I've spent an entire lifetime discovering how strange the people of the world think I am and how, secretly, many of them delight in the off-beat.
It's nothing to me. I mean, when you're a kid and do and say kid things and your sister's mantra is, "You're weird," well, what can you say? I'm creatively driven.
My big brother, the one who's been riding Harleys my entire life and is tattooed up and down, has scoffed at my hair and clothes more times than I can count. "You've always been the black sheep," says he.
I smile. Family.
I was insecure, oh, so insecure. "You're weird", the other kids always said. But they hung around.
Later on, in high school, when they loaded up the insult cannon with the word "Freak" it bounded right back at them, splattering a little pride across their Esprit. Freak was a compliment, an homage to beloved Ralph Waldo Emerson who gave us permission not only to love, but to be art.
"Be yourself; no base imitator of another,but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.
To be great, is to be misunderstood."
And it was art, and music, and poetry that drove me into myself. It was writing that saved the soft bits, that firmed up the wants and dreams, that gave me permission to disregard expectation and head on out and be misunderstood.
Thanks, Ralph, I owe you one.