The Joy of Being Different
If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.
-- Maya Angelou
Being Different Didn't Start as a Blessing
One of the most profound joys I derived from the realization of my being different. It didn't start as a joy though, as my family found things about that little me which they found funny enough to make me self-conscious about it.
A tiny part on the top of my ear lob was missing, because a "mouse bit it off". I could not pronounce the sound "r" in that rolling way like when you normal people say "b-r-r-r-r-." , and neither could I say "l", like in "lousy". My bottom left rib is unnoticeably double, and you can only feel it by touching. O.K., only young and cute ladies need apply for that touch.
On top of everything I had then-undiagnosed subclinical hypoglycemia, that is, my blood sugar had a tendency to drop too much, which made me really different than the rest of the kids in the neighborhood.
Namely, I had an awfully bad muscular coordination which made me prone to falling, bumping into things and tripping over my own feet. Also, I was getting tired fast. A shy, easy to cry kid, afraid of dark and strangers. Now, how is that for "different"?
And so it was until my puberty, when I suddenly grew out of the most of it. I mean, my ear lob never grew full, and I never lost that double rib. I still make jokes about my "spare rib" and my being an incarnation of Adam waiting for god to use that rib to make woman of it.
Not all who wander are lost.
It All Welled Up from Within
So much more than mere hormonal change in puberty caused that renaissance in me. Somewhere from within I got that drive to read psychology, philosophy, astronomy, medicine...I turned into a young bookworm.
Nevertheless, crazy enough to visit city cemetery at midnight by myself to get rid of the fear of dark; crazy enough to climb the forested mountain at night---just "because it was there", like somebody said it before me.
And, as some of you might be guessing, those were the years when "being different" started feeling like a gift and a blessing. A gift, because I couldn't take a credit for it, I didn't "figure it out" by a smart deduction or something -- it simply formed itself in my young soul as a "finished spiritual product".
It meant freedom...freedom to be myself, to allow the flow of experiencing, without any need for a role model, or to be like everybody else so that I could "belong". For I could still belong, never feeling alone and separate because of being different.
So early in my life I realized how easy it was to love people when I dropped my defending my being different. Then I could emotionally afford to love them, as I was no going emotionally over seeing myself with their eyes.
Somehow it didn't matter much how they saw me, I simply knew I was all right, and they were all right as well, so I just gave them the freedom to experience me their own way. All of us being different, it was normal they couldn't see me as I saw myself.
There is a great joy in that freedom, when you really start experiencing it beyond intellectual understanding. Looking in the mirror and knowing that in the whole vast universe there was no one exactly like myself, thinking, feeling, perceiving exactly as I do.
Sometimes it would give me shivers, because that meant that only I was responsible for that intimate reality. Like, no one else would know where to start, where to pick up the end of the thread in that dynamism to intervene in that inner world of mine.
Being different isn't a bad thing. It means you're brave enough to be yourself.
-- Luna Lovegood
Why Being Different Spells "Bad"
As I am observing the other folks, I can't help but smile at their desperate effort to label themselves as recognizable and acceptable, and "one of the crowd", as if insisting on a certain uniformity.
Remembering my time spent in military, nothing bothered me as much as those uniforms that were de-personalizing us into one mechanism being programmed for killing and destruction. So, honestly, nothing in my entire past didn't bring me a bigger joy than taking off that uniform and re-owning myself.
Deep down, have we really moved much in process of consciousness evolution?
That's why it took me quite a while to accept as "normal" this mass insistence on resembling someone else, to escape from one's own uniqueness and blend with the collective consciousness.
As the world is wallowing in its self-inflicted ailment called ISIS -- even sounding like ending of a diagnosis, I am letting them figure out where they went wrong -- if they are even capable or willing to face it -- and correct it. I didn't start any of it, no one had asked for my opinion before they generated a lot of hostility with their presence in a world that didn't belong to them. So I just don't see myself losing sleep over every stupidity that others are creating.
Indeed, some ethnicities, races, religions, may not like each other simply because "they have audacity to be different". Why do we see potential predators in anyone of different language, belief, opinion, even looks?
Do we have to continue this tribal mentality in which different feathers in ones' headset were enough for hating them?
The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.
-- Albert Einstein
Let's Embrace the Difference
It's a pity that people can't snap out of their socially induced trance of imitating one another. They can't think for themselves, it has to be a leader, political, religious, or otherwise to tell them what's appropriate to think, feel, what to believe, what is "normal".
Without having learned from others how to emotionally respond, they would be in an emotional vacuum. They can't be original, create their own views, go intellectually adventurous and start examining all over those things that have been taken for granted for millennia. They can't invent new logic, with new sequiturs, instill new algorithms in their minds that would be their own technology of processing reality.
People can't buy flowers to their wives if it's not Valentine's Day; can't experience the idea of global harmony if it's not Christmas; can't say "I love you" to their kids except signing a card that said that for them. Why? Because it would take something like -- being different. Pity indeed.
Now, I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I am trying here to go a little deep with all this -- not merely playing an anti-social, hippy style card.
I am not merely "tolerating", or "accepting" my being different, but preferring it to being a mental copycat of anyone. Seeing people of "better" personality traits doesn't make me want to be "more like them" -- I can only strive to be the best of me.
Universe insists on diversity, not uniformity.
© 2015 Vladimir Karas