Not so long ago I was teaching a yoga class about the importance of being weird, when a beloved student named Ed came up and gave me some wonderful insight into weirdness.
Ed is a tenured gender studies professor with a lush backyard rose garden and the kind of laugh that gives me the giggles for days. He has a brain like an encyclopedia and the mind of a baroque poet (here we are when we ran into each other on the subway… I surrounded us with a cosmic night sky). Ed often offers insight into my class themes that makes me want to go back and re-teach the whole thing. This day was no exception.
After teaching the weird-themed class, Ed came up and told me that the original etymology of the word “weird” actually tracks back to fate. What?! My synapses were snap-crackling like nuts. The idea that your weirdness could align you more closely with your fate was almost too exciting to handle.
Here’s a little glimpse from Etymonline.com:
c. 1400, “having power to control fate, from wierd (n.), from Old English wyrd “fate, chance, fortune; destiny; the Fates,” from root *wer- (3) “to turn, bend”. For sense development from “turning” to “becoming,” compare phrase turn into “become.”
“And don’t forget the Weird Sisters in Macbeth —they are the three Fates,” he added. These are the three witches, or prophets, at the beginning of the Shakespeare play Macbeth who foretell Macbeth’s future becoming king… and also foresee his downfall.
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? Could it possibly be that what is weird about you, what is unique, odd, unexpected, unusual is actually what links you to your fate? Your fortune? Your destiny??? Could it be that the ways you are “fantastic” and “bizarre” (from dictonary.com) are actually the ways that you step onto the wild and wonderful path of your dharma? This is such good news I can hardly contain myself!
It is so common to become common. It is so easy to adapt to your surroundings and orient your social (and physical) survival around saming yourself with others: The same style clothing, the same hairstyles, the same sorts of jobs, the same use of phrases and words, the same media watched, the same vacations taken, the same ways of thinking, the same habits and hobbies. Same same same. Blah blah blah.
Of course it makes sense why we do this. We do this because “fitting in” is relevant to our survival. We don’t want to get kicked out of the tribe. But as long as your focus is on fitting in, you are living in a very small box. You are missing out on the whole great wild world of infinite possibility… the every-expanding edge of the universe you could be pressing your breast against! Do you really want to miss out on your unique destiny by playing the same-game for all of your years?
The more myself I am, the more money I make is something I have found myself noting over and over throughout the years. This means that the more I unleash my boldness, the more I transcend what I thought was a limitation, and bust into a new reality, a new fate… the more I am rewarded.
When I was 19 I booked a role on Law & Order because of my weirdness. I was auditioning for the character of a “hippy waif”. Instead of following the temptation to do it “right” or play it “safe”, I wore my beloved brown leather pants that I usually just saved for extreme nights out, a loose whimsical top, and before going into the audition room took off my shoes and entered barefoot. I was just like fuck it, I’m going all in. If I fail, I’m gonna fail hard.
But instead of failing hard, I won big. The producers were delighted. I booked the job. One of the other girls that was auditioning for another character on the episode had seen me go in with bare feet, was inspired, and pushed her own boundary of safety.
Her character was supposed to scream in her scene. She later told me (onset after booking her part too!) that because I went balls out with my toes out she went balls out by screaming at the top of her lungs in her audition. Like, a blood-curdling, window-cracking scream. They loved it.
So, dear reader, the point is that I beseech you to explore and delight in your own weirdness. Don’t shop at the same places everyone else shops. Don’t listen to the same stuff. Don’t same yourself to walking tiny circles in a little box of a typical little life.
Instead, grab a kitchen knife and stab the cardboard wall (it’s not that hard, sameness is flimsy!), and set out into your own fantastically bizarre urges. Find out what fate they might lead you into…
And tell me how it goes…..