I’ve always felt like I was weird.
I’m goofy and dorky and awkward. I make funny faces when I’m supposed to be a composed guy in his 20’s, not yet in a serious relationship i can’t explain why but for that reason i always thought i had to be more than serious maybe then i would get a girlfriend who’d actually commit herself in a serious relationship with me, i spend most of my time on social media rather than engaging with my peers, i actually have more facebook friends and twitter followers than real life friends, all that and much more.
Sometimes people stared at me, pointing and whispering things to themselves that seem to be negative talk about me, others shamelessly tell it to my face.
I haven’t completed school yet like the other people in my circle. I had different experiences and I didn’t know things that other people knew about. I didn’t know how to play hopscotch or jacks, I knew how to play “kasonko, kwepena, bulada, dulu” hide and seek being the only game with an English name i have played – those were the kinds of games we played growing up around girls and an under age single mother.
I was super insecure about that. I felt like I’d never fit in anywhere, i felt like everyone around me was better in some way or the other.
But I’ve realized that the vast majority of people feel like they are different for one reason or another. They think that they don’t fit in. That they have to hide something about themselves, so that other people will accept them.
But the problem with that fear is that it isolates us and keeps us in situations that stifle our talent and true purpose.
That thing that makes us feel weird is actually really important. That thing can make us powerful. Because if we can learn to embrace that, we can do anything. If we embrace our weirdness, we can be our true selves and bring our own unique perspective and experience to the world.
Hiding and feeling ashamed just doesn’t work. The desperate desire to fit in only makes us invisible.
I was always terrified to share my writing because I was worried that people would tell me that I sucked…and I didn’t know if I could recover from that. But I realized that I’d never be happy if I didn’t at least attempt a thing I was most passionate about. It got to the point where it was more painful to stifle what I loved, than it was to be criticized for it.
After I started this blog — that really scary thing actually happened. There were some people who told me I sucked. Anonymous Huffington Post commenters said all the terrible things I worried people would say, that I was washed up and irrelevant and a bad writer and it made me cry and feel miserable.
It felt like a punch in the face.
But it didn’t kill me.
Because, actually, it didn’t matter what they thought of me. There are plenty of other things those people can read on the internet. There are lots of things about cats wearing sunglasses and endless Buzzfeed lists — and I hope they enjoy those more than my work. Eventually, I stopped crying and went back to my desk and I wrote more. Because my job is to write. Because it’s none of my business what those other people think about me – it matters most what I think about me.
That’s what happens when you embrace your weird.
When you get comfortable with your weird, then you no longer feel the need to pick on someone else for theirs.
In embracing my weird, today I wrote this article and you’re reading it. I’ve given talks at my former school and some conferences at campus. I’ve brought to light everything that I was once ashamed of and seems like some people actually love me for who i really am, not the act and others of course hate me for being me. I talked about how I lost hope at some point in life and that i have more facebook friends and twitter followers than real life friends, that I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, name it.
I’ve gotten to the point where I would rather fail than quit – and that’s when cool things become possible.