ode to the oddball

Posted: November 6th, 2011 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 56 Comments »

I made a new video for fellow odd souls. I recently came back from speaking at a conference and had my own experience with not really fitting in. It’s not always a bad thing, you just have to have a sense of humor and own who you are.

So, fellow oddballs, this one is for you…


56 Comments on “ode to the oddball”

  1. 1 melissa newell said at 9:29 am on November 6th, 2011:

    WOW Serena – great video!

    I will tell you, the perception from someone (a layperson) such as myself, is that the "speakers" at the conference are put on a pedestal and highly respected and we leave you alone so not to crowd you and act like "groupies" (which I am of yours). I wanted so much to talk with you, fellowship with you…had I thought for 1 minute that you felt alone in a crowd of 225 other women, I would have been saving you a seat at my table each time!

    I think so highly of you, your talent, as a woman of God, a mother, a sister in Christ. Thanks again for praying with me for my father, which by the way, has had his pacemaker put in and recovering now 8)

    I think you ROCK and hope and pray that our paths cross again next year at the conference if not sooner!

    I love your book and it's going on my list of what to buy your friends for Christmas!

    XO Peace to your heart

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 9:50 am on November 6th, 2011:

    Thanks, Melissa. πŸ™‚

    I had some great conversations with fellow odd souls there. πŸ™‚

    And liked the little bit I got to be in your world, even when it wasn't the ideal situation for you.

    It's not a bad thing to not fit in. It can actually be kind of awesome. You see things and learn things and think about things…. I want people to laugh at it and have fun with it. πŸ™‚

  3. 3 serenawoods said at 9:57 am on November 6th, 2011:

    A side note: I loved that video of Christa Wells singing. I didn't know the words, but almost everyone else did. I got to sit back and listen to them. It was beautiful.

  4. 4 Amy Renea said at 9:59 am on November 6th, 2011:

    I TOTALLY had this same experience at Blogalicious this year…I think many many girls do…I wouldn't have imagined a speaker felt this way, but that would be foolish to think as a speaker you have an instant ticket to kinship with the masses, right? Anyway…loved the video, loved your oddballness…

    I wrote about my experiences as a newbie attending a conference alone, and while you speak of big girl panties, I spoke of big girl boots and how to basically suck it up and make the best of it…

    …so inspired by this post…
    My recent post Need a Room Divider? Turn an Old Shoji Screen into a Living Wall Garden!

  5. 5 serenawoods said at 10:02 am on November 6th, 2011:

    I bet more people than you realize feel this way. Like we both already said, you have to look at it in a different way. It's a good thing. I think it's a good thing that I didn't fit in either because I can make a goofy video for my favorite people. πŸ™‚

  6. 6 Amy Renea said at 10:01 am on November 6th, 2011:

    This is what I wrote…forgot to attach it…if you are interested…but feel free to not post it in your comments section…sometimes weird when people post their links in comment sections…but just another person saying you aren't alone in being alone πŸ˜‰ http://anestforallseasons.blogspot.com/2011/10/10
    My recent post Need a Room Divider? Turn an Old Shoji Screen into a Living Wall Garden!

  7. 7 serenawoods said at 10:09 am on November 6th, 2011:

    My favorite was #7. Sounds like that guy was doing what I do. πŸ™‚ Sitting in the back, being himself, completely missable. I'll always avoid the current because sometimes it can carry you too far away from home.

  8. 8 Amy Renea said at 3:12 pm on November 6th, 2011:

    You should put quotes around that last sentence girl…

  9. 9 Joyce said at 11:00 am on November 6th, 2011:

    I am so grateful for the candor and transparency you consistently show in your life and words. I think it was my momma who taught me in those group situations, if I feel alone, look for someone in the same boat and strike up a conversation with them, about them. It's SO hard – I feel like I'm back in Jr. High – because every initial contact is fraught with the possibility of rejection. My choice was usually to retreat to my hotel room or bury myself in a book, smartphone or behind a camera. I have to remind myself that "feelings lie" and "It's not all about me". When I reach out though, I've learned almost everyone feels the same way. And most respond eagerly, with relief, when I ask, "So, tell me your story." thanks so much for having the courage to tell us yours. I see God better through your lens.
    My recent post Almost Perfect

  10. 10 serenawoods said at 11:12 am on November 6th, 2011:

    We all walk in different shoes, don't we? πŸ™‚

  11. 11 Carol said at 2:32 pm on November 6th, 2011:

    (I wasn't at the conference but, ) I thought I was the only odd soul out there. Thank you for your honesty – it really helped.

