The longing in my heart to fit in used to be fierce. In my heart, I desired to be just like everyone else. Honestly, I didn’t want to have to deal with the stares. I didn’t want to have to explain my scars a thousand times and stand there, feeling vulnerable, as someone inspected by scars for the first time. Or see the look of pity on their face as they examined by scars. Some people even dismiss my accomplishments, by stating that people are only kind to be because they feel sorry for me. Gah! My favorite, however, is when they tell me that it’s really great I can write books, speak to thousands of people at one time, and make a difference in the world with my condition.
While I have developed a mental strength to help me overcome it all, it still breaks my heart to see it affect my loved ones. Jordon and I were having lunch a few years ago, when I noticed his lip quivering and he looked so upset. When I asked him what was wrong he said people were starring at me. Sometimes people even approach me, without a smile or even introducing themselves, and just demand to know what happened to me. The sad part is that I used to believe that it was okay for them to treat me that way. Now I know that if anyone approaches me in that manner that the problem is with them and not me. I would never dream of treating anyone that way. So I just handle the situation how I feel like handling it. If I believe the person is genuinely concerned about me, I will introduce myself and share my testimony. If I feel negative vibes from them, I smile and walk or turn away. I don’t have to be the topic of discussion or allow anyone to make me feel bad.
Now children are a different story. They love to ask questions, and are just generally curious. So I take time to explain my scars, and even take it a step further to explain differences to them. But we should teach them, from a very young age, how to treat everyone. A child in their class with a difference should not have to explain it every day or answer the same questions over and over.
Being different can be hard physically and mentally. It’s not just that people with differences look differently, we do things differently as well. Sometimes I struggle with simple tasks. Asking for help, however, is not my default response. I want to be independent, and if I start relying on others to help me all the time, then what will I do when no one is around? So I’ve just learned to figure things out. The ability to modify any task, in any situation, is a gift.
Now I have decided that I don’t want to fit in. I don’t want to be like everyone else and just blend in. I want to have my own unique voice, my own style, and ultimately work on becoming the person God created me to be. The greatest gift we can give ourselves, as well as the world, is to be our own person. Be unapologetically YOU!
Love and blessings,