“Blessed are the weird people. Poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, & troubadours; for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.” – Jacob Nordby, Blessed Are The Weird: A Manifesto For Creatives.
I’ve said this before, but in case you’re new or have a memory like mine: I’m weird and awkward. No, it’s okay. I am. I know it. The people who know me best, know it and some kind of like the weird. If we ever meet face to face, you’d soon see it too. Try as I might, I can’t be normal. Whatever that is?
Our first meeting would play out like almost all of my social interactions. I mutter a few words that sound like English but, perhaps, an ancient dialect. You frown, ask me to repeat myself, and then there will be a long stretch of awkward silence. My mouth opens and closes like a fish chewing on a juice piece of kelp. We stare at each other. Glance over our shoulders, looking for a polite exit, and wave goodbyes.
You don’t have to back away slowly, you know. I’m weird, not psychotic…Yet. Jokes! I swear. I have no intention of being lured to the dark side of the forced perspective. There’s a Star Wars/Star Trek joke in there somewhere.
*Cough* Nerd! Oh, shush you. Age of the nerd, baby. Whoop.
Thing is, I love words. I love playing with them, turning them inside out, and exploring their depths. Words are beautiful! But I have a hard time forming them with my mouth or any other orifice. They can’t seem to make the long journey from my mind to my mouth. Mind to fingers? Most of the time, that’s not a problem. Say them out loud? Engage in conversation? Use them to socially connect with another person? Uh, what we have here is a failure to communicate.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could project our thoughts onto a flat surface and let them play out like a movie? That’s how I see the world, by the way. Or, more accurately, how my mind translates the world. My mind projects life onto the surface of my skull like I’m out at the drive-in theatre. Sometimes it’s an epic tale with dramatic music and breathtaking scenes. Other times, it plays out like a home movie on one of those projectors my grandfather had stored in his garage.
The old machine whirs loudly behind my head. It gives off, what I can only assume is, copious amounts of radiation. The whole room turns into a sauna but at least there’s popcorn. The movie doesn’t have any sound and there’s a click every time the scene changes. People move like robots that need a good lube job. The edges of the film have started to bleed. It’s ancient technology but the nostalgia is comforting.
That’s my brain in a nutshell. A literal nutshell? Ancient technology? A radioactive projector? There are days when I genuinely wonder what’s going on up there. Other days? Some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved, young Sherlock.
My brain interprets life like a movie and emotions like a twenty-one gun firing squad. I feel things so acutely, it hurts. Not just my emotions. Well, actually my own emotions are hard to access, and they have the speed and range of an asthmatic slug. They’re there but I prefer to bury them deep down and pretend that I have any feelings. It’s easier that way. Healthier? Good gracious me, not even a little.
I rarely feel my own emotions, other than intense anxiety, but I feel yours with an overwhelming intensity. The good, the bad, the things you try to hide because now is not the time or place. Which is fair. You don’t owe me anything. If you want to tell me, by all means, but it’s none of my business. Except I feel it radiating off of you, and now my mind is on the blink. I smell smoke. I can’t think of anything to say.
Words, where are all the words? I…Can’t…Must smile awkwardly. Danger Will Robinson. Danger. Reboot. Must…Reboot. Damn robot brain.
It’s an annoying personality to quirk, and I’d love to find the off switch. If nothing else, it’s something I would love to dial back just a sniff. If only I could be more…Normal?
No, that doesn’t feel like the right word. I appreciate and value uniqueness. More so in others than myself but, still, it’s admirable. It’s certainly not easy to be different in a world that pushes us all to conform to the ever-changing norms. Those of you who boldly go out as you are, whatever that may be, are stronger than most, braver than some, and completely, unequivocally, badass.
Me? It’s easier for me to communicate and be my weird self here on this page. In fact, the weirder I get, the more you seem to like it. You respond to the weirdness, the absurdity of my mind, in a way that surprises and perplexes me.
Usually, when I let my inner weirdo out into the world, people walk away. The looks come out like lasers darts filled with enough tranquilizer to knock out a hippopotamus. Their eyes squint, their noses twitch like an over-stimulated raccoon, and they swallow their lips.
Occasionally there will be a laugh but it’s not filled with good humour. It sounds like a bat testing its surroundings. Is it safe? Is it okay? Poke it with a stick and make sure it doesn’t move. I won’t bite you. I promise. Unless it’s a full moon then all bets are off.
