My Punky Roots


October 2016

I was 5 years old, coloring a picture of Punky Brewster with my dad (yes, this was way back in the 80’s). We were each coloring in a blank outline of my then-idol, a colorful TV character & a childhood emblem of funky, unique individuality. All was well, until my dad showed me his finished depiction of my beloved hero— I was immediately overcome with frustration. With nothing but a few crayons & an outline of Punky Brewster, he had managed to incite me. The grave offense my dad had just committed lay on the paper before my young eyes. I couldn’t believe it. He had gotten it all wrong! Missed the entire point! …How so? What exactly had he done? … Well, he had made Punky match too much. (Yep, cause for a juvenile riot, indeed.)

Why would that upset a 5 year old so badly? Well, as it turns out, his objectionable arrangement of Crayola scribbles had nothing to do with aesthetics. It evidenced a much bigger problem— his complete misunderstanding of my childhood hero. His flawed depiction made it apparent that my dad had no idea who Punky really was. He didn’t “get” her at all. And I spared no hot air in expressing my sentiments & admonishing him for his error.

His depiction of a normal-looking girl pointed out what my dad had clearly failed to understand— Punky was different. She was nothing like most other kids. She didn’t live like them, & she definitely didn’t look like them. She lived life on her own terms, & her funky style was her hallmark that showed it best— everything her own little colorfully mismatched, unique way. It was both an illustration & a celebration of her unusual approach to life. Her unorthodox spirit was what defined her & what I loved most about her. And yet my dad had just taken a few crayons & managed to water her down to normal, leaving no trace whatsoever of her most precious quality. For a carefree 5 year old, I was pretty upset. I couldn’t have understood then why such a thing would bother me so much, but it all makes perfect sense now.

I “got” who Punky was, because I was who she was. My innate similarity to this fictitious TV personality is what drew me to her. Some part of my 5-year-old self identified with this unique little character, way before I had any concept of what identity was. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been different. Just like Punky, I too was (& still am) a unique little soul, cut from a different fabric, born to delight in my own unconventional individuality & in what sets me apart from others. I would never be like the rest. And that would never stop me either.

Looking back now, it’s no surprise that one of my first memories illustrates values in my 5-year-old self that still drive me to this day & even inspire my writing here— an appreciation for individuality & going your own way, a felt need to speak up & promote that, & a frustration with anything that dismisses it. That part of myself has remained intact, even 27 years after my first memory of it.

Now I am 31, still the same colorful misfit, & happily so. What made me mis-fit all my life is now coming full circle & making it all fit together. I opted out of ordinary a long time ago, & I always knew my path in life would be as different as I was. But staying true to my unconventional, naturally dissenting spirit while navigating life in a conventional society has definitely had its challenges.

More recently, I spent years caught between the chasm of my non-traditional dreams & the “status quo syndrome” that seemed to dictate my possibilities & disqualify atypical aspirations in its definition of a “real future”. It wasn’t until this year that I finally realized— the only way forward was to completely abandon the traditional model (the only one I knew “worked”) & try building my own— one that not only allowed for my dreams, but revolved entirely around them.

I had no proof that this new approach would work (& still don’t), but I had years of proof that the other way didn’t. So in February of 2016, after a 7-year rut of stagnancy, I chose to do something radically different. I chose to “go rogue”. I followed my gut & scrapped the useless map. I chose to take a shot, even though it might not work, even though I had no idea what I was doing (& still don’t, really). I broke ground & began cutting my own path, one uncharted step at a time. And I finally started getting somewhere. I learned & changed a lot & fast. And I wrote about my experiences the whole time. Then early this summer, I made a decision to share all of that. I found my blogging voice & crafted my own battle cry— “Status Quo? Hell no!”… That’s where this blog picks up.

From a funky, Punky-esque kid, to who I am now, these are the constants— I was born to be different, loud & proud. Born to be creative. Born to non-conform. Mis-fitting in  is the only way of life for me, & normal has never been the goal (really— it’s never even been an option). This blog is a true-to-form display of all that, wrapped into a bigger aim that steers what I share here.

This blog is my journey, & it’s my mission… It chronicles my breakthrough this year— my transformation, the revival of my dream, & what it took to get here. But more importantly, it’s my way of passing the torch to you. My reason & drive for building this blog & website right now is to share what’s helped me get to where I am now, in hopes that it helps you  somehow.

This blog is not for me. It’s for anybody out there with a buried dream, who feels stuck with no discernable direction, & is sick to death of it. If that’s you, then I wrote this for you. This blog has been a massive undertaking, a full-time unpaid job, & most of all, a labor of love. My sacrifices & hard work will only be justified if this blog helps other people breakthrough like I did. I have hope that it can, but it’s up to you now. If anything you run across here tugs at your gut or pulls at your heart, then don’t let it go. Take that feeling that’s there for an important reason & DO something with it. Your dreams are waiting on you, so don’t wait any longer on them.

It’s your turn now. Your turn to hope. Your turn to try. Your time to choose to breakthrough. It’s all up to you, whatever you decide to do.

More than anything else, I hope you GO ROGUE too.

Check out my Manifesto next. It’s what I believe in, my battle cry.

Haven’t read my Bio yet? Get the Rookie rundown here.

Take a look at my DISqualifications, & why I really have no business blogging.