The 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Norman, had seven stacks of novels arranged along the windowsill and asked the class to pick a book. The goal was to organize ourselves into discussion groups based on our book choice.
I sat back and watched everyone else make their selections. The teacher came over and asked why I hadn’t moved.
“I’m waiting to see what everyone else picks.”
“Why? So you can go with the most popular choice?”
By then, pretty much everyone in the class had made their book selection.
“No. I’m waiting to see which book no one else wants. ”
And I stood up and chose from the stack untouched.
I’ve always been the “odd one out” — but not by choice. It’s a force greater than me – something I can’t help. But I’ve grown to embrace my oddness.
So after university, I thought it was kinda cool that even though I was Philippine-born, I became a Russian and French translator. Cooler still that I could work/write in hi-tech public relations for 10+ years in Silicon Valley and then Europe despite having a liberal arts degree (Russian & Slavic Studies, McGill University).
Today, I’m not sure I would qualify these experiences as making me “different”. Indeed, my life here in the suburbs of London with my family and our scandalously naughty British bulldog, Milo, gives me some sense of normality. As an American/Canadian living in Europe, I just know that I’m okay with never really fitting in anywhere.
I’ve also discovered that the coolest people I know, the ones whom I’ve come to love or be loved by, are also “misfits”. And the thing about misfits, is we have an ability to connect with other misfits – the peripherals, the outcasts, the underdogs, the outliers.
Ultimately what makes this connection possible? Understanding, non-judgment, open-mindedness and an eternal curiosity to learn about things that initially make us uncomfortable.
And that is pretty much who I am today. My work — my writing, my art and even my yoga practice– have the same mission: to explore deeper, to assume less, to withhold judgment, and maybe after all that, to amend our original premise or to accept things just exactly as they are.
Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my stuff.