Here, when I just let go and let my mind venture into dark caves with sleeping werewolves? You welcome me with open arms. I can be who I am, as absurd as that is, without editing my personality. I can be open, honest, and free to be me without the judgment, irritation, or confusion I receive in the real world.
It’s both baffling and delightfully refreshing. To find a place that welcomes a different way of thinking and communicating is precious. Rare! So, very rare, but that’s what makes it worth more than any gem nature can create. That makes this a deeply treasured space for me so thanks for that. Sincerely.
The most talented writers, poets, painters, musicians, I know are some of the strangest people I’ve ever met. I mean that in the best way possible! I admire their talent and the way they lay their hearts bare in their work. They see the world in ways I can’t even begin to understand or fully appreciate. They’re brilliant but a bit odd.
They, like me, struggle to communicate in way the outside world can understand. They stumble over their words. They get overstimulated in crowds. They’re ungraceful in conversations. They stand out, marked as different, so clearly that most people don’t know what to do with them so they don’t try. They, like me, are often left standing in their gawky silence. Hoping no one notices how far off the line they’ve strayed.
These are my people. The blessed few. The ones who don’t fit in and don’t belong. Brilliant and talented. They posses skills I envy and admire. I’m in awe of these people. The way they communicate transcends the norm and reaches an undiscovered depth of knowing, of understanding.
I’m nowhere near their level but they inspire me to go deeper. Being able to learn from them is a privilege. Being inspired by them is a gift. They’ve found a voice when all traditional forms abandoned them. They found their own, unique, way to share how they see life, love, humanity. If they can find a way to transform their weirdness into an asset, an aptness, then so can I.
And just like that, they’ve given me another gift.
Maybe that’s the reason so many of us weirdo’s are drawn to the arts? We’re looking for a voice, a way to be heard, and someone to listen. More than that! We’re looking for a way to be heard. It’s one thing to listen to the words coming out of someone’s mouth. It’s another thing to hear the beating heart behind each syllable.
Weirdo or not? That’s something we all have in common. We all want to be heard, seen, valued. But when you’re too weird for the normal world? Then finding a way for the world to see you is…Well, it’s an art.
One of the things that make us weird is our view of the world itself. It’s different than what most are used too. Sometimes the colours of the tree leaves are painfully vibrant. Sometimes we hear a song when others hear noise. We see beauty in chaos. We see the pulse of electricity flowing between the lines that connect all living things. We see lines connecting all living things. We feel the earth move beneath our feet as it rotates on its axes. We feel more of everything and that creates a deeper appreciation, a deeper connection, to the lives that are so often overlooked.
Blessed are the weird because, without us, so much of life’s intricacies would be lost to a binary world. Throughout the history of our species, creatives have been challenging the status quo by simply saying, “Life is my wondrous than we can even imagine.” Don’t settle. There’s more out there. Can’t you see it? Can’t you feel? The heavens and the earth have so much to offer. Beauty, wonder, miracles, and angels.
Look up. Look out. Look within. Without creatives and misfits, the growth of humanity would come to a standstill. Seldom challenged. Rarely tested. The status quo would be maintained because it’s comfortable. Thank God for the weirdo’s who make things a little awkward, and ask silly questions.
Can I capture the starry night on a plain white canvas? Can a few notes move someone tears? Can these few words, on this one page, bring peace to a tormented soul? Can I look into a person’s blood and find the code to humanity? Can I touch the face of God? Can, what, how…All of these questions were asked and look how far we’ve come because someone was just the right amount of weird.
We’ve sent people to space and found the genetic make up of a person. We’ve found cures for diseases. We’ve found a way to pull some people back from the brink of death. We’ve built cathedrals and captured precious moments on film, or canvas. Our story as a species can be told because someone started putting marks on a cave wall and then words on a page.
Blessed are the weird for they don’t settle for what is comfortable or easy. That’s their gift to the world. That’s their purpose, your purpose, on this planet. We, the weird few, are here to remind the world that life is more meaningful, beautiful, wondrous than one moment, one troubled time, or one breath. We’re here to show the endless possibilities of a world seen through different eyes.
Thank God for the weird people!
Including myself? Well, I’m a recovering human being with flaws and foibles. One day, perhaps, I’ll fully appreciate my weird and awkward ways. A work in progress! That’s what I am. But thank you for accepting me, eccentricities all. It’s nice to be heard and it means more than you might realize.