  12. 12 serenawoods said at 3:48 pm on November 6th, 2011:

    We're all odd souls. πŸ™‚

  13. 13 Lisa B Ball said at 3:02 pm on November 6th, 2011:

    Love the phrase "fellow odd souls." and "It’s not always a bad thing, you just have to have a sense of humor and own who you are." It's so important to own who you are! Thanks for your honesty!

    Lisa B ball

  14. 14 serenawoods said at 10:30 pm on November 9th, 2011:

    Thanks, Lisa. πŸ™‚

  15. 15 Diane said at 3:36 pm on November 6th, 2011:

    I've always told my kids that if you live your life afraid of being a weirdo, you'll never find out who you really are. Embrace your inner weirdo… that's my creed.;-)

    That said, I was at the conference and actually sat at your table the first night (and I'm even in that little video snippet you posted- I'm the gal in the headcovering with the weeble-esque physique;-]) Okay, and here's what was going through my head: I saw you sitting there, and being out of the who's-who-in-the-world-of-big-blogging-loop, as I usually am, I hadn't a clue who you were, or even that you were a speaker. I just saw that you didn't have anyone to chat with and I kept trying to get your attention. I even told the gal sitting next to me to try and catch your eye… I hate sitting alone in a crowd, I told her and you looked like an interesting sort of person (II've always been drawn to adorable little wood sprites, hehehe) Anyway, you were involved with your phone and I'm hearing imparied which complicated things a bit too. When you got up to speak, I felt like a bit of a doofus and figured that you were ignoring me so that you could get into the Speaking Zone… or whatevs.
    Just thought you might be interested in what was going on on the other side of the table:)
    My recent post What we're doing today

  16. 16 serenawoods said at 4:00 pm on November 6th, 2011:

    I remember you, Diane. πŸ™‚ That's what's fun about plopping down at tables where I don't know anybody, I get to meet some interesting people….like you. πŸ˜‰ I kind of like sitting alone in a crowd…that's one of my 'oddball' quirks. Now you know what I was doing with my phone! I was sending videos of everything I could see back home to my family. It makes them feel like they're there with me.

  17. 17 Sarah Mae said at 7:55 pm on November 6th, 2011:

    Personality plays a big role here…

    I felt the same way, walking around looking for a table to sit at EACH meal, but I just chose to go and sit wherever I could find an open seat…and most of the time I didn't know anyone at the table (I chose not to sit with my partners because I wanted to meet people-I may have sat with them once).

    Life is awkward, and most of us feel it; most of us feel odd.

    My recent post A “Quiet” Spirit | Day 10 #frumpstopumps

  18. 18 serenawoods said at 8:03 pm on November 6th, 2011:


    I did that both years and met some people I still talk to afterward. What's fun is that when there's an open chair, it's often by a fellow oddball. Another thing that happens is a mutual feeling that God was in on picking the seating chart. πŸ˜‰

    I want those who feel alone or rejected to see it as something to embrace. We may make friends slower, but when we do, it's for life. And, it has to help to know there's nothing wrong with you. Even those your too afraid to talk to probably would be the most welcoming.

  19. 19 Julie R. said at 8:55 am on November 7th, 2011:

    I've never felt like I fit in. I would have sat with you when I saw you sitting alone… I know that feeling and hate to think anyone else might be experiencing it…

  20. 20 Brandy said at 9:56 am on November 7th, 2011:

    Serena, thanks for making this. It's funny and I can relate. I'm like you, I like to be by myself, too.

  21. 21 serenawoods said at 4:04 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    it's all about liking who you are and knowing your limits. Some people are energized in groups and some people are wiped. I'm one who gets wiped very quickly. I have to go off by myself often in order to be of any social use at all. πŸ˜‰

  22. 22 Charise said at 10:27 am on November 7th, 2011:

    I love so much your openness, honesty and candor, it's so refreshing! I'm blessed by your ministry.

  23. 23 serenawoods said at 4:03 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    Thanks for appreciating my dorkyness, Charise. πŸ˜‰

  24. 24 Kamille@RTT said at 11:39 am on November 7th, 2011:

    I like you Serena. I like that you embrace the oddness of it all & the fringe. I can fit in a bit better, but I also know that outside. I completely agree that being on the outside gives room to see who else is there & building bridges that they might otherwise not have found. It's a beautiful form of hospitality in my mind.

