He has always been about music that moves him and touches him. No one he goes to school with listens to what he does, be it Imagine Dragons, RED, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, etc… He’s always been his own person, with his own mind. He doesn’t follow the crowd. He’s not about what’s popular or the fad of the day.
When you’re a person like that, you don’t fit in. You’re always on the outside. And I’m so proud of him for being strong enough in himself, to stand on the outside and not care that he’s not part of the in…
My daughter’s favorite phrases lately are, “I’m not interested” and “I’m not impressed”. Different things, situations, and people evoke these different thoughts and sayings with her. If it’s something she doesn’t like, it doesn’t interest her. If it’s a person or something hyped up, she’s not interested.
She’s always been a go her own way type. Sure, there’ve been times she’s fallen in line with what popular, or what someone else likes it wants, but eventually, she makes her way back to being her own person.
I’ve always admired that about her. Yes, she’s been home schooled mostly, but she’s been in public schools too. She wasn’t impressed or interested in the cliques, in the sluts, in the users and posers, in the backbiting, in the drama. She had a few friends to choose from and she chose wrong, she paid the price, and she’s learned.
But being your own person is terribly lonely. There’s no fitting in, no following the trends, no popularity. It feels as though people forget you exist after a while. There’s a lot of silence and a lot of doubt that sinks in from time to time. You begin to wonder, “what’s wrong with me?”
In all actuality though, the answer is nothing. But it’s no easier for a near 20 year old to realize that, than it is for a near 43 year old to do so.
I mentioned on Twitter this morning that it’s like being on an island. You feel cut off when there are so many collaborations, so many outings, so many conversations going on and you’re not part of any of them. You’re alone in a sea of peers and strangers.
There’s not much to do in situations. Rejection is no fun when you try to mix and mingle. Being left behind is no picnic either. You miss friends but they’ve moved on or moved backward, and you just can’t go there. You miss laughter, conversation, connection, but what’s the price?
I love being an author and I’ve met some wonderful and outstanding people. And there are times I wish for popularity and being wanted in the mix of all that’s going on… But, there are other times I look around, watch the conversations, see where the mentality is and think to myself, “I’m not impressed. I’m not interested.” I’ve been hurt, I’ve done some hurting. Neither of which is a place of pride.
It’s nearly the end of 2013 and it’s the normal time for reflection and a time when we all try to figure out what we’re going to different in the coming year. In this reflection, I’ve thought of all the awesomeness authors I’ve witnessed too.
As as I’ve observed how people treat others, how open and welcoming they are to outsiders, listened to how ‘friends’ treat friends, watched and witnessed how success and bestseller lists change people… Those awesome few authors stand out and if I had to or could emulate and pattern my behavior after anyone, it would be them. Granted, I have a long way to go…
If you’re wondering who they are… Lori Foster, Amanda Usen, Samantha Kane, Delilah Devlin, Dakota Cassidy, Leah Braemel, Selena Illyria… They are their own people. They do their thing. They share about who they are, not just their books. They are open and willing and kind and there if someone needs them, needs advice, needs help, needs a friend. There are a handful of others, but these came to mind immediately… I see how they treat people, other authors, readers. I see how they conduct themselves.
As my daughter has found, there are levels to aspire to and levels to sink down to… It’s a hard lesson to learn at any age, especially when you want to fit in, when you want the friends, when you want the respect. It’s hard for a mom to stand by and watch, to not step in and protect, but these are valuable lessons to learn and that are needed in life.
So, the phone might not ring. Messenger may not chime. Email might not light up. Your name may not be on everyone’s lips. People may forget you or may never have given you the time of day because you don’t project shock and awe or run with the popular kids, authors, guys, jocks, etc… It may even be a very quiet life of home and doing things alone, but… Being you, being me, is interesting and impressive.