Being Thankful that I’m Not Too Different

I mean of course I’m different and unique and I embrace everything about me that’s “quirky” or “special” or…whatever, but I’m still thankful that whatever sets me apart from those around me, doesn’t do so too drastically or dramatically because that’s when the problems start. As I see it, society dictates that you can be different, just not too different – that’s the reality of it and every day I thank the universe that even though I’m going against the grain for the most part, I’m lucky that my day to day affairs still have some semblance of the generally accepted norm as it related to how I live, who and what I love, how I feel and where my mind’s at.

I often think back to my time in primary school and wonder how I survived it. It was tough for me, I didn’t feel like I fit in, I wasn’t the “best” at anything, I did well in my academic studies but, let’s face it, I wasn’t special…or at least I didn’t feel that way for a very long time. There are things about my younger self that I feel extremely happy and proud about and there are many experiences that, that version of myself experienced that makes “adult-me” want to go back in time and shield “child-me” from. This weekend however, after finishing back to back remedial tutoring sessions, I very suddenly and vividly remembered something that really made me wonder. It wasn’t so much an experience, or an event…it was an extremely candid, honest and pure thought I had when I was about 7 years old.

I’m so lucky that I don’t learn as slowly as you, I’m lucky that I can keep up.

I remember observing children in class who weren’t completing their homework, or who’s copybooks were untidy, or who the teachers would get frustrated with because they were unfocused or “slow”, and I remember thinking to myself “I’m so lucky I’m not like you – it’s so much easier”. At the time it was probably an unconscious thought, nothing I ever said out loud or actively acknowledged that I was thinking, but  remembering it now was so surreal. How curious is it, that this was how I processed differences as a child?

I’m lucky that I’m different but not so different that I can’t be like everyone else once in a while

I can’t help but think that 7-year-old-me had a breakthrough that maybe all of us think at one point in our lives. Maybe we need to question why persons with disabilities, the elderly, the eccentric, the gender unique, the so-called deviants and delinquents, the ever-blamed “youth” of the nation, those who learn a little slower or who have a different shade of skin, are so often labeled as outcasts or asocial. It would be nice to think that our differences empower us and all that wonderful rainbows and fairies crap, but personally, I’m wondering if that shouldn’t be tweaked a bit. This world should come with a warning label, differences welcomed, within moderation…from this point forward proceed with caution, and within the limits of The Norm.

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