    It's a gift that you get to be on that fringe to connect with those who wouldn't connect with people at the cool kids table; but, it's just as essential for those loving Jesus at the cool kids table to be there. We all have our places in them midst of it.
    My recent post Paleo Shepherd's Pie & Apple Sage Sausage Patties

  25. 25 serenawoods said at 4:02 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    I'm not even sure which table they were talking about. I mean, it could have been my table! πŸ˜‰ j/k

  26. 26 Jennifer Wagenmaker said at 3:34 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    Great video. Makes me sad though. I end up feeling sorry for the ones that "do fit in". The ones that have life all figured out or think that filling their table is what matters at an event like this. I think because we know how it feels, our quest becomes to find others who are experiencing that same feeling. We have a "connection" and start off transparent from ground zero.
    I found you after following this conference you are talking about… There were alot of speakers to follow. I only follow 3. I get it. I don't have a desire to read posts from ones that are still trying to fit in. I want to read to be inspired and challenged. Thanks for doing both. xo
    My recent post

  27. 27 serenawoods said at 4:00 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    Jennifer, I don't feel sorry for anyone unless they're trying to be something they're not, that's the only thing that can make someone hurt. We're all so different and some of us are more different than most. I bet there are people who want to fit in with the different ones and can't. Ode to the Oddball is all about saying 'hey' and 'in case you didn't know it, you're alright.'

  28. 28 Jdawn23 said at 9:48 pm on November 10th, 2011:

    Tell me more about the Conference "Sifted as Wheat"… I would love to hear your heart with this…. I have a strong team putting together a conference called Legacy and was thinking maybe we could help you get the word out for yours..
    Would love to chat. xo
    ps. Love the hat in the video. πŸ˜‰
    My recent post The Lord is good

  29. 29 Dawn R. Justice Phenix said at 6:38 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    ha! sister! you are so transparent; I love that! Some of us (me included) just are. I love finding others in this world I can relate to. I also appreciate you taking the time to address this issue publicly, great response. When you said having a sense of humor about yourself is the best way to deal with this issue, I was over joyed and I agree. Otherwise the enemy beats the cr-p out of you mentally and emotionally, as well as those people (usually girls) who think they are so perfect and always say the right thing and everyone loves them will look down their nose and smile at you and say bless your heart. See my smile, I'm perfectly empathetic, yet much better than you. LOL

    God, our God, just isn't going to allow us to be so puffed up or condescending. We can't get away with anything! eh sis! I love you. You are a rare acquired taste, and once you have been experienced, one can't live without you and your special gift from Abba God. I can't imagine my Christian walk without you.

    It sounds like the conference wasn't well organized and maybe it turned into more of a work of man that lost God's anointing along the way. Saying this so you won't feel responsible for the way things went.

  30. 30 serenawoods said at 7:33 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    Thanks, Dawn. πŸ™‚

    I want to clarify that the conference was well organized and I love the people who put it on. Your whole last paragraph is nowhere near the truth. I know you're ready to throw down and I love it. I will call you up if I need somebody knocked out, but there is no issue here to fight. I posted the video for fellow oddballs, not because I wanted to vent frustration. If I were frustrated, I would take care of it and nobody would know a thing about it. The video is me laughing at myself, showing my personality, and letting others know that we all feel like that sometimes.

    lots of smiles,


  31. 31 Dawn R. Justice Phenix said at 9:26 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    do you have my number? hehe

  32. 32 serenawoods said at 9:48 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    you should probably give it to me. you know, just in case. πŸ˜‰

  33. 33 Heather said at 7:49 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    I used to fit in, when I was younger. But it seems like the older I get, the less I fit in. I am shy, really prefer to be by myself and often don't have anything to say, which is socially awkward. I am starting to just except it because if I try to be something I am not, the situation goes even more south.

