In a recent commencement address, Jim Carrey made a few surprisingly inspiring statements, but one that really resonated with me was this one: “Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Risk being seen in all of your glory.”
I’ve been saying this on and off since I’ve started this blog.
Speaking as someone who has never fit in, who knows the awkwardness of trying to fit in (and hoping no one is noticing how egregious those attempts might be), I long ago decided to stop trying. Of course, this zen attitude is intermittent, and sometimes I wish more than anything that I could blend neatly into a crowd, that I could feel like part of a crowd, but I can’t. I can’t pull it off.
Either it’s a result of laziness or attitude (or a combination of the two), but here’s I see it: You are who you are. Someone will probably find that weird. Maybe a lot of people will find that disquieting. Certain people will complain. They may not like you. But faking it isn’t going to make you happy.
Don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t worry about whether they are thinking about you at all. Just worry about yourself — your passions, your needs, your desires — and the rest will fall into place. And what doesn’t fall into place will hopefully fall off along the way.
Because you know what? A lot of people are dumb. They’re never going to get you. They may never get what you’re trying to do or say, but that doesn’t matter. Ignore them or school them. Either way, you’re still being you.
While I agree with Thoreau that most people lead lives of quiet desperation, I think it’s actually far more likely that most people lead lives that are simply quiet, if not outright invisible. They’ve conformed themselves into homogeneous complicity. And who wants that?
So don’t be quiet. Make some noise instead. Get some attention. Let people see YOU.