I have always felt like a complete weirdo. The label of “weird” has been alternately used to express confusion from others about my behavior or hurled as a coldly vicious insult. I grew up hearing it on the playground, year after year…after year. I got called weird in first grade and as a senior in college. I literally cannot count how many times I’ve seen a person freeze their expression, look me over and then say, “You’re really weird, do you know that?”
For years I had a love/hate relationship with my weirdness. In middle school I became hyper-observant about the dress, mannerisms, language and cultural codes of eighth-grade girls. I memorized them all and tried to imitate them. It didn’t work. My weirdness leaked out. In high school I tried to camouflage myself by joining dozens of different groups—Theater, Track, Yearbook Committee, National Honor Society. It didn’t work. I still said and did things that were undeniably weird. I still got the look.
What really drove me crazy was that I knew I looked TOTALLY NORMAL from the outside. I have no tattoos and no piercings. I have never dyed my hair, or even cut it short. My clothing of choice is solid black, blue, or gray. I’m on the quiet side until you get to know me and my people-pleasing tendencies have always ensured that I’m polite and courteous in almost every social situation.
But still, it’s there. The Weird. People know it and I can’t get rid of it.
Needless to say, I have always felt like there was something wrong with me. For a while I embraced the term “damaged” as it seemed a bit more sophisticated than the more blatant “fucked-up” I’d been using for years to describe myself. And then—as all of you who have read my book know—I found out I was an INFJ and everything changed. But what I didn’t expect was that things would keep changing, that my understanding of my true self would continue to deepen.
Or that there were others out there just like me who would show up in my life with perfect synchronicity.
Enter Jacob Nordby.
Jacob contacted me a few months ago after having read my book and we started up an email correspondence. I knew that Jacob was like me, identifying as intuitive and introverted on the personality spectrum, but I didn’t know that he had also written a book for people like us, “a Manifesto for Creatives” as he called it, titled: Blessed Are the Weird.
When I started reading it this week it nearly blew the top of my head off.
Jacob’s take on “people like us” (aka: the weird people) goes so much deeper than basic personality assessment. He sees each of us as a member of a long noble line of helpers of humanity, people who are here with a big purpose in life and a calling to create great works of art. In Blessed Are the Weird he talks about the different categories of weird: the poets, misfits, writers, mystics, heretics, painters and troubadours. I immediately identified as a writer obviously, but also saw how I carried the poet inside me as well. I remembered that “poet” was actually the first career option I ever voiced as being interested in, way back when I was six years old. As I read further, I realized that I’ve always been attracted to misfits and have brought a variety of them into my life, some of them gifting me with illumination and some just wrecking my house. I discovered that the men I’ve fallen seriously and hopelessly in love with have been painters and troubadours and that my husband happens to be both. I identified the teachers I respond to most strongly now as heretics and mystics, every one.
Jacob’s book took me even further though. With every page, he reminded me that we are not here on earth to mindlessly binge on Netflix shows and fill the void inside us with a dizzying array of consumer items. We are here to learn, and to grow. We are here to love ourselves and to love others. We are here to CREATE and to LIVE. And for all the weird people out there, those two things are really one and the same.
If you are a weird person—a poet, misfit, writer, mystic, heretic, painter or troubadour—I urge you to get yourself a copy of Blessed Are the Weird today. I’m giving it as a birthday gift to all of my writer and artist friends in 2017 because I think it’s that important. Get it, read it, pass it on.
Our time has come fellow weird people! Let’s rise up together and bring light to this world.
You can purchase a copy of Blessed Are the Weird from Amazon and other retailers, and if you’re interested in learning more about Jacob Nordby you can visit his website here. His book has also started a viral phenomenon that you can join if you wish to be part of it.