"You are just really... weird."
This was the sentence that confirmed what I already knew.
I was different.
I was only seven at the time.
Growing up as a, 'misfit,' has its draw backs.
You don't get invited to everyone's parties.
You don't get picked for a game.
People may roll their eyes when they're paired with you during class.
And I could go on.
Each disadvantage makes a cut.
Each moment of rejection, or misunderstanding from another, leaves a mark.
But... there is an advantage to being an out-of-the box individual in an in-the-box world.
From an early age we are inclined to fit in.
"Don't be too loud."
"Don't be too quiet."
"Don't be in to frogs, be in to dolls."
"Don't be in to dolls, be in to frogs."
It can cause a lot of confusion and even steer us to being drawn to people pleasing.
Or, we are classed by our skin or where we live, to how we labelled in the world.
As I see, it society likes to label us.
In a way it creates order in an unorderly world.
For those, like me, if left unchecked, it can do one of two things.
It can suffocate you, as you push down your individuality and design to be more accepted.
Or... you can rebel and become so focused in being different that you form barriers to the world.
I have done them both.
I tried to fit in, doing what the other girls did.
I acted like them, talked like them and hated every second of it.
It wasn't even fruitful as I still wasn't wholly accepted.
Then I went the other way.
I became so different others didn't know how to interact with me.
I felt free.
But I did make some mad decisions that didn't bear fruit either.
Then the adrenaline wore off and I still found myself as lonely as before.
So I went back to being, 'normal,' and tried to get on with life.
Each year I felt more and more fake.
Which is why I detest the saying, 'fake it until you make it.'
Each interaction with another had to be dissected by me.
I would replay conversations and paranoia would take over.
I worried about what others thought about me WAY too much.
And it followed me in to adulthood.
I remember sitting on my bed as a thirty-something, feeling like a failure and that no-one actually knew me. And how could they when I didn't even know me.
It was time for counselling and a lot of prayer.
And what I discovered was magnificent.
I discovered that I was an alternative individual.
I think different.
I see different.
I feel different.
I am different.
But that is also my superpower.
In job roles I see things that others don't.
It makes me a great employee.
When I am with someone overwhelmed by life I come with strong empathy.
I am a good supporter.
Plus, I always have chocolate in my bag.
I have experienced a lot in my life because of my uniqueness but it fuels my passions in life.
Most notably in my writing.
During my ghostwriting I have witnessed other people cry as they read my work.
To know that I infuse feelings in to my words and my craft means a lot to me.
It means my tears were not a waste.
And that I was meant to overcome hard things to stir and encourage people.
To connect with others.
To show the light at the end of the tunnel.
I have embraced my alternative adulthood.
I howl with my dog when the treat isn't coming quick enough.
When out walking with him I may notice that ooops, I am still in my pajamas.
I sometimes put a bowl of soup on the counter and turn the microwave on with the bowl still outside it.
I may roll on the floor with my kid.
I will likely be the loudest one in the room.
I may make up parody songs to well known tunes to get things rolling in the morning.
I may get excited at an organised cutlery drawer and make a noise that should naturally be reserved for delicious food.
Or I may wake up at 5 am thinking about how great it would be to sneak down and do the ironing.
Discovering who we are is a life long journey.
It is something that can change from season to season.
I wanted to fit in so badly when I was young I got caught up in trying to figure out who I was way too early.
So, if you are reading this and my words are meaning something to you, I want to encourage you.
You don't have to choose who to be.
By doing the things you are passionate about.
Treating people well.
Treating yourself well.
And reminding yourself that you are wonderful.
[Yes, you are.]
It will all come together.
You are allowed to change.
You are allowed to develop.
And if you are alternative, then the world is fortunate to have you.
I hope I have encouraged you today.
Here is to living our alternative adulthoods.
If you would like to share your story or contact me please feel free to private message me on our Facebook page or on Instagram and while you are there you can give me a like or a follow for daily encouragements. You can also email me using firstname.lastname@example.org address.