Monday, March 16, 2015

Not Like the Other

A lot of us when we were little knew all the words to "One of these things is not like the other" on Sesame Street. We got excited to sing along and figure out what just didn't belong. Some of us, when we grew up, saw the movie trailer for Snakes on a Plane and laughed despite the creepiness of the idea.

There is just something both compelling and overtly obvious about things which are out of place. We notice them. There can also be a disturbing kind of wrongness to something that doesn't belong, an almost instinctual reaction.

Survivors have a unique view of this unease. 

It can come in many forms: An xray or biopsy. A blood test or brain scan. A scar visible in your reflection in the mirror. The emotional scars no one can see, but you never escape the raw awareness of deep within. The disease or tumors lurking inside you. The depression felt when everyone else seems happy. The trauma which makes you feel removed from the rest of the world.

There is a deep sense of loss in the betrayal of your body or spirit that comes from facing that thing inside you which sets you apart. The sense of wrongness of it can alter your view of yourself, change the way you see the world, and create a sense of distance between you and those around you.

When you are the one "not like the other" and it is you who "just doesn't belong", it is a very isolating experience. Lonely and frightening. You can become an interloper of self.

It will not be easy, but try to make peace with the pieces that are different. Incorporate those pieces into the whole of you. Take care with the damaged parts and give them the attention they need to heal. Accept the changes in yourself in a way that repairs instead of condemns. 

Don't let other people's negative views destroy the positively beautiful parts that make you, you. Embrace what the French call "vive la différence" - long live the difference, a battle cry for celebrating diversity.

You may be different then you were, but we are all different from each other. We are unique individuals. We all grow, change, and evolve. There are also parts of you that remain the same. And, as part of humanity, we all have parts of us that are alike.

Fight to survive your trauma, eradicate disease, overcome abuse, enter recovery from addiction, and heal. But, allow yourself the peace of spirit to accept the changes you can not change. 

So, snakes sometimes ride on planes, sometimes something is not like another thing, but you are beautiful and you do belong.

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