To the Misfits, Underdogs, Loners and Black Sheep… You are my kind of people!
These groups of people are the ones that I can and do identify with as well as the creative introverts. Many of us struggle to fit in with our peers, to be accepted for our contributions and the ideas that we bring to the table. We put ourselves out there and hope that we are not ridiculed, teased, laughed at or bullied for being ourselves.
While in high school (a time when most of us are still trying to figure out where we fit in), I decided to go against the grain as I typically do if given the option and decided that I was not going to learn a trade that 95% of the other girls were going to do. Most girls join Allied Health (aka Butt wipers in high school hence the immature nickname), but rather I decided to join Automotive Technology because that was more interesting to me.
I knew my choice wouldn’t sit well with other people, and I knew there would be a backlash of snide comments, rumors and some might wonder what my motive was. There was no motive, I wasn’t interested in dating the guys (in fact I didn’t date any guy from any grade in that program), I knew I would risk being teased/harassed/bullied (which I was for the entire 4 years), but I did it for me, for my own knowledge. I didn’t have a father figure, or anyone for that matter to teach me about vehicle maintenance/safety and I didn’t want to get screwed over for being helpless woman that doesn’t know any better. There was a part of me that also wanted to prove that I could do it when there had not been 1 female to successfully finish the program and I wanted to inspire girls that they could join a male dominant trade no matter what anyone else thinks.
During my senior the automotive program went from 1 female (me) to having 2 in the junior class, 3 in the sophomore class and 3 or 4 in the freshman class. I had a chance to speak with most of these girls during their exploratory week (the time when the freshmen experience each trade to see if it’s a good fit) and they felt the same as I did. They had an interest in a male dominant trade but were afraid to be the only female. It only took 1 black sheep to prove that we (young females) don’t have to follow the rest of the herd when it comes to our education/choosing a profession.
While on the topic of high school and the cliques/groups that we are all too familiar with, I didn’t fit in with any of them. I was not popular (which is code for girly girl/cheerleader, every guy wanting me, every girl wanting to be me, prom queen). I was not a jock, while I was a decent athlete I was always underrated and next to last to being picked (due to my lack of coolness/popularity). I wasn’t a stoner (smoker, drug user, party until you puke). I wasn’t a nerd even though I was a friend to most. I was a loner and sat by myself at lunch; since I was approachable and sympathetic I was often joined by other loners, misfits, outcasts and a few nerd friends. As an introvert, I don’t have an issue being alone or sitting quietly not feeling the need to be the center of attention. In fact the less attention the better.
Creativity comes in many forms from writing books, poetry, writing music, being musically inclined, painting, designing bridges, photography, graphic design even applying makeup and styling your hair. All forms of art are subjective and there is no right or wrong, only do or don’t. Being creative is a self-expression which is open to interpretation and not everyone will “get it” and that’s okay. It’s more important to appreciate what has been created because it takes courage to bare your soul and share that part of you.
Even amongst authors/writers/poets there are many cliques with their rules and standards as to who and what they will accept to join/promote. I had joined a few upon releasing my book to gain insight from those with more experience. I found that there may be a handful of people that do take the time to share their insight, most just want to brag about how well they are doing while avoid answering your question(s). Those that aren’t bragging and rubbing our noses in it, are busy being dramatic. I have since removed myself from such groups as they only cause me stress and their views are not aligned with my own.
I write for me. I find it therapeutic and I don’t require guidelines/standards, specific word counts to do so. I refuse to compromise my style of writing to fit inside impossible parameters that are made up by others to follow. I’ll keep doing my own thing, if you get it, Great! If you don’t, that’s okay too.
It’s okay not to follow the crowd. It’s okay to follow your own path even if you have to clear that path yourself. It’s okay not to fit in or be associated with a certain group. It’s better to be yourself than to compromise who you are or what you believe. You are unique and it’s okay to embrace that individuality.
While this idea for a blog post has been something I had considered a few months ago, there was something I read this morning that gave me the little push to get this out there. (Thanks Anthony)
Be creative, Be you, you don’t have to be a follower. ~ Hannah