- Mental Health
Freedom in Being Different
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 a self-conscious kid out of me.
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 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 keep 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 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.
It All Welled Up from Within
So much more than mere hormonal change caused that renaissance in me. Somewhere from within I got that drive to read psychology, philosophy, astronomy, medicine...I turned into a young bookworm.
However, 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 - "because it was there"; and crazy enough to fill some chapters with material that some people would find fictional.
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 even worse - to be like everybody else so that I could "belong". For I could still belong, I never felt alone and separate because of being different.
Freedom Giving Birth to Responsibility
So early in my life I realized how easy it was to love people when I dropped defending my being different. Then I could emotionally afford to love them, as I was not busy going emotional 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 a freedom to experience me their own way. All of us being different, it was normal that 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 is no one like myself - thinking, feeling, and perceiving exactly as I do - sometimes would give me shivers, because that meant that only I was responsible for that intimate reality. It felt like no one else would know where to start, where to pick the end of the thread if they wanted to intervene in that intimate dynamism of mine.
Being like Everyone Else
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.
That's why it took me quite a while to accept as "normal" this mass insistence on resemble someone else, to escape from one's own uniqueness and blend with the collective consciousness like a flock of birds navigating around in a unison, telepathically switched to some guiding influence.
Why Different Means "Bad"?
As the world is wallowing in its self-inflicted ailment called ISIS - even sounding like ending of a sickness - I am letting them figure out where they went wrong and then correct it. I didn't start it, no one asked for my opinion before they generated a lot of hostility with their presence in the world that doesn't belong to them - so I just don't see myself losing sleep over every stupidity that others create.
Indeed, some ethnicities, races, and religions may not like each other just because they "have the audacity to be different" - instead of embracing the differences because that's the only natural way to be. Why do we see potential predators in anyone of different beliefs, opinions, even looks?
Are we scared of our own being secretly different than those around us? Is our failure to blend completely with others making us hate those who remind us of that failure?
Why Is It so Hard?
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 to think, 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.
Let's Embrace the Difference
I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I am trying here to be a little "deep" with all this - not merely some shallow "anti-social, anti-world individualism hippy style". There is no "anti"- bone in me, I am all "pro-", whatever the world chooses for themselves, while keeping in mind that those global and local decision-makers are not asking for my opinion.
I just love being different, and that doesn't mean "against", but, let's say "neutral". I can't be angry enough and loud enough in that anger that those with closed ears would hear me, so you are more likely to hear me humming a tune than barking at the moon. My soul is purring with content of being different.
If you are finding this reasoning "strange", that's good - meaning that you are not trying to be more like me, and I am not trying to more like you. That's the general idea about being different, about expressing our own spiritual signature written with our unique fingerprints.
So, maybe some day all of us may look in the mirror and be happily surprised by seeing only ourselves in it.