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  • Writer's pictureNikki S


I am Mystical Misfit. I like my comfort zone, but I find my comfort zone outside where most people find theirs. I like the other side of trees and overgrown paths and alleys that are famous for going nowhere, just to see. Everybody follow me The Artist, but some, a chosen few, follow, Nikki--and that is a happy accident.

I find myself where untamed fruits will nurture me, and their juices linger where they stain my lips and fingers—but I like that.

I have been known to bend around the rules corralling people into tribes. I thought that happiness was other people, so I painted myself with protective camouflage. The safety of being inside tempted with its colors and laughter, and I did try to fit in. When I did worm inside, from there…do you know what I saw? I saw as much loneliness as I felt from the outside of the tribe. I tell anyone who stands still long enough: life has more in it than feeling included. I say it in the best way I know how. Folk look at me funny when I do.

I am here for anyone who is sick and tired of belonging. Its glory is all moonshine. I think I heard a visionary describe war that way once:

I do like moonshine. Just not as a metaphor. With my stained lips and stained fingers, and the sweet smells from those stains, I find music in the silver light of moon and stars. Maybe that’s strange. I keep it secret because it sounds strange.

That strangeness itself gives me the best kind of chills. That’s the frightening part. I follow the secret songs made by the fair lady, the Wide World, who speaks more secrets to me. She says to look further—dance into new shadows—find new places. I spoke my piece, and it met with deafness, and I learn to make peace with that.

And, my stars, I do learn. My dancing carries me on into ever-growing versions of myself: always me and always new. I see new sunrises and I watch old beauty. I find myself, my childlike joys and my heartbreak-fertilized wisdoms. I grow into myself.

After it all, I follow my dance and the moon and I follow my own feet. With my stained lips and my stained fingers and a sweet scent in my nose, I find myself wandering into grottos unknown.

Only not wholly unknown. I know the backside of that tree—I know that hidden alley—I know that secret place. These places are where I grew up and learned to dance, where I found my comfort zone, the one nobody else chose. They’re unknown to me because they have not changed, and I am new and renewed.

On my quiet dance, I come across someone young—familiar in kind, because I knew her when I was her. She tells me that, once, she saw someone out here, dancing with the moon, by herself, proving nothing except no need for proof. That Mystical Misfit inspired this young dancer, and she’s out under the moon, tasting the wild fruit and getting her own stains. She’s outside the tribe and living her best life. Her gratitude isn’t for me, but for the legend, even if the legend is about me.

I keep that to myself. By now, I know better. I have grown. Still the Mystical Misfit, but also a Secret Genius. My words mattered, but that’s not what mattered. It mattered that I danced.


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