M is for Misfits Shine!
Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in?
That no matter what you’ve done to try and be one of the popular kids, it hasn’t worked?
Have you ever felt like a freak or a weirdo?
Do you sit alone at lunch, or you hide in the library.
Do you walk around with your head down, hoping that no one will notice you or pick on you?
What if I told you… this is great?
Why? Because these people – the “outcasts” or “weirdos”, are the ones who are remembered and often go on to achieve great things in life that the other kids don’t.
Lady GaGa, Freddie Mercury, Billie Eilish what do they have in common – yes they all sing. But there is something about them that makes them stand out from others. Whether it is Lady GaGa’s clothes, Freddie Mercury’s unusual face with his overbite, to Billie Eilish’s ghoulish video where ink runs from her eyes. You could say they are all weird in some way.
So, where am I going with this?
Research tells us that suddenly seeing a weird person activates the release of a motivation chemical called Dopamine in our brain. If we have not seen someone like this before our brain identifies it as new information and it is stored in our long-term memory.
I was born a freak, a weirdo, ‘a deformity’. You see one gene in my DNA decided to change itself, much like an orange becoming a lemon. This change made a dramatic effect. An orange and a lemon are both citrus fruit but they look different don’t they? This cellular change meant my skull and face didn’t develop properly.
Let me briefly set the picture for you. My skull was too small; my eyes were too big - bulgy, like frogs; my cheekbones flat so basically non-existent, and my lower jaw stuck out like a bull bar. Even my own mother said I was ugly.
And at school I copped names - ‘Googly eyes’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Elephant Man’. I was physically hurt and rejected… Outside of school, wherever I went, I was stared out, pointed at, laughed at and made fun of.
In high school we had to old time dancing, and when the PE teacher would say, ‘Gentlemen, choose your partner,’ I would sit there staring at my not-so-secret crush willing him to come to me. I remembered this one occasion when he walked towards me and I was like, ‘Yes he’s going to choose me.’ My heart thumped with excitement. And you know what happened? He stopped at the girl beside me and asked her. My heart broke in that moment.
Now each time it was boy’s choice, I was last or second last, to be left on the chairs. I was covered in Impulse, so it couldn’t be BO, so it had to be my face. And as I progressed around the circle some of the boys would try not to touch me, like this.
I couldn’t fix my face. If I could have been a clown, I would have. At least they got to paint white make up on their face and act out to be laughed out. I got laughed at, and pointed at, for being myself.
Even after I had my face ripped apart by a surgeon and put back together with pieces of rib and hip bone, I still got picked on.
Are you hearing me?
For my fellow outcasts, I’m going to leave you with something for each letter of the word WEIRDO:
Work hard (at being the best version of yourself you can be. Shower, wear deodorant, brush your hair, go to class, and do your schoolwork).
Educate others and don’t be ashamed of yourself (If you have a disability explain it to others. For example, Billy Eilish was trolled for her tics, so she came out and told people she has Tourettes.)
Ignore and block the haters (not everyone will like you, so don’t give them the time of day or your emotions) and don’t compare yourself to others. You are unique. A limited edition.
Reach out. You are worthy and you are valuable. And if you need help, ask someone to help you. A teacher, a parent, a doctor, a friend. If they don’t help you, ask someone else.
Develop your gifts, talents, passions and interests. They will help you to find friends, have fun and put you in good stead for life after school.
Own your uniqueness. Be proud of yourself, your achievements, and the inner determination you have, to get up each day, to face the world.
Find out more about Misfits Shine! at www.jennywoolsey.com