As a child I remember looking up at all of the strange, grown up people and wondering how they came to be.
Since my parents were doing something different (one hippie + one serious but different Italian living in Hawaii) there were always curious people around. They were doing things like running food co-operatives (my mom started the first one on our island), practicing spiritual/religious traditions that were well outside of the mainstream, homeschooling their kids, traveling constantly, and generally embracing the road not usually taken. I used to think, “how amazing and weird these people are.”
After years of homeschooling I attended a public high school for a year, then got a full ride for three years to a good private school, followed by four years at a small liberal arts college. For some reason I tended to gravitate to the idea of myself as being average (although aware that I’ve always thought a little too much about the things other people cruised by). I made an effort not to stand out, and still find myself occasionally doing so. Yet, my thoughts were always about embracing the strange, the weird, the unknown. After college I settled down a bit and ended up getting married, and started working a pretty standard job.
When my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a little over five years ago I knew instantly it was going to shake loose the foundations of my life. An unhealthy relationship followed by marriage combined for a difficult few years. I wasn’t listening well to my interior life, and what I did hear I tried my best to ignore. A couple of constants kept me relatively ok. One was music, which I’ve always felt an intense need for. Playing in a rock ‘n roll band meant I had a place to experience joy and acknowledge the pain in my life. The other was my mom, who is the most honest person I’ve ever met. Her compassion and experience of the limitations of being human gave me the permission and encouragement to be a kind and loving person. That I still have an open heart is a direct result of her humility and love, which instructed me in all avenues of my life.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become less focused on being average. I have no idea where I fit in because I only know the parameters of my own life, and wild and strange though they may be I’m grateful to embrace triumph and defeat alike. I talk more about my emotional life, become excited without boundaries when I get to write/play music, and love to collaborate / commune with people who are walking on the weird side. In truth, I’ve become a weirdo myself, and on occasions when I get to hang out with kids I sometimes catch them looking up in amazement, as if they too are wondering about how grown-ups get paint their lives with such strange, broad strokes.
To those who are weird, I say love the life you’ve got. It’s not much but it’s what we’ve got to work with, and between any four walls and any point and another we’ve got the chance to create unbridled joy.
We are the weirdos we wondered about