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Diary of a Misfit - What It Is To Be Different

Dionne Baker

Posted on July 28 2015

Sometimes you have to tell the truth on yourself...

And that's exactly what I aspire to do in the coming weeks and months with these posts.

When I left my job at General Motors last August to pursue this business Full-time, I was full of fear and excitement. I'd just finished my Power Yoga teacher certification, and after two years of steady yoga practice and a gruelling two weeks of daily yoga and introspection at the training, I was clear on some things... and muddy as all hell on a bunch of others.

What I knew for sure was that I wasn't happy. I was in need of a big change, but I had no idea what that looked like or what altering my life would mean for my future. In fact, all I did know was that if I didn't make a change, the life I dreamed about would always remain just out of my reach.

So the choice was clear. I had to quit my job and set out to make Little Misfits and Cultivating Wonderful Business work for me.

And while I'm glad that I did, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced in my life.

You see, for as long as I can remember, I've felt inadequate. It's like the whole world has been telling me to be someone or something different than I am, well before I ever had the chance to figure out who I might want to be.

Growing up as a mixed kid in a small town, I didn't have a place. The black kids felt like I should "represent" by embodying the persona of a black girl, complete with daily use of ebonics and love of gangsta' rap. And the white kids? Well, let's just say I've heard all about how I'm not "that black" or how the word nigger "...shouldn't be off limits because black people use it in common discussion" enough times to make me want to vomit.

Compound that by growing up in a single-parent home where my mother suffered from severe mental health issues, and you've got a recipe for never quite feeling "good enough".

As my life progressed in to adulthood, the pattern of not fitting or being wholly accepted continued with boyfriends, bosses, friends and peers. Not because I was bad or troubled or chalk full of behavioural issues that prevented me from being able to connect with people, but because my way of being threatened other people's belief systems.

For them, I should've liked things that I didn't, acted ways that didn't fit my personality, and "tried harder" to "blend in". They wanted me to assimilate and give up on my dreams, and while I tried that on for a little while because I wanted to be accepted, it never really fit. 

As a result, for a long time when the people I spent most of my time around weren't able to celebrate the person I was, I stopped being able to celebrate it myself.

Then one day in my early twenties, I decided to give up. 

I'd tried for what seemed like a lifetime to live my life on someone else's terms and all it had ever brought me was misery and heartache.

It was then that I realized something important. Perhaps something more important than I'd ever learned before.

I realized that I might never fit in... and, you know what? I'm okay with that.

If fitting in means pretending to be different than I am, playing small, not having an opinion, not chasing my dreams, and following along with whatever someone else tells me I should, the world can keep it.

And, damn it, as sure as I"m breathing, I'm capable of creating the life I want. Even if I still have moments of letting myself be paralyzed by deep-seated, irrational fear along the way.

I mean, we all think it sometimes. What if I'm not good enough, or smart enough, or I'm destined to always be just behind where I want to be? How stupid will I look if I try and fail? How damaging will it be to my emotional well being if I pour myself in to my dreams and come up short?

But how will I ever know if I never try? 

And, really, who cares how I'll look to people who sleep with their dreams at night, but are too afraid to get up and chase them when they rise? Who are they to judge me?

So this is it. I'm chasing my dreams, making big goals, and working my ass off to build myself the life that I dream of. And when it's all said and done, win or lose, it's going to be a hell of a ride.

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