People often ask me how I get so much done. Even more often they tell me why they can't do things or how they wish they COULD, but something is stopping them. Somehow, at least here in the US, many of the things that make us individual and unique have become "disabilities".
If you don't learn at the same speed as everyone else, don't think in the same way, if you sometimes have days when you are down or tired, or days when you are too excited. If you don't filter yourself, control, yourself, make sure your ideas and emotions are displayed in an acceptable way. If you are not 100% socially comfortable all the time. If your mind is all over the place. If you aren't comfortable in a specific work or social environment. Well the problem is clearly you. You need to be fixed. You need to be medicated or corrected in some way. This is something I hear more and more often with the people I talk to on twitch, discord, email, and at conventions.
For whatever reason, my life experiences have taken me in a different direction. Slowly, over time, all the things others saw as disabilities I began to see as tools. We are all unique, and being unique means DIFFERENT but not WRONG or BROKEN or BAD. Yes, we can improve who we are and how we live. We can grow and learn and change. But we don't need fixing.
The last ten years have been such a learning experience for me. I've had to figure out how I, personally, best work AND best rest. What inspires me? What recharges me? What is too much chaos and too much organization? What's a balance that works for me to help me create and enjoy life. And when do I need to stop, step back, and check that balance? What sorts of friendships and connections are healthy for me and which ones are not?
My biggest struggle has been with guilt. I was raised to think I wasn't allowed to be happy, that I must be self sacrificing and give up everything for other people. I used to feel guilty when I felt down or bad or needed a day to recharge,especially if that meant canceling something planned with someone else. I used to feel REALLY guilty buying myself anything that wasn't absolutely essential. I still do sometimes, but I'm a LOT better at it. I have a pretty healthy relationship with someone who encourages me to treat myself to takeout sometimes, or a game, or a new dress. It's amazing to have people in my life who don't expect me to suffer for them. And now it seems weird that anyone ever asked that of me!
All the things I felt like were wrong with me in my teens or 20s have become assets, even superpowers. Who I am as a unique person has led me to creating 20 to 30 paintings a month. It's helped me get over any social issues I had - AND draw the line about social things I'm not comfortable with. I never feel like I need to fix who I am anymore, instead I ENJOY who I am and I allow myself a day to rest and recharge when I need it. Being able to do 20 things at once and carry on four conversations at a time? That's not me being hyper, that's me being prolific and efficient. Being stubborn and picky? It helped me become an amazing artist who is growing and learning every day. Not filtering myself enough has helped me inspire others and be an accessible and honest creator.
One thing that has really helped me a LOT is music - it can make me work faster, pick me up on bad days, and truly be a magical thing. So I figured I'd wrap up this post by sharing a song I love that is really how I feel in life these days: I'm Good by The Mowgli's. In particular I'd love to share this part:
We’re looking for something more
What you’re really looking for
It’s been with you since you were born
Since you were born
I hope this post inspires some of you to stop feeling bad about parts of who you are, to make peace with them, find a way to use them, and embrace your superpowers. :)