MISFIT– A PERSON WHOSE BEHAVIOR OR ATTITUDE SETS THEM APART FROM OTHERS IN AN UNCOMFORTABLY CONSPICUOUS WAY.
I can’t really think of a better way to describe myself.
Growing up I always felt a little bit different, a little off. Moving every couple of years didn’t help matters.
An already introverted child, I reeled at the idea of being the new kid again. I mostly retreated into a world of fantasy and history.
Books were often my only friends, if you move to a new place in the beginning of summer it’s gonna be 3 months until you meet anyone. And kids also tend to form their bonds based on eras. Grade school, middle school, high school. Good luck crackin into an already formed group of friends.
At the time I felt so alone. I loved Star Wars (like so many of my friends now did) because I could relate. Here was this group of unlikely heroes who had been outcasts from where they came yet in time of crisis they rose to the occasion.
Little did I know that there were millions of kids out there just like me. Maybe you were one.
Most people spent their whole lives in one place. Growing up with the same people. No secrets.
I was different, though. I never had to be anyone but who I wanted to be.
Every new city, town, or state was an opportunity to reinvent myself.
My brother gave a rousing speech at my wedding recanting some of the many personalities I embodied over the years.
I will still argue that I never wore an alarm clock around my neck a la Flavor Flav (though I might have owned a giant clock necklace, intent is important). I can’t deny, however, that I attempted to wear a high top fade with an Adidas symbol shaved in the back. If you ever saw me with hair (it was thin and fine) you can imagine how ridiculous that was. The amount of LA Looks to hold it up… ugh.
Being able to constantly reinvent myself was both a blessing and a curse.
I could leave my embarrassments behind. But I also left every friendship I ever had. I never wrote or called anyone.
That pattern would continue into adulthood. When all you know about relationships is that they are disposable it becomes difficult to open yourself up to anyone. Especially if your entire life has been a series of starring roles, a new one every few years.
I didn’t value honesty. It held little weight for me. What good did being honest with someone do if you knew that they could just use that to hurt you?
Instead, I became a master liar. I played the part that everyone wanted me to be. I became the jock, the theatre geek, the popular kid, the nerd. I was what was needed in that moment, by that person, in that place.
Part of my growth as a person has been my willingness to be honest. To allow people to know me.
I don’t have a ton of friends but I do have a handful of people that I keep in touch with no matter where in the world we are. Honesty and openness are now big parts of my life. I base a huge part of who I am today on these qualities. The truth really will set you free.
But in my youth, my ability to play the part was rewarded. My life would soon be reflected in my art.
I was always noticed for my talent on a stage. I started acting in elementary school. Drawn to a place where people adored me for how I made them feel, if just for a moment.
As my singing voice matured and I began to study opera I took on more challenging roles in musicals. In high school and college I went on to perform on some decent stages.
I also got a reputation for not being a team player. I would get to a show hours early, get into costume and makeup, and sit alone. Preparing. After curtain calls, while the rest of the cast mingled with the audience and received their praise I again stayed in the green room until everyone was gone. But it had nothing to do with anyone else.
I abhorred being told how well I did. I abhorred being lied to. I knew I was terrible. I knew I was a fraud. Someday I would be figured out. These were the thoughts that rang through my head.
I left Nashville in 1999 and left music with it, for a while. Something about that city killed the music for me. I just didn’t love it any more. It would be years before I started writing again.
But I did.
I ended up back on stage again. And hiding backstage before and after shows. I was still a fraud. I was still just waiting to be found out.
Looking back now, I can say with confidence that I was good. Really good. My cast and bandmates were really fucking good too. I wish I had been able to see it then.
It has taken me a long time to feel like I am not a fraud. Shit, I probably spent much of this week nervously waiting for someone to uncover me.
The growing pains are real. It is not an easy transformation. But nothing easy ever is.
Much of what I am working on now, both professionally and personally, has to do with this transformation. I spend a lot of time talking about the physical transformations that I help people to achieve. These are just manifestations of a change that comes from much deeper.
True, lasting change comes from all the parts of self. It is never ending. But it is a lot of fun. And looking good with your clothes off is a lot of fun too.
I will always be a misfit. A nonconformist, eccentric, maverick, individualist. That won’t change. I embrace it now.
If you are reading this, I’m willing to bet that you’re one too. Embrace it. Be a weirdo.Be you.
And know that you are never alone.