It’s very tempting, isn’t it, to hide just how weird you are? We all do it. I know I have in the past. Usually, it’s because we think that the company we are with will not appreciate our ‘uniqueness’ and our original take on life, the universe and all that stuff.
But these days I find I enjoy being more upfront about who I really am. Part of that has come about due to my blog. People who would usually only see part of my persona are reading my blog and just seeing how weird I am!
We have so many different interactions with the world in so many different ways that it’s possible to feel a bit like a chameleon sometimes. The desire to fit in can be overwhelming. We are tempted to hide what we believe if it doesn’t really fit in with what the general herd believes.
I’ve had a lot of practice at this. I learnt Transcendental Meditation (TM) as a teenager in the 1970’s while I was still at school. Apart from one or two, my friends really weren’t that interested and meditation wasn’t as common as it is today. I remember using some of my new knowledge in an essay on Bertolt Brecht only to have my English teacher scrawl across my essay, ‘what exactly does this rarefied prose have to do with Brecht and his plays.’ My careers teacher greeted my assertion that I intended to become a Transcendental Meditation teacher with a curt, ‘I think you’ll find the bottom will fall out of that particular market.’ I was beginning to learn to keep my weirdness to myself!
In the 1980’s I was extremely lucky to live in a community where everyone practised TM. We all lived in our own homes and worked in a variety of jobs both inside and outside the community but we came together, all 300 of us, morning and evening to do our meditation. There was no need to hide our weirdness apart from when we were interacting with the locals. Of course, we weren’t really weird in any way, but not everyone meditates in a dome with 300 other people every day.The community was, and still is, in Skelmersdale, Lancashire which was originally a new town designed to deal with the Liverpool overspill. The locals were for the most part ‘scousers’ and called us, predominantly southern meditators, ‘meddies.’ I enjoyed trying to hide my ‘meddiness,’ when out and about, by adopting a scouse accent. Something I’m still quite good at to this day!
But time moved on and my husband and I started our own consultancy business in the south of England. There were many occasions when our staff noticed our weirdness. We refused to do business with companies who sold tobacco, arms and pharmaceuticals. We turned down a contract with Monsanto. Some of our team understood this, as we tended to look for like minded people when we hired newcomers, some of them thought us naive. We gave 10 percent of our profits to good causes. We took the whole team away on exotic conferences out of our own pocket. So weird maybe, but nice too, I hope.
The real challenge came when I left the business to have our son. I was suddenly in the world of mummyidom. One of the things that happens when you have a child is that you find yourself thrown together with people, and the only thing you may have in common is that your children were born around the same time. This was the era of the chameleon for me. I decided to keep my mouth shut. My son needed friends and I didn’t want to alienate other mums too much. There were some things I couldn’t really hide. We are vegetarians, but by the 2002 that wasn’t quite so odd.
But over time I began to feel that not presenting myself honestly just no longer felt comfortable. I started introducing people to my world and my beliefs. I spoke about my practice of TM, my belief in natural medicine, organic food, the spiritual path that I was on. I spoke of angels, Vedic astrology, the protection of the environment, nature, reincarnation, and a whole host of other ‘fringe weirdness.’
What I found was very interesting. People were interested in what I had to say. Not all of them of course, but many of my friends shared with me their own experiences. Things that they had been reticent to tell anyone else. They had had spiritual awakenings of their own and they were relieved to discover that they were not alone. So in sharing my weirdness with them I found that I wasn’t as weird as I thought.
Of course, I’m using the word ‘weird’ as a joke. We are not weird. The rest of the world is! But if you feel a little reticent to share how you see the world because you don’t think it is a commonly held view you might well be a little surprised. It’s great to find your ‘tribe’, but you might be surprised to find that your tribe is just a little closer than you thought.