“You can’t grow without acknowledging that we are all made up from the weirdness that we try to hide from the rest of the world.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
In my July 6th newsletter, I included a flash fiction story about misfits, and I can’t get the word out of my mind.
I feel camaraderie with the word whenever I hear it—in my life, I’ve been a part of a great many groups but belonged in few. I don’t say this for the pity, nor do I begrudge anyone any eye rolls, because I look at it as a scientist would study a moth’s wingspan; interesting, noteworthy, but with distance.
Ultimately I’ve come to terms with my tendency towards being a misfit. I have a strange, slightly macabre sense of humor and an ingrained need for equanimity that makes social interaction difficult at times. I don’t like gossip, and petty frustrations can get on my nerves.
These traits have leaked into every aspect of my life, even to my reading and writing habits. I’ve all but given up on bookstore trips, as my tastes lean towards the ‘odd’ and quirky’, which isn’t really a category (it should be!) Writing summaries for my own fiction is near impossible, and categorizing it is always a challenge as I bounce between archetypes.
One of the most difficult things in my life has been seeing this as the strength it is instead of a weakness. Now, for all my self-confidence issues, the way my brain processes ideas differently than others is something I can take pride in. A lot of us are taught that in order to be intelligent we need to breed conformity, but our ability to innovate relies on our ability to deviate from standard ideas and create new ones from those foundations. Creativity relies on the misfits, the weirdos, the strange ones, the people who see the world from a different perspective.
So to my fellow misfits, I want to give you permission to have pride in the way you look at the world. Be joyful for the parts of you that make you different, the parts of you that make you who you are.
You’re in good company.