  34. 34 serenawoods said at 7:58 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    Everyone is different. Some people are energized in groups and some are not. I am one that needs my space and I often disappear by myself to re-energize. πŸ™‚ However, if you get me talking about theology, I could talk for hours. πŸ™‚

  35. 35 @CheskaFaith said at 9:03 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    Attended a seminar on bullying today. Amazing how in a Christian setting, feelings of rejection sting just as bitterly as they do in the middle school gym. What can we do about this for the kids? Painful, confusing topic.
    My recent post Asset or Liability

  36. 36 serenawoods said at 10:07 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    Bullying is an entirely different topic and my middle school/high school days can sing of the sting. I'm a dropout because of it. (but, got my GED and working on my second degree, thank you very much. )

    But in a setting when you're around a bunch of different kinds of people, and you don't fit in or are feeling left out, you have to take the focus off of what you're not and put it on what you are. People have to get to know themselves better… that way they realize they're pretty cool people and look forward to hanging out with themselves.

    You have to get to a point when you can say, "I think I'm pretty cool. I like me." Then it doesn't matter what other people think about you. You know yourself and you attract like-minded people.

    As for bullies… You can either punch them or ignore them. I was constantly humiliated and lied about. I was an undeniable target and could not escape the thumb they had on me. It was absolutely horrible and not a single person came to my rescue. They would have been targeted, too. The happy ending is, I grew up enough to learn that if you peak in high school, then adult life can be pretty discouraging.

  37. 37 Renee said at 11:15 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    I liked the piece. Loved the honesty of it.

  38. 38 serenawoods said at 11:24 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    Thanks, Renee. Is there any other way, but honesty? I don't know how…

  39. 39 @JCWert said at 11:28 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    It's not just women who feel like the outcast sitting alone at conferences. I've probably spent more time blending into the wallpaper than most guys have done in their lives. I've never been someone welcome at the "popular table" and usually end up alone watching everyone else. It doesn't take long at events for the cliques to form and the people on the fringes to feel like they made a mistake being there in the first place.

    The good thing is that when you put the Sifted As Wheat conference together the people attending will be keenly aware of this and it's likely to be something people work to make sure is avoided.
    My recent post Day 311: Purifying motivations

  40. 40 serenawoods said at 11:39 pm on November 7th, 2011:

    I already plan to let the anti-socialites know that going off by themselves to think is totally cool. There will be lots of honesty encouraged. I really can't stinking wait!!

  41. 41 Lindsey @ A New Life said at 7:15 am on November 8th, 2011:

    I ADORE you for not being afraid to be exactly who God made you to be! I've learned more about grace & mercy & the Truth of scripture from you because of your fearlessness, so thank you for being YOU!

  42. 42 serenawoods said at 10:28 am on November 8th, 2011:

    Thanks, Lindsey. πŸ™‚

  43. 43 Mickey said at 9:18 am on November 8th, 2011:

    Your post reminded me of a song. It's by Julie Miller. She has a great story of her own. I tried to just paste the words but I was told my comment was too long, so I will just attach the link if anyone wants to read the lyrics. http://www.lyricsmania.com/i_like_you_lyrics_budd

  44. 44 serenawoods said at 10:30 am on November 8th, 2011:

    Mickey, thanks. πŸ™‚

  45. 45 Jodi said at 8:36 pm on November 8th, 2011:

    Soooo, I am an outsider-feeling person. Always have been. Even now, surrounded by the "in-crowd" that I'm supposedly in. That being said, I have found that "feeling" left out is a lot like being shy. There really is no excuse for it. Some people who are "in" are often intimidated by people who are pretty, who seem to be successful, or seem to be doing something they feel inadequate about. I have recently been humbled by the fact that I had been judging those people in the "in-crowd". I have no idea what's going through their minds, their feelings about themselves, or their feelings about me. My mission is not to be accepted; my mission is to find that one person who needs some love. And if I sit there with that one person, then I feel like I have done for the time being what I was needed to do. I still struggle with wanting other people to reach out to me, but really, I have to get over that and try my best love others above myself. I love your blog and your book and your story. But I bet I would have been really nervous about going up and talking to you!! Love and blessings from a grace-starved soul. Gosh, is there such a thing as being a grace-whore?? LOL!!

  46. 46 serenawoods said at 9:18 pm on November 8th, 2011:

    I like your thoughts, Jodi. πŸ™‚ I think that some people were nervous to talk to me and other people and that's one thing that contributed to me posting my own oddball view. πŸ™‚

  47. 47 Sisterlisa said at 9:10 pm on November 9th, 2011:

    ((Serena)) you're still one of my favorite bloggers. You're real and raw and that's what I need in my life…real raw people walking by faith and not by popularity.

