Blessed Are the Weird People
There was a sign in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee that read, “Blessed are the weird people. The artists, the writers, and music makers. The dreamers and the outsiders, for they force us to see the world differently.”
I saw this sign soon after moving to Nashville when I was neck deep in figuring out who I was outside of the college bubble. Inside the bubble, I had a community of fellow weird people, two fulfilling and adventurous jobs, and above all, I was known.
Feeling known is the key to the willingness to sharing your creativity. When we’re known, we’re more willing to take risks, because our community will be there whether we succeed or fail. (And as long as you learn from it, failure isn’t really failure. But more on that in another episode.)
Taking this first step to being known requires a hefty amount of vulnerability. But it doesn’t need to come at once. It starts by sharing your creative challenges with one person. Then another, and another. Just as important as your vulnerability, though, is listening to others share their tough moments. Be someone people can confide in and know that you’re rooting for them 100% of the time.
Soon, you’ll have a community that’s open to talking about the tough parts of life, specifically within the creative’s journey.
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown writes, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
This action of letting our true selves be seen is the basis of creativity. Creating something, whatever your chosen medium is, is rooted in authenticity. If we make something without truly making it our own, or trying to hide who we are throughout the process, it’s easy to see right through it.
Are your favorite songs the ones that are about surface level topics, or the ballads where you can tell the songwriter truly experienced the subject matter? I’m thinking it’s the latter. There’s a time and place for the lighthearted songs, but sometimes you just need a great ballad.
Showing up is one of the hardest things we can accomplish in life, especially within the messiness of life. Learning to love the messiness is a gradual change for many, but there’s beauty in it.
The Reality In La La Land
La La Land is one of my favorite movies, and it’s not because it’s about people following their dreams and it was released as I was making the decision to move to California. Well, not entirely. It’s because the movie shows the TRUE cost of following your passion.
If you haven’t seen La La Land yet, um, what are you waiting for? Incredibly done, especially when you consider their small budget, and it’s the kick in the pants you may need to go create what you’re meant to create.
If you haven’t, you may want to skip the next minute or so, because there are some spoilers.
When Seb finds Mia in Nevada after her show failed, he shares that she received a call for an audition that could launch her career. She says this: “I’ve been to a million auditions and same thing happens every time. Where I get interrupted because someone wants to get a sandwich. Or, I’m crying and they start laughing. Or, there’s people sitting in the waiting room, and they’re, and they’re like me but prettier and better at the…because maybe I’m not good enough.”
“No, maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m one of those people that has always wanted to do it, but it’s like a pipe dream for me. You know, and then you, you said it. You change your dreams and then you grow up. Maybe I’m one of those people and I’m not supposed to. And I can go back to school and I can find something else that I’m supposed to do. ‘Cause I left to do that. And it’s been six years and I don’t want to do it anymore. Because I think it hurts a little too much.”
She goes on to change her mind, land the role, and her career is forever changed. The following scenes also share the sacrifices she had to make, like parting ways with Seb.
Yes, this is a movie, but I promise there’s a real-life point. Those moments where it feels like it hurts a little too much? I’ve been there, and you may have been too. These moments are what makes us who we are, and often times creating is the best way to process it. (Whether we share it with the world or not.)
This step you’re contemplating may not change your life in a large way, but I promise it will improve it for the better. No one regrets vulnerability after the fact.
Embrace Your Wonderfully Weird Self
Don’t let the fear of not being good enough stop you from trying something amazing. You’re a wonderfully weird person and the world is better off for it. Vulnerability and embracing your wonderfully weird self is easier said than done, but these are some of my favorite ways to do it.
First, find a tight-knit group of weird people you can call your own. They don’t need to be the same as you, and it’s probably better if they aren’t. You’ll learn more and be pushed further by people who are different. Whether in the type of art they do or their view of the world, these fulfilling and tough conversations can keep you moving forward.
Second, have you told your community lately that you’re rooting for them? It’s probably been a while. Life gets busy, we’re stuck in our own work and routine, and we forget to share with our people how proud we are of them.
This week, I encourage you to tell your weird people how proud you are of them. It doesn’t need to be a large display, but it should be thoughtful and meaningful. Maybe it’s dinner after work to check in on how they’re doing, or it’s a surprise delivery of their favorite candy. (Amazon Prime Now is perfect for this, by the way.)
Third, keep prioritizing yourself in the midst of helping your community. You’ve heard it before, but I’ll repeat it. You can’t serve others until you serve yourself. This week, try slowing down. Take a longer shower, take the long way to work, or go to that coffee shop you enjoy, but takes a little too long sometimes.
Remember that there’s beauty in everyday moments. But we need to be aware in order to see them. Try working on your awareness, instead of going from one task to another without stopping to think.
We’re in this wild adventure of creativity together, and without community, we’re far more likely to fall into isolation and avoid the weirdness. Together, we can unite within vulnerability, our mutual weirdness, and learn to thrive in our creativity.
Stay weird, my friends.