Most of my friends are misfits, mavericks, and wonderfully weird. When I say ‘most’ I mean ‘all’, but some of them have not accepted their fate yet.
It is important to allow your friends to keep their illusions, the only time I intervene is when it becomes a delusion. If one of my friends thinks their car can fly, who am I to deny it, maybe it can, but if they decide to drive the car off the edge of a cliff to prove it, then it is high time for a bubble-bursting. I know it’s selfish, and you should always encourage people to follow their dreams, but if the car doesn’t fly I would lose someone I love very dearly, and a part of me would be lost with them. Mind you, most of my friends are very independent spirits, and have impenetrable shields around their bubbles, so they would most likely shrug their shoulders, rev the engine, and shoot off into the blue yonder with a ‘going to do it anyway’ wave. And their car would probably fly.
The trait I admire the most in my friends is their unnatural talent to be themselves. By unnatural I mean extraordinary, not artificial. It takes an enormous amount of courage to express who you are, especially as we are all constantly bombarded with messages, subliminal and blatant, to be someone other than who we are. Society relies on conformity to keep everyone in their place and maintain the status quo.
Mind you outcasts are very valuable, they are used by the mainstream to create a sense of belonging. Be one of us, you don’t want to be one of them. And it works because we all have an instinctual urge to find a tribe to which we belong, who will welcome us with open arms and say ‘you’re safe now, you’re with us, you are no longer alone, we will protect you’.
There are many benefits to belonging to a group. Safety in numbers, special favours, acceptance, support, and a plethora of other pleasurable things. There are also drawbacks. You may have to sacrifice the me for the we, or parts of the I for the us. Compromise is usually the term used. Fair enough. If the compromises you make are not at the expense of your own happiness, your own individual identity, then it is not much of a sacrifice at all. But if the compromises you make means throwing onto the flames of belonging all that which defines you, makes you you, and your life yours, then perhaps you have joined the wrong club.
I’ve spent a great deal of time and effort trying to locate my family. Not my blood relatives, I’ve spent a great deal of time and effort trying to lose them. I’ve dipped my toe into oceans of groups to see if the water was too hot, too cold, or just right. My toe has been burned, frozen, crushed, bruised, and, once, it was almost severed. It did not find the perfect temperature until it stopped dipping. Once I accepted that I would never find a home for myself, my family of kindred spirits emerged from their hiding places and found me.
My friends being who they are, without compromise, inspires me to be all that I am, without sacrificing the bits considered bad so I can belong. And I am very grateful to them for their continued support. They have helped me to see that the bad bits are sometimes the very best part of you, you just need to view them from the proper perspective, through the love-filled eyes of a friend who does not need you to be who you are not for them to love you, who, in fact, would be horrified if you tried to hold any of your crazy, untameable nature back from them, and who not only supports but encourages you to dance to the beat of your own drum, even if the sound emitted is cacophonous and the dancing is herky-jerky.
We are always being urged to do things, achieve things, to make ourselves count, make our mark on the world, create a legacy, to be somebody. But we already are somebody. Just because no one else recognises that fact doesn’t make it any less true. We do things, achieve things, count, make marks, and pass on legacies every day. Just because they don’t have an official seal of approval from the rest of society, doesn’t make them less valuable or important. Some of the greatest people in the world are invisible, but their presence is felt very strongly by one and all.
Be who you are. Easier said than done, but so liberating and incredibly addictive. When you are alive with the spirit of your true nature, it is infectious. So embrace yourself, the you that you are, your fabulous faults, fantastic flaws, audacious abilities, the glorious good, and the bodacious bad. Being yourself is an unnatural talent, go and infect some people with it!
Go for it, infect me, share some thoughts, words, about yourself. Who are you?