“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” ~ Charles Bukowski
I’m at my cottage, having a glass of wine with my girlfriend, and we’re watching home videos from my childhood on a harddrive.
In one, I’m maybe about six years old, my hair is wild, and I’m dancing around our old bungalow living room just in my underpants. I’ve got zero rhythm, but I’m moving my body in almost an interpretive dance way. My baby sister is just turning around in a slow circle, laughing. My older sister jumps into the scene and grabs my arms, and we twirl around to the music.
We are happy. Carefree.
I see my younger self in these videos, and I miss her. Somewhere along the line, I lost that inner weirdo—the goofy kid who didn’t give two sh*ts about what other people thought of her. And maybe that’s how it happens. We grow up, and we realize people don’t want to hang out with the kid with the over-the-top imagination (except for a special few), and we realize that in order to belong, we have to conform to this arbitrary definition of what’s accepted.
But that’s a dangerous lie that brings us further from embodying our authentic selves. The more I tried to be someone who was liked by other people, the less I became me. And the less I became me, the less I attracted people who loved me for me, and the more I felt I had to fit an identity in order to maintain this status or approval.
We learn that if we aren’t too loud or too wild or too much of anything, we will be liked and accepted.
We learn that if we are as thin as possible, we will be attractive and that we will stand out in the right kind of way.
We learn that hairy legs and armpits are dirty and not socially accepted.
We learn that beauty is a commodity and one that we, women especially, can manipulate.
We learn that the most important thing about us is the way we look.
We learn that being open and raw can make people uncomfortable.
We learn that it’s easier to be soft and quiet and easy-going in this world and people don’t want to be confronted.
And so we drink. Or we numb with whatever is our addiction of choice because something inside us is boiling at the surface, ready to leap out, but we don’t know how to unleash her.
I’ve realized this type of coping mechanism is not sustainable. We need to figure out who we were before we were fed these lies. Because, if I’ve learned anything over the last few years, it doesn’t bring us anything of the things they promised.
I see that little girl dancing like crazy in her living room, and I know she was loved. I don’t even think she had the concept of what self-love even meant—she just was.
I want to be her again. I want to be me again. I want to let myself be seen even if that means that some people won’t like it. I want to unleash my inner weirdo and let her run wild among the masses. Who knows, maybe she’ll pull some people in along with her. An army of self-lovin’, wild, weirdos—ready to take on the world.
Imagine what kind of change we could accomplish.
Here are a few ways you can unleash yours:
>> If you have home videos, go back and see how you acted as a kid.
>> Look through old photos of yourself to jog memories.
>> Journal what you observe.
>> Talk with old friends and family who know the “real” you.
>> Learn to be in tune with your gut instinct. What decisions feel good to you? What feels out of alignment?
>> Find a community where you belong and can be yourself.
>> Do activities that take you outside of yourself like an art or a craft or some kind of movement.
>> Give back in some way. It will remind you of what’s important.
“Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you never know who could love the person you hide.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Relephant: 25 Quotes to Soothe your Inner Weirdo.