All my life I have surrounded myself with people who don’t quite fit in. My best friend calls it my propensity for adopting three-legged dogs. I suspect that it started out because of my low self-esteem in childhood. I didn’t think I could possibly be liked by the popular crowd, whom I perceived to be vastly superior to me. But over time I learned that the truly quality people, the interesting ones, the ones with back stories to overcome, were the misfits. Adversity builds character, after all.
If I noticed someone being picked on by the in-crowd simply for being different, or because, like the sharks that they were, they smelled blood in the water, I was drawn to that person. The socially awkward, the physically deformed, the out of style, the desperately poor, or the just plain odd…those were my kind of people.
Those of us who zig when we should be zagging, I suspect, value friendship most of all. We know that making the extra effort reaps great rewards. Misfits don’t pressure you to be anything other than who you are. They aren’t judging you, or expecting you to fit into some rigidly defined box. It must be exhausting to be popular and spend so much of your time and energy trying to remain so. I’ve come to realize that it’s the popular people who are really the ones who are desperate to fit in. By not fitting in, I’ve made some friends for life, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
Conformity is the worst kind of insult to one’s spirit. I learned that the hard way. Someone whose opinion I valued greatly once told me I was going to go to hell because my religious beliefs were not identical to hers. That really devastated me for a while. But then one day I finally grasped the fact that I wouldn’t want to go to her version of heaven. Any place where none of my friends would be welcome, and where everyone has to be exactly the same, would be a boring place indeed, and no place I would want to be.
So let your freak flag fly. Bask in your bizarreness. No doubt I’ll like you all the more for it. And so will all the best people.