I coached girls soccer for a number of years. One of the things I enjoyed doing to boost morale was wearing a fake mustache. I’d run up and down the field holding my mustache on to keep it from flying off as I’d yell out to my girls, “Push up! Push up! You’re beautiful people! UNAGI!” (If you don’t get the Friends reference, go look it up RIGHT NOW.)
My family thought it was funny, but also a little embarrassing. They believed I was scaring off potential suitors. But I didn’t care. It made me happy and, most important to me, it made my girls smile.
I didn’t always have that mindset. When I was a kid, I was terrified of making a fool of myself. I was worried that somehow, doing so was hurting someone else. That if people thought I was weird, I was in someway causing them an inconvenience. Everyone praised me for being graceful, quiet, and composed at all times; I didn’t want to upset that balance, because that’s the “me” everyone seemed happy with.
Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being graceful, quiet, and composed – if that’s who you naturally are. But every moment I spent forcing myself to be that way, I died a little inside and hated myself for it.
Today, I consider it the biggest compliment when someone tells me I’m weird. It’s who I am, so the more people tell me that’s what they see (whether they mean it as a compliment or not), the happier it makes me.
Own Your Madness
Perhaps you’ve heard of the famous Robin Williams quote: “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
I love this quote because it’s true for every single one of us. However, other people make us think we’re supposed to hold back our madness. But the truth is, that madness… It’s the best part of our bacon. It’s the fuel that helps us shape our bacon. Following it guides you to ultimate Baconator status. It boosts your self-esteem, making you comfortable with yourself in any and all situations.
Why? Because it holds truth. Truth and complete honesty are the keys to embracing your bacon (i.e. your true, unadulterated self). The more comfortable and familiar you are with truth, the happier you will be with who you are.
We all have parts of us that are crazy and weird. Own it. Live it. Shout it across the rooftops. Puke it up into a jar, appreciate its beauty, and then swallow it back up with a satisfying belch. (I can’t burp, so I guess I’ll have to settle for a satisfying fart.)
During my freshman year of college, I had this one class where I met this douchebag who kept trying to flirt with me. I acted clueless and kept shooting back sarcastic comments. Once, we made this bet, and if I won, he had to leave me alone. When I asked him what he wanted if he won, he said, “I have a taste for raw meat.”
I was fully aware of the innuendo, but me (being me) literally went to the school cafeteria and asked for a raw meat patty. I put it in a Ziploc baggie, drew an evil smiling face on it with a sharpie, and left it at his desk at the beginning of the next class. Unfortunately, he was absent for that class, so one kid raised his hand and told our professor, “There’s a piece of meat staring at me and I’m scared.”
Later, I told the guy for whom the meat was originally intended what I did. Long story short, he said I was weird, and just like that, he stopped talking to me completely.
I couldn’t have been prouder of myself.
Reasons You Should Own Your Crazy
Most reasons to NOT own your crazy have to do with worrying about what other people consider acceptable. But the reasons why you should own it are SO MUCH better and more uplifting.
It’s a Lot More Fun
Why so serious, Karen? In my opinion, authenticity is a lot more fun than keeping the bits and pieces of ourselves that we’re afraid to show people wrapped up in a foil ball in the pit of our guts. By owning your crazy as an honest part of your bacon, you become a lot less rigid and become aware of the joyful parts of ourselves.
Another college story: my friends at the time didn’t believe that I couldn’t burp. Instead of stopping to think about whether I was making a fool of myself, I chugged 8 Mountain Dews in a row and, with my bulging belly, leaned over my chair (like with the Heimlich maneuver), attempting to force a burp.
Aside from the fact that I was in physical pain (the burp never came), I was cracking myself up, as well as causing my friends to bust a gut. It sounds silly, but it was a good time that I would have otherwise missed had I stopped to think about all the football players sitting at the table behind me, staring at my ass hung over my chair.
It Boosts Your Self-Esteem
As I said before, your madness is an honest part of you. The more familiar with it you become, the more you accept yourself in all your crazy, weird, belch-worthy glory.
It Helps You Take More Risks
The biggest and greatest risk to take in life is the one you take when you accept yourself and allow yourself to just BE. It’s a risk that we need to put forth effort to take every single day. The more we do, the more we flex that muscle of bravery, which boosts our confidence for taking other risks in life. For instance, I think it’s so important to become comfortable with yourself first, before taking the risk of a romantic relationship.
It Improves Your Relationships With Others
When you’re comfortable with yourself, it becomes easier to accept others and their bacon as well. You’re not preoccupied in your head with how you’re coming across to others, so you start to notice opportunities to be kind to and understand others better.
It Frees Up Brain Space and Helps You Live in the Moment
There’s a particular improv mantra that I like to apply to everyday life: “Act Now, Think Later.” There is so much joy in this world, but when we’re spending so much brain power on adjusting ourselves and figuring out what is or isn’t acceptable, we miss out on what’s right in front of us. Instead of letting your doubt and fear of embarrassment control your weird, awesome self, let that bacon sizzle. When you do, you’ll be surprised by how many little, amazing things are happening all around you.
You take away from the precious surprises your bacon has to offer when you spend so much time worrying about what other people think and adjusting to their standards.