“I was kind of a misfit little kid and bullied at school.” – Sara Bareilles
Not fitting in with others is a common experience for many of us.
A number of artists have found creative work is a way to express their unique personalities and talents, and feel accepted.
Singer-songwriter, actress and author Sara Bareilles made her Broadway performing debut as Jenna in the musical Waitress.
She also composed music and wrote lyrics for the show, earning a Tony Award nomination for Best Original Score in 2016, and a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theatre Album.
An article notes she grew up in a theatre-loving home.
“My mom and my sisters were all very involved in community theatre, and so I would go as a little girl, and I’m much younger, nine years younger than my oldest sister and six years younger than my middle sister,” says Bareilles.
“I would go and see their productions and just couldn’t wait to get onstage.
“I was kind of a misfit little kid and bullied at school, so finding the theatrical community was a great home for me very early on.
“It’s where I felt like I could really be myself and be the little weirdo I was and not be judged for it.”
What Musical Theatre Roles Did Sara Bareilles, John Legend, and Brandon Victor Dixon Play in High School? by Ruthie Fierberg, Playbill, Mar 22, 2018.
Sara Bareilles memoir: Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song.
“I never felt like I fit in anywhere.” Rachel Weisz
Many of us who are creative, sensitive, even gifted, have felt like outsiders.
These feelings can be painful, especially early in life, and can be especially intense for those of us are highly sensitive, as many – or most – creative people are.
The quote by actor Rachel Weisz is from an article about her movie “Disobedience.”
Writer Amy Kaufman notes Weisz liked the story “because it was about not fitting in, which Weisz never feels she has.”
From my article Being an outsider can be a building block of excellence.
John Lennon described some of his feelings about being an outsider in his song “Strawberry Fields Forever?” – with lyrics such as “No one I think is in my tree.”
In an interview, he said “In one way I was always hip. I was hip in kindergarten. I was different from the others. I was different all my life.”
Therapist Sharon Barnes works with creative, sensitive, intense and/or gifted teens and adults.
“In my counseling office talking to people face to face across the room and as I’m at my computer connecting with people around the world, I hear so many people who feel discouraged and feel like a misfit, like they don’t belong because of their characteristics.
“Some even tell me that they feel like they’re aliens from a different planet.”
From my article John Lennon: “Something wrong with me, I thought.”
In an article of hers, Barnes notes:
A creative person may experience “negative judgement, criticism, being excluded or ostracized for her traits of creativity, awareness, sensitivity, intensity, and/or intelligence.
“When this happens, it commonly brings in its wake struggles with social relationships, school and work performance and dissatisfaction, and under-achievement, just to name a few.
She adds that problems commonly faced such as sensitivity, anxiety and depression “are usually made worse by entering the MisFit Phase.”
Many creative, sensitive, intelligent people may feel like misfits.
Another example: Lady Gaga
She described herself in high school as “very dedicated, very studious, very disciplined”
But she also said she felt “a bit insecure.”
“I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down.
“I didn’t fit in, and I felt like a freak.”
Creative, sensitive, gifted people feeling like misfits and aliens
Therapist Sharon Barnes says creative people “can cope with their intense feelings, and transform their perceived deep defects into their greatest gifts which will enable them to make a unique, creative contribution to the world.”
From article about her home-study
Emotional Health Program for Creative, Gifted, Sensitive People.
Not fitting in on account of your skin color
An interview article notes Taye Diggs “says he grew up ‘feeling really awkward, like I didn’t fit in,’ because he was one of a very few dark-skinned kids in his neighborhood.
The actor’s picture book, Chocolate Me, “tells the story of a dark-skinned, curly-haired boy who is made fun of because of his appearance.”
New Picture Book from Taye Diggs Aims to Help Misfits, Popsugar, September 28, 2011.
In our interview years ago, Diggs said he has been acting for as long as he has been shy.
Being shy or introverted, especially in such an extrovert-oriented culture as ours, can be another reason so many creative people feel like ‘outsiders’ or ‘misfits’ – even those who are prominent actors, musicians or other performers.
One of my articles:
Being Shy or Introverted and an Actor.
Another related article: Misfits May Be Innovators
“It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.” Steve Jobs
According to some writers and research, some of the “big names” of creativity and innovation share personal qualities with various sorts of “misfits.”
Unhealthy self-concept or poor self-esteem can get in the way of expressing our creativity.
One program that can help:
Self-Esteem: Your Fundamental Power
– an audio program by Caroline Myss
“What is self-esteem? A type of confidence? Or something far greater?
“On Self-Esteem, Caroline Myss casts a new light on this often misunderstood subject, redefining self-esteem as an actual core power that is essential to our evolutionary progress.
“In fact, Myss teaches, your potential for success in life is determined by how greatly you esteem or value who you truly are.”
Learn more and hear audio excerpt:
Self-Esteem Program by Caroline Myss