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. (Author: Karen Walrond)
I was mulling this prompt when I came across this post on Tor’s blog: May the Force be with Katie. In short, 7-year-old Katie is a Star Wars fan, but has lately been teased for liking something that’s "boys only." (I was surprised to learn that it was the boys that were doing the teasing. What does that say about my perception of girls?) Her mom wrote a post for Chicago Now about bullying and this quote caught my eye:
She has learned that there are degrees of being different, and she wants to minimize how different she is.
And that’s the rub with being different. Yes, we’re all different. Differences can make us beautiful, but beauty is also in the eye of the beholder. We all judge how much of our differences people see. Some of us hide more differences than others. Some of us have more control over what can be hidden.
Anyway, this is me with an ewok. I’m wearing a *pink* Return of the Jedi shirt. This was at some very cheesy event in a mall in Council Bluffs. I was 8 years-old when this was taken. About Katie’s age. I was very fortunate to have a mother that was a science fiction fan and totally understood the need to attend cheesy events. I suppose I was different in grade school because I yearned for an AT-AT instead of a Cabbage Patch Kid, but no one ever told me that that difference was bad. Or if they did, I was pretty oblivious. I suppose I still am.
If I were to list a "difference" that is an asset to me (and an asset trumps beauty in my book), I’d say that not being too girly serves me pretty well. It gives me a different perspective, or rather lets me see things in a slightly removed way. I can occasionally glimpse the "boy" perspective and compare it to what I assume to be the "girl" perspective. Or something like that.
(The funny thing is that I’ve been wracking my brain over differences–how am I substantially different than most of the population?–and I just remembered that I have red hair. Other than the odd Pippi Longstocking reference, no one has never made an issue of my hair color. At least not in a way that was meaningful to me. Again, I’m oblivious. (The whole hatred for "gingers" is completely befuddling to me.) But my red hair is a feature that I’ve really come to appreciate over the years.)