Jimmie and Maggi inspired superlative words--they were distinct, they were individual, they were inimitable.
Whether you like kilts and tattoos or not, isn’t the idea of expressing our quirky uniqueness delightful. That’s what Jimmie and Maggi represented to my friend.
Then the couple became the victims of bullying. The harassment went beyond words to being accused of drug peddling.
They didn’t do that stuff, but who would believe it—they looked so counter culture. People who live quirky lives are probably more at risk for being seen outside the law than people in 3-piece suits, no matter what The Big Short, that Oscar-winning movie, tells us about legality and morality.
Jimmie and Maggi committed suicide.
When I heard the news it was a huge loss to me—though I had never even met them.
I hate to lose quirky people in this world.
It isn’t just the unfairness of bullying, which is horrible, it is that quirky people say to me that our individual expression—whether it is understood or admired by the world or not—is okay.
Quirky people make room for the rest of us to be who we are beneath our civilized persona.
What does this have to do with MS?
What does our expression of life have to do with the fact of a bullying?
Let me ask this question. Is MS a bully? Does MS threaten to say something about us that isn’t fair—or true: that we aren’t somehow as okay as we were when we didn’t wear those symptoms like tattoos that go everywhere?
Maybe fighting against being put inside that MS box called “OH YOU HAVE MS SO YOU MUST NOT BE AS OKAY AS BEFORE” is the gift we give ourselves when we find ourselves limited by how our symbolic kilts and tattoos—disguised as our symptoms and diagnoses—are viewed by unfriendly judges.
Andrew Weil pictures emotional resiliency as a rubber band. This is what he means. If we are resilient, no matter how stretched we are by difficulties, we will be able to return to who we are.
To do that, to always return to our essence no matter what hits us, we have to know that our truth is unique—and important. We must understand that our expression is essential, even if others judge it to be no more important than kilts and tattoos.
The fact of being who we are is precious to the world, just as fact of Jim and Maggie and their quirkiness is priceless to all of us who suspect that we are not the perfectly tailored gray 3-piece suits of Wall Street.
It doesn’t seem important to be quirky. It seems more valuable to have an impressive job, to garner money and prestige.
But quirky is essential.
Quirky is the unsung hero: the poetry, the color, the texture and music of our life journey. Voltaire said it this way: the superfluous is a very necessary thing.
We are more than 3-piece suits—we are unique. That uniqueness is what our superfluous qualities express.
Quirky is the banquet of life, and, as Auntie Mame explained it, life is a banquet but most poor suckers are starving themselves.
May each of us live beyond whatever our personal rendition of Life's Curve Ball is. May we bask in our own expression of kilts and tattoos in a world that mistakes perfection for 3-piece suits in the color gray.