To You Who Are Different

Every one of us is different.

Every one of us has a unique personality and a calling to become something special. We may not hear that calling, may not see our uniqueness as a blessing and, especially, may not understand that it’s the nature of the herd to trample wildflowers.

You have a right to fear the herd because they fear you. They will crush you if they can or, worse still, bend and twist you until you no longer appear different. They fear your difference because it threatens the comfort and security of their sameness. They can’t abide someone who travels in a different direction or questions their sovereignty.

But the herd is not capable of changing reality, they can only trample innocent flowers in their blind ramblings. Don’t let them trample you.

Every one of us is born a caterpillar, seemingly sentenced to crawl and inch our way across the long expanse of our lives. But one day we will fly. And when we take flight we will see a world far richer and more beautiful than we ever knew existed when we lived as caterpillars.

Don’t be fooled by the way you feel now. In the vulnerability of your youth you long to fit in, to go unnoticed for your eccentricities, to be accepted by everyone else. It’s only natural. How frightening to discover you’re different from others at the same time you’re being taught in school to conform and smooth out your rougher edges.

It isn’t just you who finds yourself swimming against the current. It isn’t just you who fears being discovered, challenged, taunted, crushed and rejected. We live in a society that values conformity over deviation, team sports over individual pursuits, extroverts over introverts, flash over substance, athletes over intellects, and normalcy above all else.

You may be too young to appreciate that Nature celebrates diversity in all that it creates. But years from now, if you persevere in holding onto yourself, you will discover your uniqueness was a gift that, because you did not reject it or let it be trampled by the herd, brings much depth and richness to your life. Robert Frost wrote of taking the ‘road less traveled’ without ever mentioning the bullies, hecklers and self-righteous moralists who inevitably try to block your way.

Don’t let them stop you or make you doubt yourself.

You are not only different, you are perfect the way you are.

This is dedicated to every school child, young adult (or even an old one) who finds him or herself questioning their personal worth because they are gay, disabled, impoverished, bullied, not socially adept, not perceived as cool, or ostracized for any reason whatsoever. Please pass this on to any youth whom you think might gain some insight or support from reading this. Thank you!

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