Much of my life I have felt out of place in the world and have sadly spent most of that time trying to fit in. The amount of energy I’ve devoted to try and become someone I’m not has taken its toll and to change or hide something in me that is part of my nature now seems absolutely insane.
This world is made up of all sorts of people. However, society seems to celebrate only those whose nature leans toward the extroverted, outgoing and competitive. I must now state that there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is a lack of balance. Folks like me, who lean more toward an introverted, sensitive nature feel as if there is something wrong with them and begin to hide important parts of themselves in order to fit in. With the western world designed around how we look not how we feel, we’ve been taught to do just about anything to escape uncomfortable feelings. This creates a desire to stick to the norm and be like everyone else as a way to avoid ridicule, shame and rejection.
This game of pretending we aren’t ALL magical, sparkly creatures who have complex feelings and splendid ways of moving in the world, comes with a high price. When we ignore who we are and stuff down our unique and wonderful natures we begin to trudge through a world of boring gray hues, never knowing the real person sitting right next to us. My point is not to create division between introverts and extroverts or to suggest that one way is better than another, only to suggest that things are out of balance AND that it’s okay if you don’t feel like you fit. Embrace the parts you feel go against the grain because I’m telling you now, you are not alone. The secret is we all have misfit parts in us and maybe part of restoring balance to our world is to be okay with them and share them with others.
My favorite conversations always include shared stories of weirdness. I love hearing about someone’s strange stuff and become instantly hooked! Someone told me recently of their great love of hanging out in the seasonal aisle at drug stores. She confessed looking at the marked down holiday items gave her a feeling of comfort. (YES!) I also know someone who is intrigued with canned goods and condiments, so much so that they sometimes pick out a favorite and sleep with it. (THAT is what I’m talking about.) Maybe you have a secret pen collection or an intense love for 70’s lite rock, whatever it is I urge you to share it! My hunch is that by sharing the things we think make us weird or unlovable could be just what brings us closer, while adding vibrant color to an otherwise gray world.
(In the studio I’ve painted an alien - all black because she embodies all the colors. It’s not the first time this has happened however it is the first time she’s arrived on the page with her hands on her hips and a wide smile on her face. She’s not hiding and encourages me to do the same.)