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 first book. And then my second 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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