Embrace your weird

Me. At my wedding.

Me. At my wedding.

I’ve always felt like I was weird.

I’m goofy and dorky and awkward. I make faces like that when I’m supposed to be a composed bride.

Sometimes people stare at me. There is pointing. And whispering.

I didn’t go to school the way most other people did. 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 poker and craps – those were the kinds of games we played on set.

I was super insecure about that. I liked my job as an actor, I enjoyed working, but I also felt ashamed because it made me different.

I felt like I’d never fit in anywhere.

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 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, I wrote my book. I started giving talks at colleges, high schools and conferences. I brought to light everything that I was once ashamed of. I talked about how I never graduated from high school, that characters in books were my best friends, that I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks.

I’ve gotten to the point where I would rather fail than quit – and that’s when cool things become possible.

——–

(By the way, this is pretty much what I talk about when I do workshops and talks. If you think your school/conference/company might want to hear more about embracing your weird – contact me – LisaJakub108@gmail.com)
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59 thoughts on “Embrace your weird

  1. Awesome. It’s all about the weird, the things that make us different, that brings out the beauty in the world, in humanity. Not really sure what those anonymous Huffington Post commenters are all about. It’s like they’ve taken it upon themselves to criticize because I guess they think of themselves as critics, like it’s their job. I for one have enjoyed the writings that you share on this blog. For all of the beauty in our differences, we are also united in our vulnerabilities and that is also such a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  2. When I watched you in movies I always felt you and I were very similar (I don’t know what made me think that!). Now that I know a bit more about the real you, I totally relate to most of what you tell us!

    Thank you for posts like this one. “Embrace your weird” is one of the best advices I’ve ever been given 🙂

  3. Well having read Huffington Post, they are mediocre on a good day. What is that saying about living in glass houses? About being washed up, If you put your name out there, at least 3 studios would be trying to see how they could capitalize on your name and face. It’s a choice to act or not act and has nothing to do with washed up. I enjoyed Tropic Thunder, I think it embraced the “weirdness” of actors in a way that shows the talent and the effects of the industry on people, and we all laughed. The interesting thing about your blogs are they are relevant, honest and good for both the writer and the readers. Embrace your weird, I try to on a regular basis. You are so right about it. I hope you take a shot at fiction one day, Would love to see what you would produce. On the flip side, playing jacks today, while i know how, adds very little to my week. I have the memory and it’s there with many others.. but i have no idea how to play poker and not really sure what craps is. I have heard of it but no clue to the concept. The good news is you remember and probably have positive thoughts about those games and those who played with you. Its not the game, its the memory of the fun. Keep writing it makes my day.

    • “relevant, honest and good for both the writer and the readers” — I don’t think I could have summed up my writing goals any better than this. Thank you so much.

  4. Lisa,

    I seriously doubt that you are weird or anything. I suspect you are a very smart woman. But in any case thanks for being so accessible.

    Tim

  5. Lisa,
    I think it’s very interesting you think you’re weird. Because I actually AM weird and have been for pretty much my entire life. To me you were that hot girl from “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Independence Day”. I was pretty superficial for quite awhile, so I presumed that someone who’s attractive couldn’t be weird. I don’t think that anymore. And I don’t care what anyone thinks about my weirdness. Or anyone else’s. I’m embracing my weird and knowing others are weird, helps. Also I have anxiety and occasional panic attacks. It helps to not be alone.

    • Isn’t it amazing what we assume about other people? I would have been shocked (and still am) thinking that anyone thought of me as a “hot girl.” Well done embracing your weird. I’m so glad you feel less alone.

  6. This is so me! Thank you for letting me know I am not the only one. I wish I were young enough like you to reap the successes intertwined in my failures but I have never gotten that far – yet.

    Maybe this will be my year too. How scary and exciting.

    You go girl! I’ll be following close behind.

