Lisi: No, why?
Massie: Because you’ve been slacking!
I know, I have been slacking on my posts. I am so sorry. March was a rogue month and my routine was its casualty. But I am back and ready to give my unsolicited take on life as I see it. Oh, and my excuse for not posting last week? I was visiting my dad in Florida without my laptop. I wanted to be present and come home with a tan. I accomplished both.
One humid evening over wine and Ruffles, I asked dad to describe each of his kids using one word only. He rolled his eyes and asked for another topic. I poured more wine and begged. Here’s what he said:
My brother: Bandit. (His way of saying a warm-hearted rascal.)
My sister: Perfect. (Oh, yes he dzid. But he’s right. She really never got into trouble once.)
Me: Character. (His way of trying to sound positive.)
Of course, I wanted specifics. He reminded me of my eclectic style and how he once said, “Stay out as late as you want tonight. No one is going to attack you in that outfit.” Then the private school that wanted to kick me out because they thought I couldn’t handle the material. “They were the morons, not you.” Then, the fact that I quit my executive job to become a writer. “You’ve always been…different. The way you see things. The way you say things… there’s no one like you.”
Me: “In other words, I’m a weirdo.”
Dad smiled with pride and said, “Yes.”
Beaming, I took it the way he wanted me to take it; as the biggest compliment ever. I want to stand out. I want to be different. I want to see the world through my weirdo lens and then share that view with you. And I want you to share your unique views with me. That’s how advancements are made. That’s how art is created. That’s what makes conversation stimulating. Fitting in is the wrong goal. Fitting in means selling out. It means giving up the thing that makes you special. It’s returning a gift.
I am beyond grateful to my parents for not judging me or trying to change me. They had enough confidence in themselves, and me, to accept me for who I was. That acceptance gave me the confidence I need to take chances, to fail, to dust myself off, to laugh at myself, and to show up every day and write things that you may or may not like.
These days, I see middle school kids betray their true natures to fit in. I see high school kids overdosing and killing each other because the pain that comes with being different is too much to handle. And I see parents who are micromanaging their kids’ social lives, appearances, and hobbies to make sure they fit in and don’t get left behind. In doing so, they are sanitizing unique souls and obstructing our views.
The goal should be acceptance, not fitting in. Weirdoes of the world UNITE!