I am different.
And not just from you. I am different from everyone.
I’m even different from who I used to be.
First, I was a cowboy…when they asked me, “Who are you supposed to be?” at the Halloween door. Then I was a nurse, then an acrobat and a ghost…but I didn’t really know “who I was supposed to be.”
They say, “be yourself” – like you have any idea who that is!!!!
Yourself. Right. Like there’s a manual or something. So you try a few things. Some work. Some don’t. And you do the things you do, while becoming someone else. And then you’re different again. Now what?
I’m different. That used to be so hard to say.
For years I tried to force that round peg into that square hole.
“Oh I must fit in. Look I fit.”
I’m not weird, really! I’m just like you. As the visions raced through my head on horseback, with white uniforms and cartwheels.
“Wait…I’m happy…What makes you happy, makes me happy.
Look, I’m happy….
So then I believed if I wasn’t happy, if I wasn’t them, being themselves, then I must be wrong.
I don’t talk like you.
I don’t hear what you hear.
I don’t think like you.
I don’t see what you see.
I don’t look like you.
I don’t even smell like you.
(some days I’m not proud of that)
So maybe I was wrong, but I could still laugh though. I could make myself smile.
And I found myself smiling more. I didn’t feel so wrong when I let myself smile.
When I smiled I could see these little flecks of green and blue light up in my eyes.
Yes, I looked in the mirror. “Who are you supposed to be?” I looked long and questioned hard. The colors were there. I saw all the beautiful colors. And they were true.
I saw the colors. I saw the purple passions and reds on fire… The green growth
And the warmth of blue… the indecision of gray, and the strength of brown…wishing whites, and playful pinks… golden hopes and silver dreams. My reflection answered. I was supposed to be brave. I was supposed to be colorful. I was supposed to be different. And it wasn’t just OK, it was beautiful!
I eased my way into freedom.
No one gave me permission. They don’t have to…. and they can’t. This is my journey.
I have burned and thrown and lost every map I’ve held, but I’m here.
I am here, and I am different.
I am not round. I am not square. I’m not even a peg.
I’m not certain what that makes me… but I am me.
And I am certain that this glorious experience has to be this way.
I’m certain that it won’t be easy. Certain that it shouldn’t be.
Certain that I not only can be me, that I have to be.
Certain that I can’t destroy what I don’t understand, even when it’s me.
Certain that you have to be different too. You must be you.
And that’s what joins us. We’re not the same, but we’re in this together….
awakened by the same sun, comforted by the same moon.
Blown my winds of change.
Drawn in by laughter and music.
We sing and we dance and we march and we drum.
We are dampened and nourished by tears.
Terrified by love, we want nothing more.
We’re all curious about when we actually use the math we learned in high school.
We underestimate the length of our feet, and the strength of our spirit. We are tested daily.
We all think we are good drivers and good kissers.
We find it hard to forgive, and want so badly to be forgiven.
We are scared. We are vulnerable. We walk crowded paths alone, carrying suitcases of damage, and “I’ll show you.” We cross paths and passions and tempers and temples.
We are praised. We are broken.
To prove we exist, we paint our names on the sides of buildings, the corners of wrapped canvas, and the faces of children.
We are on shoulders. We are on knees.
We shout “why?” and “why me?”.
We know the only way this puzzle is solved, is by bringing in all the other shapes.
I need you. You need me.
We need the rounded, jagged, splattered, and completely different shapes.
We need to come together.
I will no longer wear my true colors timidly. I will be brave enough to be colorful…to be different. So “be yourself.”.. whatever that means…. no really, WHATEVER that means! It’s not just OK, it’s beautiful!
I can see that beauty in you. I can see it in me. And wouldn’t it be great, if in just this way, we were all the same.
First, I was a cowboy… who are you supposed to be?