Graham Moore’s gave the best acceptance speech at the 2015 Oscars. His message was personal, authentic, beautiful…and clear.
“…what I wanted to do was say this: When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong.”
“And now I’m standing here, and so I would like this moment to be for this kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, stay different and then, when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”
(If you missed it click here.)
Thank you for standing up there on the most glamorous stage in Hollywood and saying those words.
“I felt weird and I felt different, and I felt like I didn’t belong.” Most of us have felt this, but we don’t say it out loud, because we think we’re the only one. The resounding praise that Moore’s receiving today shows that this sentiment hit us in our guts. We all get it…because we all know it.
16 is a particularly difficult time to have these feelings.* Remember middle school and high school? A majority of us resorted to trying to be “normal” and fit in. Which really just made us feel weirder because we no longer felt like ourselves. The ones who didn’t master “normal” got picked on. It was awful.
So what if we all stand on our own stages, whatever they are, and pass the message to the next person who comes along?
Many, many years ago, my teenage sister (much younger than me) came to stay with us for a while in the summer. At some point during her stay she asked me how I can just talk to everyone, everywhere we go. It was a great question that I hadn’t really asked myself before. I told her that at some point I I had realized that I was different, a geek, and rather than trying to blend in I had given up and embraced my geekiness. I just didn’t have to worry about being found out, anymore. I was cool with being my own nerdy self.
It was like a light bulb went off for her. She took to this notion naturally and embraced her own geekiness and has been unabashedly her own different, wonderful self.
My own children need my support to just be themselves. The cookie cutter phase of middle school & high school is the worst, and sometimes it’s hard to hear about their hurts. I find this with my adult friends, as well. We all suffer from trying to fit in and feel normal at some point.
One of the nicest byproducts of accepting my weirdness has been finding others who share theirs with me. I have a wonderful group of supportive friends who are incredibly different from me and one another. And we appreciate this about each other. We celebrate our weirdness.
“Stay weird, stay different” and you might find where you do belong. If you’re looking for a place where weird and different belong, you might try cyclocross. 🙂 (or running, or triathlon…)
“Stay weird, stay different and then, when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.” tweet that!
*One of my children wrestles with depression; this is very scary as a parent. When the feelings of not belonging get strong they can be overwhelming, and the options can get fewer and more dangerous when depression is part of the mix. Our schools are filled with kids who might not make it their own stage. Moore’s message is a gift to these kids. We can amplify it with our own messages. There is hope. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).