    Sincerely,
    A very very old weirdo

  7. Thanks for this great article. This gives me a lot of hope (or more correctly: you give me a lot of hope) ! Plus, it encourages reconciliation with oneself.
    You can truly be proud of you and all you have already done 🙂

  8. And who are the asses who said your writing was bad? I’d rather be a writer/doer than an armchair internet critic any day 😀 So easy to criticize, so much harder to create…

  9. Insulted by the Huffington Post? Sort of an inverse kind of honor, really, given the standard of thinking (and writing) at the Huffpost. It’s become a kind of online dumpster fire lately. So, good for you.

    And when you think about it, who do you really need to be happy with? Yourself, the people you love, your ideas and ideals. This notion of somehow having to please the crowd always makes me think of the wonderful scene in A Man For All Seasons where John Hurt as Richard Rich is whining that he wants to be wealthy and famous and Paul Scofield as More reminds him (in that wonderful plummy Scofied voice):
    More: Why not be a teacher? You’d be a fine teacher, perhaps a great one.
    Rich: If I was, who would know it?
    More: You, your pupils, your friends, God. Not a bad public, that.
    Indeed.

  10. I completely agree with your thoughts on this except for calling it my inner weird… The parts that make me unique I just like to think of it as my inner me. I suppose I have my inner weird (or whatever) as well, but I have always thought of myself as entirely too normal. Strange huh? But the choice of descriptor is idiosyncratic so I won’t so you’re wrong. :-p

    As for those anonymous commentators, it is easier to make yourself feel better by criticizing others whether justified or not, then it is to actually do anything to improve their own life.

    I would also hope the encouragements and positive comments helped you to realize that there are plenty of people out there who do care about, and/or enjoy hearing about, and/or learn something from what you have to say. 🙂

  11. Dear Lisa,
    What an inspiring post! You have given me the courage to “embrace my weird.”
    It’s amazing, when I think of how much energy I have spent in my life, holding down my true self, my true feelings, just because I thought it would not be acceptable to the rest of the world. But, in the end, we all have to be ourselves.
    What other choice do we have? And like you, I have realized I would rather fail at something than quit, or worse, not try.
    Take care

  12. I rarely write comments but I wanted to take the time to tell you that you do not suck at writing. Your posts make my day better and somehow, I always identify with some part of them. Have an awesome day and I’m looking forward to read your book! 🙂

  13. You know, I feel exactly like this, I am able to connect to what you have written. I just went ahead and published my third book based on science fiction romance! I didn’t care about people thinking the story weird, a male writer writing a science fiction romance, so what, be yourself, do your own thing the world can take care of itself!

  14. Love this post, Lisa! I’m completely onboard with embracing the weirdness 🙂 What’s even better than embracing your weirdness is finding someone to embrace it with you and see things in the same way as you. I have one friend in particular who springs to mind! Nothing beats a mad half hour of impressions, facial expressions and stupid voices…Ignoring the fact we are 30 – eek! Far less productive than writing, but laughter is the best medicine after all! 😉 I’m so glad you continued to write despite what the Huffington post folks and early critiques had to say. You’ve proven them all wrong, you are now ‘published!’ Eeek exciting!! I’m on book countdown!

  15. Wow, this was such a great and inspiring post!! Thanks so much for sharing, Lisa 🙂 Very informative and brave of you!

  16. You don’t suck. Your writing is quite enjoyable and one can relate to several of the topics you comment on. You also come across as a person one wouldn’t mind having in their life.

    I’m sure you know all of that. I’m sure people much more important to you have told you the very thing. Still, if random people on the internet feel free to put you down – be it now or in the past – different random people should lift you up. Because why the hell not?

    Personally, I felt motivated to do so for you gave me a somewhat new and valuable perspective on things. When you see someone in the movies or via home video, you don’t see struggle. You don’t see human beings. You see perfection. You see the result of hard work. Without ever knowing how hard it can truly be. You read about a thirteen-year-old girl suffering from a panic attack on her way to a press conference of a nine-figure movie. You watch that movie and you begin to grasp the struggle that girl went trough. Probably on that day. Possibly in that very moment that has been forever captured on film.

