Have a look at yourself in the mirror.
That reflection is YOU.
Nobody else has the same image.
Nobody else has the same personality.
Nobody else knows what you know.
Nobody else is YOU.
This is Sue's story. She knew who she was.
I remember one evening on a tour our band was on, back in 1982. We were playing in Alexandra down in Central Otago. After the gig, there was a party organised by some of our followers. This was a pretty normal thing and as always, it went on til the wee small hours.
The usual crowd was at the party, with the same old music being played. Beer was flowing, often over people, rather than down the throat. All up, A typical night on the road.
Our followers were the “New Romantic” crowd. They were all pretty well dressed, and had large hair styles that only the 80s could produce. This was rather obvious because we were largely the same. To top it all off, I was still wearing my stage makeup with masses of rouge, lipstick and upside down crosses on my cheeks.
(yes, there are photos… Hidden away!)
However, this particular evening I spied one girl who didn't really fit in. She stood out like a vegan at a butcher's convention. For convenience, I'll call her Sue. Actually, I think that was her name!
Sue had a massive mohawk (For the uninitiated, I've included a photo). She wore black leather pants, Doc Marten boots, a ripped up black teehirt, razor blades for earrings and a safety pin in her nose. Sue was the epitome of the punk look. But this party was definitely not punk, it was post punk!
Punk was dead in our opinion. 1982 was all about the new wave, the new romantics, the synth pop revolution. We used to be punks, but nah, we had moved on, after all, our groupies would never have liked us if we were still punks. Think of the embarrassment, the shame, perish the thought.
But here was Sue… a punk in a new romantic after party.
That whole night, I dared not talk with her. I mean, I couldn't… could I?
The next gig was in Dunedin a few days after. I couldn't get Sue out of my mind. This girl had no qualms about being different. That blew my mind, because I was different, or at least I thought I was. The rest of the band thought the same way. We were unique, different, extremely rebellious… apparently.
By the time we went on stage, I had put Sue out of my mind. My job was to play the drums and entertain the crowd. I was glad to be free from thinking about Sue.
There was Sue… right up near the stage. Dancing in the punk pogo style (jumping up and down), dressed in the same clothes and wearing the same hairstyle.
This time I had to speak to her. I had to find out why she was coming to our gigs. I started to feel worried for her. After all, being different might be dangerous in this setting.
After the gig I looked for Sue and found her outside with some others.
However I almost dropped my glass of Speights when I realised that Sue was with a group of New Romantics. I wondered if she had been kidnapped, but if this was the case, then I would sort it out. After all, I was in the band!
I asked Sue if she had a minute and to my surprise, she kissed one of the New Romantic guys and came up to me. I asked her if she was OK and she assured me everything was fine. Sue said how much she loved our band and how she followed us.
I then asked her about her punk image. Sue was surprised by that question and looked disappointed. She wondered if I didn't like it.
I was quick to assure her I loved it. To be honest I am unsure if she believed this, but I genuinely did. Sue ended up coming to many of our gigs and apart from that one brief exchange, we never talked again. She was always with her New Romantic friends and nobody blinked an eye.
The reality of the situation didn't hit me until our band broke up a year later. I realised that Sue was just being honest with herself and that her friends didn't care less. Their friendship was not based on outside appearances. It was based on something far deeper.
I began to realise that I was only looking at the surface and being utterly shallow. I was so locked in to the one appearance that I could not see the truth. I was judging someone based on their differences rather than their unique beauty. Sue demonstrated in the most powerful way that individuality is the most beautiful human trait of all.
The story of Sue doesn't finish there. Many years later I met someone who was at the Alexandra gig and after party. She claimed to know who I was referring to when I mentioned Sue.
Sue had been very well known around the Dunedin music scene back in the early 80s. Apparently she was an extremely driven girl who had some pretty lofty goals and achieved then. She knew what she wanted and knew who she was.
According to the woman I met, Sue had become an extremely successful fashion designer, living in Europe and making a fortune! I have no doubt that Sue's apparent success was partly due to her comfort in being herself.
Sue didn't play some game that other people dictated. She wrote her own book and played her own game. Her friends saw an honest woman with a strong mind.. Meanwhile the rest of us were too busy being like each other. Sue had goals that were far larger than just fitting in.
Goals are like finding a nice place to go on holiday. The destination is the key. However, it's of no use planning to go somewhere unless you know where you are first. A destination can't be a destination unless you leave from somewhere!
However, so many of us don't know where we are.
We don't understand who we are.
We ignore the now.
We don't understand ourselves and what an incredibly unique set of traits we have.
So many of us live our lives in the footsteps of others.
So many of us just want to fit in.
We live our lives blaming others for our plight.
Many people don't have enough self esteem to be the person they should most celebrate… THEMSELVES!
It is only when we truly know ourselves that we can then tread the path to our goals.
Sue had no qualms about being herself. It was me who was confused, not her friends, and especially not Sue. She went on to achieve huge success and live out her dreams.
To achieve anything, we need to have a goal, a plan and a starting point. Sue showed me how important it is to fully understand how important a starting point is.
My starting point is right now.
What about yours?
Here's to you Sue…