough times to classify it as a noxious cliche.
Two problems with that conditioning:
- The system we’re raised in appears engineered to produce standard-issue citizens, reliable as McDonald’s hamburgers – and just as boring.
- What if who we are conflicts with “the way things are”?
Because, if you’re at all out of the ordinary, our society tries to grind off your rough edges so you will, in fact, fit into that round hole.
And, at the same time, all the people we hold up as examples, all the people we honor – as a society – have, in no small part, definitively not adhered to the prevailing inculcation of the age.
And so, existing in this weird, double-bind sort of society, we come to know one thing for certain:
There is no comfortable middle.
If you’re weird, you have to be seriously weird. Entertainingly weird. Usefully weird.
Because, if you’re just a little weird, people think you’re off, wrong somehow.
Maybe they avoid you.
They definitely don’t invite you to all the hip parties.
(Hip Parties? People still say that, right?)
If you’re weird, you’ll have a difficult time working in any corporate setting. Or making your way in standardized schools. Or making time with whatever gender you prefer to be romantic with…
Unless you’re real good at hiding it.
Because that’s how the world we’ve created treats anything that deviates from the norm.
A standardized society can not stand someone who doesn’t meet the standard…
…Unless they blow it so far out of the park that the standard-folk can call it something admirable, yet notably unreachable, like genius.
You don’t have to take my word for it.
Spend some time observing the culture you belong to.
It won’t take long.
And then you’ll know.
If you’re weird, you can hide it. Many of us learned to, for too many fucking years.
Some of us still have to.
But what kind of life is that?
It is something terrible to live your life drenched in that low level of fear.
To never feel like you’re ever truly accepted.
So, until the society changes – meaning WE change it – the best way to live your authentic self is to be bombastic about it.
Be loud, proud.
Show them why you love it.
Show them why they should love the weirdness.
Most of all, show them why it’s good for everyone.
…and if you can get paid for it, all the better.
When we’re out loud about our weirdness, it lets other people borrow the sensation. It helps them – especially the ones in hiding – find the love for it in themselves.
And maybe it helps them love their own weirdness enough to start to share it with the rest of us.
And that makes us all better.
So, if like me, you’re a Bona Fide Weirdo, be good at it.
Until next time…