I received an email last night that made me dissolve into a puddle of tears. I had just gotten home from my best gal pal Melissa's apartment. Melissa, her husband Stevie, and I spent the night eating pizza, dancing to Christmas music, and making peppermint meringues. When I got home I was pooped! Singing like Mariah Carey is exhausting. So I took some NyQuil (I'm fighting a cold), got into bed, turned off the lights, and for some reason decided to check my email one last time.
There was an email was from a Mom who was worried about her daughter. Her daughter sounded like a very normal teenager who wanted to be popular. This Mom was worried that her daughter was trying to grow up to fast. She asked me what I was like in High School. I thought, well, unfortunately I have always loved being a weirdo.
I figured out early on that humor had great power and I didn’t like being around the “popular” kids in my school. I wasn’t comfortable around them, I didn’t like the way that other kids talked about them, and I didn’t want to be a grown up as badly as they did. I was very satisfied with being a kid. I also had a confidence that a lot of kids don’t. I don’t know where that came from but I always thought I was the cat’s meow. Even when I was a loner without any friends I still thought I was the coolest thing. I struggled with everything else kids struggle with, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all puppies and kittens, but for the most part I woke up every day with the sole intention to have fun. I wanted to go to the tide pools, slide down a hill in a box, hike, or find people to laugh with.
I realized that everyone was trying to impress their friends and spent every waking moment worrying about being liked. If you’re worried about your friends liking you, they aren’t your friends. Now I’m with you, I really like being liked. I still feel uncomfortable in my own skin, that’s never going to go away it happens from time to time over the years. My advice to anyone who just wants to fit in or be popular is to find something that truly makes you happy and throw yourself in it. There was a 2 year period in High School where I couldn’t find a group of friends I felt familiar with. I didn’t like the people I hung out with and I didn’t feel like me. Then I found the theater and my group clicked. I didn’t have to try in front of them because they didn’t care. We all just wanted to go on adventures and make each other laugh. No one cared about what labels we were wearing, what car we drove, how dysfunctional our families were, or being “cool.” We all just genuinely cared about each other.
Surround yourself with like minded people and be weirdos together. Stop trying to prove something and don’t show off. You shouldn’t have to worry about impressing anyone your task job is to get good grades and be a kid. Most importantly don’t grow up. It's 100% possible to be a responsible adult without "growing up." Look at everyone at Pixar! They are proof that magic lives when you don't lose your wonder. Never, never, never lose that creative questioning spark. Watch kids, they look at the world with wonder. They ask “What’s that?” and “Why?” The second you think you have everything figured out you’re doomed. The second you start caring more about how you look, who you’re with, and what you have, you’re done for! Surround yourself with people you actually like and take a step back from anyone you don’t feel authentic around. You don't have to eliminate anyone, or tell anyone you are eliminating them, just step away. People change, who knows what someone will be like in a year or two. Just don't reach out to them! It's simple.
Look, I don’t have the answers. I wish I did, all I know is I've tried to fit in. When I tried to fit in I didn’t feel like myself. So I said fuck it this is me and that's when I found a group I fit in with. Embrace your oddness and your inner weirdo. That is what makes you, you. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.