“There’s a myth in most cultures about following your dreams. It’s called the ‘hero’s journey.’ I prefer another myth off to the side of that, or underneath it maybe. It’s called the ‘misfit’s myth’.”
A misfit, as Lidia Yuknavitch explains in the opening words of her TED Talk, is “a person who missed fitting in”. Her mission is to empower those who feel like they do not belong anywhere to embrace exactly that – by sharing the tale of her own journey through loss, shame and the slow process of self-acceptance.
After a long line of discouraging experiences – flunking college several times, two failed marriages, brief prison encounters, drug abuse rehabilitation and losing her daughter the day she was born – Yuknavitch ended up living in a state of “zombie grief”. To find out more about that time in her life (and how she managed to turn it around) just check out her talk!
A Story That Matters
From being a misfit to an almost-author … and back. However. believing that her “words mattered” and that her “stories could be part of the world” kept her going, buying herself return tickets to success numerous times in her life.
For Yuknavitch, failure and success were amazingly interwoven.
How come? Because misfits fail to take what they deserve – even when it is right in front of them. “It’s a shame we carry. It’s the shame of wanting something good. It’s the shame of feeling something good.”
So what’s the beauty of being a misfit, you may ask yourself. Here is the answer: As a result of this experience, Yuknavitch realised something of utter importance, “even at the moment of your failure, you are beautiful.” The answer came from contemplating all the times she had to reinvent herself from the ruins of her own (bad) choices.
Eventually, Yuknavitch did become a writer, because at the end of the day, there’s nothing lost in being lost. “You can be standing dead center in the middle all of your failure,” she says, and still “your story deserves to be heard.” And the ability to reinvent oneself remains.
That, as Yuknavitch sums up, is the beauty behind the misfit’s myth.