Keep Austin Weird
But the god of good taste demands sacrifices, and it’s always the weird, quirky, awkward parts of ourselves that are first to be thrown on the pyre. Yet the weird, quirky, awkward parts are where the surprises lie and, therefore, a great deal of joy.
–Ingrid Fetell Lee
Keep Austin Weird became a slogan and rallying cry in 2000 for all that made Austin unique. As the city population continues to rapidly expand, it will be challenging to maintain Austin’s quirky personality.
The importance of this call to celebrate being weird became clear to me while reading Ingrid Fetell Lee’s chapter on “Surprise” in her book, Joyful. She points out “While good taste wants things to be simple and normal, joy thrives out on the edges of the bell curve.”
We need those edges externally to help us have the courage to internally welcome and honor the “weird, quirky, awkward parts” of us to fully shine and share our gifts with the world. Too much focus on fitting in and having “good taste” causes us to shrink and be less. From graduates embarking on their adult lives to the elderly looking at how they want to experience their remaining years, we can all benefit from revisiting parts of us long buried and taking small steps to free them.
May you find the courage to reawaken, celebrate, and share (as appropriate) those weird parts of you that make you uniquely you. And may the welcome you give all of yourself in this process ripple out into generously honoring others’ unique ways of being.