August 2, 2020

Not Fitting In is a Creative Blessing

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stick figure character not fitting in

To be 'me' or not to be 'me'.

That's a question I've wrestled with for pretty much my whole life.

You see, I'm a misfit. A rebel. A round peg in a square hole. And yes, I'm totally riffing off the 'here's to the crazy ones' quote:

heres to the crazy ones quote - not fitting in

It was a quote sent to me by a colleague on the day I left the corporate world (my last ever salaried job).

Some kind of coded farewell message.

I didn't fully comprehend why she'd sent it to me. We barely knew each other.

Was she having a dig at me or saluting my inner rebel? For a split second I felt a little pissed. 

Because I struggled with that crowd. And it was painful.

I mean, the people were OK. But they weren't folks I'd choose to hang with outside of work. I didn't 'get them' and they certainly didn't 'get me'.

I was the one with the goofy personality and oddball ideas that had people's eyes rolling. The one who dared to question the rules or say no to things others accepted. I was the one who didn't entertain the office gossip, politics or people I didn't like.

Even though I tried to fit in, the real me kept showing up and ruining the facade. 

I was just different.

I never felt so alone, or misunderstood in my life.

And that's the thing. 

When you're surrounded by people who pressure you to conform, it's the loneliest feeling in the world. You lose your creative essence.

You can fake smile and play along as best you can, but inside you experience the misery of not being true to who you really are.

After I left the corporate life, I made a decision to: "Always be ME". To embrace my wacky side, and to stop trying to fit in.

I have zero desire to continue squeezing myself into square holes. 

They just don't fit.

Friends, family, society shouldn't get to define the person you choose to show up as.

As creatives, we're not designed to 'fit in'. We're designed to challenge perspectives and push past boundaries others would rather leave untouched.

We see the world through a different type of lens.

heres to the crazy ones quote - not fitting in

We see what others can't, don't or won't see - the vivid colours, the shapes, the imagery, the sounds, the feelings. And we grab our brushes and pens to bring that to life.

At times our messy curiosity makes others feel uncomfortable. 

We're often misunderstood or labelled as weird, crazy, eccentric dreamers who really ought to grow up, live in the real world and 'get a real job'.

Whatever that means.

And that's sad, because there are many amazing creatives or wannabe creatives who are stifling their real selves. 

Who are stuck in jobs that don't serve them. Who are so worried about being judged or criticised or failing that they keep themselves small; never starting that business or blog or book that's been sitting in their heart for years.

It's hard being in an environment where you're constantly misunderstood. 

It's even harder living a life that's not true to you. 

The cool thing about being your true self is this: you start to attract other misfits, rebels and round pegs. The sort who 'get', respect and cherish your vibe and your work. They see you doing your thing as an unapologetic individual, and that inspires them to do theirs.

Not fitting in? Consider that a creative blessing.

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