My friend and fellow wordsmith Jacob Nordby (author of The Divine Arsonist) has created a sensation with these simple phrases that have been showing up all over the internet. There is a method to his madness as he and sister weirdo Barb Black are designing a product line meant to highlight the importance of honoring diversity and uniqueness, rather than seeing anyone different as odd or outcast. Enter the world of Blessed Are The Weird. When I first saw this, I laughed knowingly. I have always felt a little strange, telling my parents that I was an alien baby left on their doorstep. I imagine that many who are reading this might let their freak flag fly too and claim their wonderful weirdness.
How would you define the word ‘weird’?
“Weird” to me just means: a different way of seeing the world. It means that gift of an anomalous perspective which opens a peephole of genius perception.
Where did the idea come from for Blessed Are The Weird?
My purpose in this is to re-frame the meaning of the word itself. I want the “normal” world to better see the genius which lies within so many who might not fit a certain societal model of looks or be able to navigate socially with ease. I want people to understand that Einstein and Edison and Anais Nin and you, Edie, are brilliantly weird. We value the big names and allow them freedom to be eccentric, but it is my deep conviction that everyone harbors genius within. Those who live on the fringes of society are often in better touch with their genius, but they don’t know how to express it in ways the rest of the world can understand. I want them to have more space to do just that in our culture.
Who will this project benefit?
Blessed Are The Weird will benefit many by virtue of displaying their work on our site. But we have committed to give a portion of the proceeds from all sales of “Weird Gear” to organizations which work with Bullied Kids in schools.
What do you think is at the root of bullying?
Fear. Any bully is afraid of him or herself. They see in a weaker, weirder person an aspect of themselves that they are terrified will come out.
What can people do to support those who feel like they don’t fit in…the square peg as it were?
The greatest possible gift any of us square pegs can get is love and encouragement. You have given me this gift time after time. I’m very grateful for that. If people like you and several other very dear friends hadn’t come along with critical encouragement, I wouldn’t have had the courage to share my best stuff with the world.
What risks do you take each day in the service of weirdness, while still maintaining a foothold in the so-called normal world of being a family and professional man?
That’s a great question, Edie. Almost every day I am confronted with the choice whether to try to appear “professional” (or successful or smart, or whatever) or share what is begging to be born. I’ve been blessed with friends from around the world who are the wind beneath my wings and keep encouraging me. There are some awkward, vulnerable moments, but I’m learning better every day that I belong here and have something valuable to share–as we all do.
When you wrote the ‘weird’ beatitude, did you ever imagine it would go viral?
I am completely flummoxed by all of this. I know that these words and the feelings they evoke are not mine. They came through me and I’m just grateful to be of service.
Jewel’s song “Life Uncommon” is absolutely my theme song.