December 8 – Beautifully Different
Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Karen Walrond)
This is an especially interesting exercise to me, because even though I've felt different since I was a child, I've never been able to really figure out HOW I am different, or WHY.
When I was younger, I think it was mostly because I noticed many things, and I reacted in unusual ways, and other people often treated me as if I were different (and reacted well or badly according to some mysterious algorithm). Yet I could never figure out why that was, or what, exactly, it was, much less what I was supposed to do to "fix" it to be more like other people.
In my adult life, I've come to know a variety of people who appreciate my differences and quirks. Sometimes I will get comments about my "great energy," but I'm still a little mystified.
And now as I try to think about what makes me different (and beautiful), I keep feeling that I am somehow letting my ego run away with me. Look at me! How wonderful I am! Har.
1. I have a way of taking people into an inclusive circle, especially when I am speaking publically. My husband calls this speaking as if I were "addressing each person personally." Not that this manifests in all areas of my life, but I do have the knack, and I have a hard time leaving someone out, so it often comes out in my tone.
2. Making quirky, wryly humorous remarks. Some people might say that was an aggravating flaw, but you can't deny that it sticks out. In a public role, it tends to entertain people.
3. I am easily moved. I typically get all choked up when someone graduates, sings, or crosses a finish line against all odds. Certain music brings me to weeping. I suppose I am still sensitive to the beauty in the world, including the beauty of beating out odds and throwing oneself against a noble task.
4. I am self-deprecating as all get-out. Another item that could be placed in the annoying category. Sorry, sorry.
5. I see beauty in mundane things. This is one of the reasons that I couldn't give up photography even when painting wasn't working for me; I need to capture what I am seeing. I cherish nearly everything. One of the biggest compliments that I ever got was from one of my students after she saw my Flickr site - "It's as if you appreciate ... everything!" Yes, it's true.
6. I have a glowing smile, apparently. I have a hard time judging this for myself, but I do feel a heady joy at times. I do light up. Sometimes I like to go by Joy! It's how I prefer to live life when I am not bitching and complaining.
7. I have a subtle and literate sense of humor. Can you tell? I am always delighted when I meet someone of a similar bent. Okay, okay, sometimes it is very punny too.
8. I was raised to exercise my artistic creativity and out of mainstream culture. When I say mainstream, I'm talking about middle class America values. My parents didn't want us to live with a tv in the house. They thought we should be free to exercise our creativity without resorting to pre-defined parameters. So no coloring books, just lots of blank paper. No tv, but lots of books and stories. Lot of outdoor playing in the yard and dead-end street. I guess it gave me an appreciation for thinking out of the lines.
9. I don't like tv as a daily part of my consciousness. I enjoy pop culture in moderation, and I like a good story, but I can't stand the tv culture of sound bite journalism and fast flashy cuts. Too much of it makes me feel a little ill. I'd rather be out walking, or dancing, or reading, or writingpaintingthinkingcookingcreating. I've seen maybe a third of an episode of the series Friends and none of any reality show, and I so don't care. Yes, I am odd.
10. I'm enthusiastic. I know it's considered uncool to show any enthusiasm about anything, but I really don't care. If I like something or find it worthy of interest, I'll point it out, rave about it, savor it. Life is good. Enthusiasm rocks! Whoo!