STAY TRUE: How To Deal With Being Different.

deer.jpgI was going to a party so I got dressed up like this.

Afterwards, my friends and I left and went to a bar together.
As soon as we walked in, the female bartender grabbed the male bartender by the wrist and they stood there behind the bar, obviously whispering and talking shit about us.
We sat at the end of the bar for about five minutes before the bartender decided she was ready to help us (the bar was mostly empty).
After dealing with the rude bartender, several people over the next half hour came over to make comments, stand between my friends and I to be aggressive, make jokes about what I was wearing and interrupt our very intimate little corner where we were all leaning in together.

Immediately, one of my close friends, who is very protective, got angry and wanted to leave.
Part of me did, too.
But here’s the deal – I knew if I lost my temper, it would ruin my whole night and I didn’t want some other people I didn’t even know ruin a great night out for me and my friends.
Then part of me felt oddly guilty, because I knew this anger and aggressive attention was because I was wearing huge antlers on my head.
But then I was like….WAIT….we are in New York City, people.
This is why I moved here….to be FABULOUS, motherfuckers.

Here’s the thing though….I’ve learned that anytime you express yourself- whether it’s dressing differently, pursuing an out-of-the-box career, performing your work, speaking your truth or sharing your art – you’re going to draw attention, and while some of that will be positive, some of that will also be negative…. –

but none of what other people do should change you from being true to yourself.

So what did we do?

1. Teach People How To Behave.

We all have a common human thread and natural curiosities.
Sometimes people get freaked out by what they don’t understand.
That’s when you gotta step in and educate them.

We took care of the comments and the weird energy by telling them we just left a party, that we were happy that it was finally Spring, that we hoped they were having a great night, too – and well – we’re going to go get back to our own conversation now – so have a nice night.

The people would then go on their way and the weird or aggressive energy was diffused.

When we took a second to communicate with them in an open and kind way, it broke down boundaries and changed their idea of “WTF??!?!” to “Oh, okay, this is kind of cool.  Okay. Have a nice night.”

2.  Change Your Environment and Find Your Co-Conspirators.

We picked up and left after about a half hour at that first place and moved on to the next bar.

The next place not only had an amazing jukebox, but had a kickass bartender who was super sweet and loved the antlers.  People take social cues from each other – and the bartender’s sweet and warm welcome to us, created a good atmosphere.  We loaded up the jukebox with singles, grabbed a table and had a great rest of the night.

Most of my friends in NYC, are creative, wild things.  We are a tight-knit family who support each other through the ups and downs of striking out on our own and adventuring out there to claim our dreams.  Years ago, I had friends that didn’t really understand why I would perform, or why I bothered – telling me I’d never be able to make a living at it and I couldn’t do it forever.  It fucked with my confidence, because I was already scared to take a chance and do something different. As soon as I changed up my friends and started hanging out with people who understood me and supported the true me, I went further than ever before.  They saw great things in me, that I couldn’t even see in my self at the time – and their encouragement pushed me to conquer my goals.

And like I’ve said to you before when I wrote about Draven Rodriguez’s suicide

You’re probably here because you’re different, too.
Because you fight every day to be your wild, creative, true self.
And that’s why there’s community here….
because you and I know how hard it is to be ourselves and get judged constantly, and slammed, and made to feel not good enough or worthy enough, or too weird, or too whatever.
We know what it’s like to feel like the world is against us at times….
and we find safety and encouragement in each other.

Thanks for being here.

I’ll leave you with this quote that really struck me from Madonna in this month’s Cosmopolitan:

“Popularity comes and goes. You need to know who you are, what you stand for, and why you’re here.”

I’m not going to change or dull myself down so other people will accept me. I’ve only got this one life, and I’ve got to stay true to myself.  I’m here to help encourage and support others to do the same.  That’s why I spend the time to do this blog three times a week.  This is so important to me because YOU are important to me – and the unique things about us that we have to offer the world CANNOT be hidden anymore.

So tell me, Danger Addicts, what is one thing you stand for?

Answer in the comments, or tweet at me and use the hashtag #istandfor.

We make revolutions happen.
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