Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
To all the happily normal people who regularly read my column: I appreciate you, but this week’s words are not meant for you. I’ll be back next week with a more inclusive message.
Waits for the normal folks to turn their attention elsewhere...
OK, weirdos. Thanks for sticking with me. While the regular folks are preparing for New Year’s and making resolutions, you’re still dreaming of that thing you haven’t shared with anyone that will require you to do something a little crazy in order to change your life and uplift the people around you. You’re afraid that no one will understand and will criticize you. Yet, that thing keeps tugging and won’t let go. It’s time to do something different, and if you just had a sign you wouldn’t wait until a certain date to do it.
YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT.
Weirdo to weirdo, this has been one of the strangest, most difficult and wonderful years of my life, and it stems from a decision I made to stop pretending to be normal. There are things that I desperately needed to put into the world. Some things flourished and others fizzled. But even the things that fizzled brought about additional ideas and helped establish new relationships. It’s required a new sense of confidence, new standards and new goalposts for success.
For me, I found myself talking a lot about what I would do once I turned 40 — how I would live, how I would finally make time for the things that truly make me happy and what I would and wouldn’t tolerate. I grew up hearing that patience is a virtue, and I suppose it is, but at some point between February and March this year, I could no longer be patient. My inner weirdo was begging to be unleashed, and I decided to unleash her.
The things that didn’t work with this newfound weirdo freedom had to go. I left my job and turned down several offers that came in the weeks following that decision. I took the time to have one-on-one conversations with the people who loved the weirdo within me and celebrated her freedom. I rewrote the rules about how I was going to be treated and enforced them. I allowed every person in my life the opportunity to walk away.
Honestly, fellow weirdo, it hasn’t been easy. I have had plenty of days when I questioned my decision. I had to prepare myself to face the future alone. For someone who values family and friendship as much as I do, that was frightening. But I had to do it anyway, and it has been worth it.
I’m glad I didn’t wait until the New Year, until I turned 40 or until I had enough money. Kindred weirdo, I hope you don’t either. Don’t let supposed patience become outright disobedience to the God that resides within you. This is your sign. Next year is not your year; today is your day.
LaMonique Hamilton Barnes is a reporter and copy editor for The Enterprise and The Wilson Times. She blogs about arts and culture at iamlamonique.com.