One of my favorite episodes of This American Life is the one about tribes and belonging.
First of all, it finally solved the mystery of why I like the sound of pencil on paper and whispered African accents (if you know, you know).
Second, it framed a concept I’d been trying to put my finger on.
The idea of belonging.
Finding and having kindred spirits; a tribe.
Being part of a group of people that get you, because they are the same way.
In the Mermaid Writer’s Group last Monday night, I sensed a tribe that I’ve long been a member of.
I asked the group if any of them had the term “unique” used to describe them a lot in school.
The hands went up.
One participant recalled that her yearbook was full of you’re so unique, written in every way possible.
I have no doubt.
Because you’re reading this ‘gram, you resonate with my work in the world so we’re likely kindred.
So let’s get to the root of this whole “unique” business.
Is that the most accurate term? Is that what folks are really saying?
Because unique suggests one-of-a-kind.
And I’m more apt to believe that there are tons of our kind.
And what kind is that?
You know, misfits, freaks, black sheep, and those who march to the beat of their own drum.
Yeah, we’re a tribe, marchin’ around to lots of beats and lots of drums.
And we have a patron saint, too.
A patron saint for weirdos?
She’s the ambassador, the protector, the champion of this really important facet of your personality.
The facet that doesn’t give a f*ck about status quo, “the right way”, or what everybody else is doing.
The facet that is wholly you, without editing, posturing, or pretending.
This facet has a patron saint because it is important and it deserves someone to stick up for it.
Wanna meet her?
OK, meet The Mermaid archetype.
She greets us now, when the year shifts from Light to Dark.
As the Light wanes she says “follow me” with a flick of her fin.
A lot of folks want to celebrate her in the sunny summertime, assuming that she’s a sexy beach babe with a cute bikini top all turquiose-and-pink.
This patron saint of ours has a fin, she’s a diver.
So we want her magic as we dive into the Dark of the year; each day at sunset when the sun “dives” into the horizon.
She is cast of courage, she names herself and it’s all she’ll answer to.
She’s weird. She’s half fish- half human and breaths in multiple realms, after all.
So, the next time somebody says you’re weird, wear it.
It doesn’t mean you’re an outcast– shunned and alone.
It’s the opposite.
It means you’re part of a tribe.
A whole army of weirdos with The Mermaid archetype as the patron saint.
So dig that freak flag outta the closet and hoist it right up the flagpole.
Be proud of your strange ways.
“Strange Ways, Here We Come” (Remember? Best album ever. Hello, 13 year-old KV).
There’s the right way and the wrong way.
But it’s the strange way I generally go.
And so do most weirdos.
I was watching one of my fav TV shows, Finding Your Roots (if you’ve done the Daughters of Many Mothers class, you know).
RuPaul was being interviewed.
He talked about his early years, and the courage it took to follow his own strange way.
And the host of the show named RuPaul’s efforts as a civic contribution.
A civic contribution.
You already know “the world needs your work”
But the world needs to hear from your divine weirdo, more to the point.
I mean, imagine if I had stayed in the box and ignored my strange ways.
You would have never read a word of my writing, never heard of this pantheon of archetypes, never smelled a single one of my blends.
You woulda survived.
But would it be as magical, as interesting? We’ll never know. But still.
My divine weirdo has made a civic contribution.
And I bet yours has, too.
So, You’re a weirdo.
You’re perfectly weird.
And we need you to be.
love & weirdos,