I’ve been pretty scared lately, because I came to find that differences don’t seem as okay as they did when I were younger.. you know, when nobody had the right to tell me that I couldn’t be a ballerina-firefighter or the first female president. Things all seemed so possible, so plausible, so capable of being. It made me want to be better. We’re taught to accept differences in the same classrooms that teach us about how our society works. A lesson designed to mask the reality of life, where free thinking really isn’t a luxury we’re afforded. We’re told how society is organized and labeled in hopes that we never begin to question things like why being different isn’t actually something to be celebrated, but a means of distinguishing their wrong from what we’re told is right.
For a while, I accepted reality’s imagined limitations as truths. I was sworn to my own secrecy. But there are so many things I’ve wanted to tell you since then, things I want to tell the world and anyone else willing to listen. Now, I’m not sure you could or even wish to understand, and there’s always the chance that even time could not change these things, but I suppose that’s a beautiful thing, too, you know? Not being able to be molded by this world’s controlling grip. Your future is so bright, and so I understand if you have a hard time comprehending my darkest moments.
Still, I want to tell you about the things that make me whole — the round shape of the beige-colored pill that acts as an extra line of defense in the on-going battle I too often fight with myself. The games of phone-tag I play when I try to reach a doctor I don’t believe truly cares. The moments of startling clarity and also times of extreme despair. The feeling I sometimes get deep in my throat, like someone’s clutching my lungs with the strongest of grips, as if the biggest of hands (assumedly the hands of my make-believe gods) are telling me that I am not important.That even the small contribution I make each time I convert carbon dioxide into oxygen isn’t going to be enough. Sometimes, but not all the time, I think they may be right.
I am, of course, aware of my own sicknesses, but I want you to know that my knowledge about struggle isn’t an indication of my intelligence the way you might assume. It is better understood as a testament to the truth which lies behind the old saying, “experience is the best teacher.” I’ve seen enough to know. I never told you because I know that all of the things that make me different won’t always be celebrated, and Hallmark doesn’t make cards for these occasions, as if “Get Well Soon” will be just poetic enough to suit the average struggle.
You see, I’m normal, just like you. I like the sunrise more than sunsets, and I want you to know that it has nothing to do with my fear of the dark or how many likes I could get by hash tagging #cloudporn. I’m simply a morning person. One who takes her coffee with a normal amount of creamer, but an abnormal amount of Splenda. I hope you know this isn’t a death wish, the practice of lacing my caffeine with cancerous poisons, it’s simply my sweet tooth, because it’s not every day that things are dark for me.
I want you to know why it is I tremble when I reach the edge of the wooden dock near the lake house… How I do not fear the ocean, but fear that my mother’s paranoia, on a bad day, is enough to consume her entirely before I’d ever even get the chance to fight a losing battle with a body of water. So I inch away from the edge out of habit. So that my fall isn’t her downfall.
I want so badly to tell you how the colors of my rainbow know not the limitations of the mysterious Roy G. Biv, but I’m worried you’ll assume that I must be colorblind if my rainbow does not exactly match yours. Know that this isn’t the truth. I want you to know that most people who are heard simply enjoy the sound of their own. I hope that in time, you realize that much of what you’ve been told is a lie, that seeing the world differently than I do does not make you an alien the way magazines tell you it will.
You’re not an alien.
I don’t believe what I’ve been taught, but I won’t be angry with you if you do because I know that differences can be okay, and that in the end, we don’t only have ourselves to rely on. It’s kind of scary… this whole idea of building a future atop the uncertainty of co-existence, but it’s a risk I’m okay with taking. I hope you’ll take this leap of faith with me.
I want to tell you all of these things; how I’m not my sickness nor my profile picture. I’m not my family that loves me even when I mess things up really, really badly and I’m not my faults or my triumphs, my bad days or the good ones where I am certain of my self-worth or purpose on this earth.
And I’m not you anymore than you could ever be me, but that’s okay.
I want to tell you a story. On a hot summer day, in the middle of a sticky, Florida afternoon, I did what I believed I couldn’t. Despite my fear of heights, flights, and small planes, I went skydiving this one hot time, in the middle of a sticky, Florida summer day. I did it because I was looking for my place in this big world, and I needed a better view of it all. I never did find my place in this great world, but I did discover something far more valuable:
I found that, in life, free-falling is never going to be the scary part.
Taking the leap is really only the beginning.
The scary part is the idea of falling fast and alone,
holding the belief that nobody will be there to catch you.
I hope you’re there to catch me.