Have you ever met someone that you love to spend time with because of how you feel about yourself when they are around? I don’t mean that they make you feel good about yourself. But you just feel better, more positive, more like yourself when you are in their presence. This is how I felt in Angela Rockstar’s home a couple of months ago.
I had not had any face-to-face interaction with Angela since we graduated high school in 2001. But, from what I could see via her Facebook page, she embodied everything I wanted to talk about when I was coming up with the idea of a 30 Days of Weird blog series.
Case in point – This photo of her and her very good friend:
She’s honest and transparent about who she is. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. Her views and choices are far from mainstream. She is very vocal about her values, both political and philosophical. She’s an all around beautiful weirdo. So, on a random Sunday in March I sent her a message and asked if I could interview her. I was sitting on her couch less than twenty-four hours later, chatting with her not only about her beliefs and her story, but just about life in general.
One of the most surprising things I learned about Angela is just how much hiding she felt she had to do in her younger years. She moved to our hometown in a suburb of Baltimore when she was twelve, right around the time she began to really form her unconventional beliefs. She had always felt “weird,” but now in this new place during this formative time in her life, she felt set apart from the “normal” kids even more. She didn’t mind being different in theory, but she felt kind of uncomfortable letting it out around others. This is different than most stories I hear. Most people I come across don’t really know that they want to challenge the status quo until much later in life. But Angela has always known she was different. She just hadn’t found her fellow super-weirdos at this point, so she wasn’t yet letting her freak flag fly quite so freely.
She was lucky enough to do some traveling in high school, and experiencing many different cultures proved to her what she had always guessed. The “normal” we witness every day is not the only “normal” in existence. This awareness helped her to feel more comfortable coming out of her own self-imposed shell. But even after her travels and then having been deeply involved in the Baltimore club scene for years after high school, she still felt out of place. Maybe less out of place than before, but still not quite in her own world. It wasn’t until she was twenty-two that she finally began to feel truly comfortable embracing her weirdness.
Festivals are what did it for her. It was here that she really began to find a tribe of like-minded individuals. These festivals tend to be a multi-day gathering where its participants can meet new people and spend time with old friends, express their creativity, celebrate their beliefs, learn new things, get closer to nature, and just have a great time. Think drumming, rituals of all kinds, performances, workshops, glitter, rainbows, magick, and of course singing and dancing.
But weird is relative, right? In this environment nobody is “weird” because everyone is weird. And that makes it normal. Spending time in this world provided opportunities for Angela to find her tribe.
And then once and for all she became truly comfortable in her weirdness. How effing beautiful.
I imagine she found in that festival environment what I was able to find in her living room. A sense of calm, a sense of belonging, and a sense of acceptance.
Angela told me that it took a lot of work to learn how to really, truly, unconditionally love herself. But these days she looks in the mirror and is able to say without a doubt “I’m cool. I’m worthwhile. Fuck, yeah! I’m going to rock!” The thing is, when someone believes that about herself, just being in her presence makes it easier to believe it about yourself, too. When someone loves herself that much, in a way she is giving you permission to love yourself like that, too. And being around someone who has mastered both of these things…dude, it’s incredibly contagious.
If I hadn’t been sure I wanted to make this blog series a thing before meeting with her, I was convinced when I walked out the door. I left energized, excited, and pretty damn confident. Not confident that it would be successful or even begin to catch on. But I was absolutely certain that this was something I would love doing. And that was enough for me.
I’m so grateful that this beautiful person was able to forge a path for herself that she truly feels at peace with. And I’m also so grateful that she was willing to share her story with me. Not only does it make a cool piece about a wonderful weirdo, but it was just incredibly inspiring to be in her presence.