  48. 48 @SprinklesInLife said at 11:06 pm on November 9th, 2011:

    Personally, I think you were rocking those super dooper cute glasses- and had I not been feeling "like an oddball" myself- I totally would have made my way over to introduce myself!! I recently wrote my Relevant post and it weighs in deeply on my insecurities, pride, fear and then how God turned it into a maturity of the heart lesson. He is so great!

  49. 49 serenawoods said at 12:56 am on November 12th, 2011:

    Odd Souls have full permission to stick to themselves and be comfortable in their discomfort. I've been told that I'm hard to approach and easy to talk to. I like the privacy and the intimacy that comes with the territory of Oddicy.

  50. 50 Dawn @ The Momma Knows said at 11:08 pm on November 9th, 2011:

    Oh Serena I felt like that the entire time at Relevant this year. If I came across as out of place at the book signing (remember I hung out with you while you were setting up it it was generally awkward) that’s why. I had a hard time because of a death in the family while I was there. Oddball, definitely.

  51. 51 @SantaBeso said at 2:33 pm on November 10th, 2011:

    Well I can completely identify with you. I didn't sit with the popular crowd the entire time. I sat with a lady who befriended me bc she is a survivor of the same cancer my mom is facing, and truthfully I felt like she was the only one who completely "got" me. I'm very grateful for you being there. During one of the break out sessions you were a part of- I asked if anyone proofreads your posts. You said your hubby did. Let me tell you that my hubby does too, and I was sooooo grateful to hear you say that. THANK YOU!!!! I thought I was the ONLY one. You really do rock!!! and crack me up!

  52. 52 Hospitable Communication : Soul Liberty Faith said at 3:30 pm on November 11th, 2011:

    […] taken a day to re-examine my last post where I shared my thoughts about Serena’s vlog, “Ode to the Oddball“. In my article I stated, “I don’t think she is criticizing the conference […]

  53. 53 serenawoods said at 12:53 am on November 12th, 2011:

    Allow me to one-up you in the 'I don't fit in' bit. If I'm good company, you're in it. πŸ˜‰

  54. 54 Amy said at 12:04 pm on November 12th, 2011:

    Hi Serena,
    I sat by you at lunch on Saturday. I tried to talk to you a little bit, but, being a recovering painfully shy person I sometimes don't have a lot to say unless someone else draws me into the conversation. I had an oddball moment (I wrote about it in my Relevant day 2 post) when I felt like I was at the "popular" table. People didn't talk to me a lot, but I just ate and then moved up with the people I felt I fit in with more for Joy's keynote. I am reading your book right now and loving it. I can't believe how judgemental people can be and how they don't get the awesome forgiveness and mercy of Christ. Hopefully this does not make me sound judgemental. because I am not. It just saddens me that they don't see what I see., but I know it is just where some people are at. I agree with you that were people are now is not where they will end up so we have no right to judge soemone's heart, when they don't know their future. I am Catholic and have read the Dairy of St. Faustina where she talks about coming to know that God grants great mercy to everyone up to the last moment and that the heavens are astounded at how merciful He is and that people who go to hell freely choose to go there. That is how much He loves each one of us and tries to call all the prodigals home! I will pray for everyone involved in your situation to come to their senses. (I just finished the part about Justin not being able to see his daughter.) As for at Relevant, everyone there is in process too and I think we all still have our own judgements and insecurities to work through.
    My recent post Cause you know I'm not afraid to speak out on things…

  55. 55 Lisa-Jo@thegypsymama said at 9:35 pm on November 15th, 2011:

    I follow your blog. Your voice challenges me.

    But I've had sick kids and a house that wants to eat me. So I'm behind on my Google reader and just seeing this tonight. Ouch. I was on those writing panels with you and excited to be. I wonder if it helps to say that any "planning" was impromptu, short and accidental when we found ourselves in the same place at the same time.

    And that I would do it differently next time.

    This was a good reminder
    {with a really great sound track}.

  56. 56 serenawoods said at 10:34 pm on November 15th, 2011:

    We've been in the same house. πŸ™‚ Two of the four little people at my house had strep throat and not at the same time. And my house really has swallowed me. I would throw in the towel, but they're all in the laundry and I would have to clean it up anyway. πŸ™‚

    I hope the humor and the sense of camaraderie and the 'get over it' came through in the video. It was a perfect example of 'everybody feels like this sometimes, see?…'

    All is well. πŸ™‚
    My house is still dirty and the kids are feeling better. Maybe they can help me clean!

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