Fascinating article in Scientific American online  that offers us a research-based look at why creative types are often considered—often ARE—eccentric. This is news? (Insert smiley emoticon here.)

For those of us who have lived this reality for a lifetime, the fact that we are different is not exactly an earth-shaking revelation.

When did I realize that I was “different”? Probably as early as I became self-aware. As Lady Gaga says, “I was born this way.” And do I mind? No. Yes. Not entirely. Sometimes.

Seeing more deeply. Feeling more acutely. Never quite fitting in. Social awkwardness disguised, sometimes, as charming normalcy. Touching an unknown, receiving its graces. I am a full-blooded member of the tribe of YouThinkTooMuch. The We’re-not-sure-what-to-do-with-you club. The Exalted Order of Holy Visioneers and Oddballs. You might never know it to look at me. Or maybe you might.

Does the creativity come from the rarefied atmosphere in the brain? Or does the creativity create the rare air up there? The article shares with us some of the reasons that suggest the former. But the chemistries in the head, the way the pieces fit, they are the gift to us in our personal wildernesses.

Knowing that we are what we are is, as I said, a good thing. But knowing isn’t gonna get us back what the sidelong stares and whispered behind-the-back chuckles of a lifetime have taken away. If you are like me, you grew up feeling a member of the Outcast caste—when you could be torn from your inner self long enough to care.

We spent our childhoods treading water in a fathomless ocean of ourselves. We still do. Unable to grow calluses over our psyches, we learn to live proud, live defiant, in what we are. We persevere. And we wonder why we were such confused, hurt, and occasionally angry kids.

The article describes how a number of  major national companies are now coming to value the creative angels among us, to more-than-tolerate the eccentrics who can add so much to the ideaspace. For some of us, this enlightenment seems to have come too late. We are obliged to find the creativity in the sheer ordinariness of daily life. We use it to keep ourselves alive…to keep from being, as Sherlock Holmes said, the engine that tears itself to pieces because it has been deprived of the work for which it was created.

So wave that freak flag high, fellow square pegs. Embrace the difference and turn it to use. I’m okay. You’re okay. Eccentric—but okay. Scientific American says so.

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