I know what it's like to be popular.
I also know what it's like not to be.
At different points in my life, I've been both;
the intriguingly, interesting girl,
and the quirky, odd one.
I've held on as the latter.
To this day, I'm steadily on the receiving end of judgmental looks.
But, now that I'm adult, married, in my early thirties, and a mother to three bright and wonderful children, I fully know and accept that I'm pretty dang offbeat.
I appreciate my eccentricities, enjoy owning them, and really don't worry or care if anyone (or everyone) finds me socially awkward, or it peculiar that I am an extroverted introvert.
Because here's the thing about being "different" --
it's a superpower,
and life is about sprinkling YOUR mystical shiitake on everything.
Humbly, of course.
And not ever to the detriment of others.
But, adding to moments and conversations your authentic self, embarrassing as it can sometimes be, results in others feeling comfortable enough to do the same.
And, do you know how that feels for you and others?
Really freakin' freeing.
It's two or more people being liberated together, and it feels ah-mazing.
If I could --, and I will one day, as they get older -- give my kids any advice about being popular versus being true to themselves, if ever the two can't co-exist, here's what I'd say:
Being popular feels good, for a bit, while being genuine feels good, forever.
Don't set out to be well-liked.
Don't seek the approval of others.
Popularity is a farce; it's fleeting, and your desire to pursue it will leave you looking self-absorbed and consistently feeling a bit unworthy.
Your looks don't determine your worth, nor does your family's actual worth.
It doesn't matter where you live or in what.
It doesn't matter what you drive or if you don't at all.
It doesn't matter one iota the kind of grades you get, if you must work really hard for them, or if they come easy to you.
It doesn't matter what you do, but it does matter very much who you are at your core.
I would tell them that contrary to what the world has tried and will keep trying to condition them to believe, what's really popular is
and peace -- feeling it, modeling, and encouraging it.
You see, more often than not, being favored by many leaves you tirelessly aiming to meet the expectations of others at the expense of your originality.
And it's not worth it.
But you are.
You are worth every gosh darn effort to be, stay, and like who you are.
Life is not a popularity contest, but if it were, your only competition would be yourself.
So, tell me, do you like who you see?