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Creative weirdos are my safe space
There is always more room on the fringes for trauma.
I’m way into generative AI right now, so when LinkedIn offered a free Generative AI course, I figured, OK, why not. The course is pretty meh, but I find myself fascinated by the peculiar sense of being “other” that I get watching media aimed at a corporate audience.
Now I already know that I’m a creative weirdo that exists on the fringe of “normal” society, but I got a lot more visceral sense of that watching these videos. They take as a given that I work for an “organization” and I’m needing to understand AI to make decisions about how to “leverage” it.
(For the record, my actual interest in AI is (a) using it as a reflective tool to explore my own mind, which I find endlessly fascinating, and (b) staying up-to-date about the various forms of doom headed our way, which I suppose you could classify as a hobby.)
All my friends are also creative weirdos (thank God).
Freaks and geeks. At the very least, almost all are self-employed. I would say that I left normal behind a long time ago, but I never actually lived there. I grew up in a shack in the woods because my parents ran away from normal. So I am generationally weird.
But I’m finally reaching a point in my life where I am starting to see my weirdness as a benefit and a feature rather than something to hide, or dress up as “quirky”. I have hard-won perspectives that I only found traipsing through the dark and strange wilderness of the human shadow.
Of course, I am also generationally traumatized, and these two things are intertwined. For most of my life, I have not had the ability to be consistently positive, friendly, stable, productive, and available for connection. Whatever stability I appeared to have was either me faking it, or me on a really good day.
But there is always more room on the fringes for trauma.
On the fringes, there is an understanding that we must make room for differences. We cannot assume sameness; we must check and recheck for connection and commonality and compatibility.
There is an understanding that we are the ones who cannot and will not conform, who must find our own way and forge our own spaces. We are the ones who generate culture, and shift consciousness, by exploring and expanding and exploding what is known and normal.
And in that world of flux and fascination, of weirdness and wildness, there are spaces of allowing and forgiveness and restoration, because we made them. There is the constant charting of new paths, and sharing of maps, because we are trying to find our way through the unknown and uncertain expanse of unexplored territory.
And so many of us are drowning, but that is true everywhere. But on the fringes, we are finding the ways to swim, we are building floating islands, we are designing life jackets and showing each other how to use them.
And my whole life, I’ve been so damn avoidant that I didn’t realize that I was actually already a part of something amazing.
I’ve build my own raft out of sticks and chewing gum, but I was too afraid to trust anyone. My fear of other people was so deeply in my bones that it has taken me 40 years to work through it, but I’m finally, finally feeling the first glimmers of connection and trust and safety and belonging and this is who I am and this is how I contribute, and it’s beautiful.