    And then you realize that she still went through with it. That despite her obstacles she did not break under the pressure. That despite being introverted she managed to deal with the absurd amount of people surrounding her on set. And it gives you a little bit of hope. It makes you think that maybe people are capable of more than you thought before. Maybe it’s not inevitable to be crippled by whatever issues you possess yourself. Maybe you can go out there and get it done, too. Instead of waiting for better days that will never come by themselves.

    In a way I knew most of that, of course. MANY people deal with mental issues of various gravities. If all of them would simply give up when they felt down or overwhelmed or incapable nothing would ever get done. But “knowing” and “realizing” are not the same and reassurance is important as well.

    Will this change my life? Will I now stand up and follow my dreams? Probably not. A lot more needs to enter my mind for that to happen. Like actual dreams to follow, for example.
    It most likely won’t change your life, either. And it shouldn’t. My voice shouldn’t carry much weight regarding you.

    Then again, every reassurement counts. No matter how small.

    So I would like to thank you for showing me that even when you’re struggling it’s possible to overcome the odds. And I would like to thank you for not sucking. Because you clearly don’t.

    • Whenever a reader says that they are impacted by my work – it has a lot of weight with me. It’s what keeps me coming back to the keyboard. So thank you for the beautiful comment. It is very meaningful.

  17. I have to admit, when I looked at your picture I thought “She looks JUST like that girl… but there’s no way it’s her.” Actors didn’t strike me as real people… not the way you do. Maybe it’s because you left that world or something else I can’t put my finger on. You are so likable and when you tag panic attacks you get my attention. I’m glad you got to do what you wanted. It’s great to decide what we want to do with our lives, I guess… since this is coming from the architect applying for the housekeeping jobs. I wish you all the best. Love the blog and the way you use your words. I’ll definitely follow you.

  18. I just finished reading your book and totally enjoyed it! Congratulations! I hope you keep writing and publishing 🙂

  19. I’m watching Dream House on the Horror Channel and decided to look you up and found this thought provoking blog. I’m so glad you found a way to express yourself.

    Being true to who you are is the most important thing in life. People call it weird because everyone is too busy faking a particular type of personality to suit society’s demands. But it can be so tiring. It’s nice to break free from those paradigms and release the inner you.

    I think your wedding picture is great and inspiring and shows your zest for life. It’s good to see that you protected yourself from going down the path of other child stars. You stated level headed and grounded and you did so through finding and keeping your inner child regardless of what others thought, that is very inspiring 🙂

    Mendis
    xx

  20. Reblogged this on White's Wyrd World and commented:
    Love this post so much! She really nailed exactly what I think, and this is the whole spirit behind #WhitesWyrdWorld. Being “weird” is cool. It makes you interesting and fun. 🙂

    What are you going to do today to embrace your own weird?

  21. Love love love this! I’ve struggled with this all my life. I’ve turned into quite the introverted shut-in due to worrying about what people might have to say or think. Thanks for the motivation. I need to embrace my weird and if they don’t like it, tough tacks! I love your writing style and hope some day to be as well articulated. Fear is paralyzing and I’m trying to break free from it. You’re book is on my “to-read” list!

  22. Thank you for sharing this and for believing in yourself enough to be able to send the haters packing. I have always thought I was “weird,” and it has been confirmed for me time and time again. But its relative. I too, have sent manuscripts in, just to get rejection after rejection. I haven’t devoted as much time as I should for a while, but I need to get back into it. It is my dream. Thank you for reminding me/us!

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  24. This is a lovely post….I resonate with it totally and completely. A case in point here is that I am male yet I choose to be marylebourne…..as I write this comment. It’s not that I am completely Mary the Fairy…but that’s what embracing the weird is all about… Innit?

  25. You’ve inspired me. My friend told me I was, quote, “weird” but she did not elaborate. I shall corner her and drill her; ask her to tell me in great detail just how I am “weird” and take it all as gospel, because I am borderline socially retarded, and she has such keen insight into human character (her spot judgements have been proven over time to be right on). I’m not sure what I will do with her info. Be proud of it, I suppose? Develop those traits above all others?

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