The moment I decided to declare myself a storyteller is the moment my creativity began to pour through me once again. The fertile void is now a waterfall of energy cascading out of me. So today I'm going to share another powerful declaration with you: I am a weirdo, the weirdest of weird, and my weird is my wonderful. I believe the same is true for everyone. It is the things that make us weird that make us wonderful because they make us, US! So why do we hold so tightly to these parts?
One of my nicknames growing up was WO which stood for Weird One and I'm reclaiming it! It was given to me by my stepfather who used teasing as a point of connection. It was a nickname worn with shame though I happily played along accepting the crumbs of love he sprinkled for me.
Teasing and jokes were both essential threads woven into the fabric of my family with little relational skills for authentic connection. Jokes served to unite us and to divide us-the passive aggression sometimes so strong it could cut you like a thousand shards of glass.
Sometimes when I couldn’t handle the jokes from my stepfather or from my siblings I would turn to my mother for protection. Instead, she would tell me that the only reason they were picking on me was because I was so sensitive. She believed that if I toughened up the teasing would stop. This is problematic for so many reasons…
+ it invalidated my experience and left me questioning myself and my reality (this is a common response when children are routinely gaslit)
+ it lead me to believe that my sensitivity was a liability instead of one of my greatest assets
+it placed blame on me for the harmful actions of others (and this pattern repeated itself through so much of my life as I happily accepted blame for harm caused to me)
+it resulted in me armoring my heart to keep out pain which it turns out also kept out JOY
In order to survive the teasing, I joined in and so began a lifetime of self- deprecating humor that was really a form of self-abuse. If I could beat them to it then maybe it wouldn't sting so much. Who relates?
Because I learned that teasing was a form of connection I would attract friendships and relationships that reinforced jokes followed by the cycle of hurt and self-doubt. And I participated in it. It was, after all, just jokes, right? WRONG.
Fear of humiliation kept me from daring to show so many parts of myself-most especially the parts that felt weird.
The truth is that I am weird. So incredibly weird that it scares me sometimes. So weird (at least in a culture that praises conformity over wild self-expression) that I have swallowed so many impulses, thoughts and ideas throughout my life. I'm not unique this way.
On top of being weird, I am deeply sensitive. But, my sensitivity was never the issue. The real issue was that others didn't honor it and therefore didn't teach me to tend to it. Sensitivity was talked about solely as a weakness and a deficit that I should work to fix.
And for context my parents were 19 when they married and 29 by the time they had 4 kids. They put themselves through college while working with 4 mouths to feed. Our emotional health did not rank high on the priorities. And even if it did, they lacked the relational and emotional skills to nourish and support the healthy development of ours. It was easier to teach us to fit in then to resource us to be ourselves.
Weirdness and sensitivity, when well cared for, serve as our greatest assets. Our weird, when worn loudly and proudly, signals to the other brave weirdos where we are so they can find us.
In a room full of misfit toys, black sheep, cycle breakers, truth tellers, brave dreamers, I am at home. And I only have to guard my sensitivity with those who still see theirs as weakness. Because just as they invalidate their own, they invalidate mine. Turns out, I only feel weird in circles of people who are still hiding themselves, still striving to fit in because inside they don't feel as though they belong.
It wasn't until a JourneyDance training where we danced, cried, shook out our trauma that melted into waves of euphoria that I knew I'd found my people. If you still feel weird in the circles you keep maybe it's because you haven't yet found your people who are letting their full selves be seen. It's hard to celebrate the weirdness and wild self expression in another when we are still rejecting our own. Which is why the most creative and brilliant people are often criticized the loudest.
As I share, what threads of my story ring true for you?
What's the weirdest thing about you?
And what messages did you receive about this?
What holds you back from showing up more fully in your life?
The world needs your weird, your wild ideas, your tender heart and the FULL expression of who you are. Being seen takes practice so please add your voice below and share what's coming through you as you sit with my story and these questions….
In the spirit of revealing our weird together….my weirdest, wildest dream is to have a one women show revealing the stories I've collected on this journey of life…a mix of spoken word, dance, comedy, tragedy and deep reverence…there I said it!