Karla’s Korner: On Being Different
On Being Different
I heard someone recently say “It’s good to be different”. Those words have rolled around in my head since then leaving me to wonder what is “different” or rather what is “normal”? More importantly who determines which is which? We all have the notion that we are normal, regular people but how do we know for sure?
As I watched from a distance recently as my grown daughter sifted through the contents of her childhood room determining what she wanted to move with her into her new home as she begins her new life with her partner I thought about her life and how different it is. As I watched and listened as they picked through the rows of books nestled on her bookshelf I overheard her partner say “Oh my gosh you’re such a nerd” referring to the amount of space and astronaut books my daughter owns. “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that” my daughter snapped back and the words “It’s good to be different” came bouncing back to the forefront of my thoughts. You see my girl wears her “nerdiness” proudly.
Ever since she could walk and talk it was quite apparent that my little girl was going to march to the beat of her own drum, writing her own music and directing the choreography to the dance of her life. With each age and stage of life she has demanded her own attention, in her own way and eventually I realized that I needed to step aside and let her do it her way; which includes living her life as a young gay woman, taking charge of her own identity, fighting the stares, comments and bigotry that comes along with being her kind of different. Her life is a lesson for me in acceptance, not tolerance, of everyone, sharing an unconditional respect for everyone no matter how different they are deemed to be.
Born in 1963 British ski-jumper Michael Edwards also known as “Eddie the Eagle” was never considered to be a “normal” person. Having carried the weight of being “different” his entire life Edwards set out to conquer his fears, his critics and his under-dog status to become a great record holding ski-jumper Great Britain had ever seen. With his feet too small to fit his boots, Edwards was forced to wear six pair of socks just to keep his boots on and weighed more than 20 pounds heavier than the next heaviest competitor. Edwards was longsighted which required him to wear his glasses during competitions; the glasses fogged up obstructing his vision. No matter the obstacle Edwards faced each one head on and competed as the sole British applicant in the 1988 Winter Olympics ski-jumping competition. Edwards was “different” yet he did extraordinary things in his life. So was he really “different”?
Country singer Joey Feek is in a battle with cancer that is destined to end her life pre-maturely; sooner than later. Joey and her husband Rory’s two year old daughter Indiana has Downs Syndrome. To some Indiana’s “condition” makes her different, yet to those who love her she is perfectly wonderfully made, created to be the joy behind her momma’s smile during what is deemed to be her last few days here on earth. Indiana I believe is different, different than most, but that is not a bad thing; being Indiana different is a blessing to her family, especially her ailing momma. Indy’s infectious smile, great love of laughter, silliness and tenderness brings about a promise of life, of hope and of peace in a world that if allowed could cast a dark shadow on this life they are living. Being different makes Indiana extraordinary.
Are you different? Do you consider yourself normal, like most or do you fall somewhere in between. Within each of us lies a roadmap to our lives defining us and determining who and what we are. As we travel down our life road we must be reminded that we are not required to conform to what others say we should be. I encourage you to embrace yourself, for who you are right now and know that it is up to you decide which degree of normal or different you want to be. Life is short and there are no do overs, therefore we must remind ourselves to live, love, laugh and celebrate who we are. Theodore Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss once wrote “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” Be different. Be brave. Be yourself and live!
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge!
Make reading more fun for kids, get our FREE printable Dr Seuss for Kids.
Check out our fun Dr Seuss Cupcakes