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)
Right before I began high school, I knew that I was different. Or at least, different according to the standards of everyone around me.
I was raised in a tiny Texas town, filled mainly with Mexican Catholics. People are set in their ways there and it’s not common for anyone to deviate from the norm. Except that by the time I was 12, I found myself on a path that would take me in a completely different direction. It was almost like there was a fork in the road no one saw but me. The path less travelled, which ultimately, did make all the difference.
I am no longer Catholic; I’ve consider myself agnostic for quite some time. I did not marry my high school sweetheart. I’m a vegetarian. My hair has been blue twice. I am fairly liberal. I have four tattoos (with plans for more). I live thousands of miles from home.
I don’t really consider myself especially unique, but all these little quirks have made me noticeably different from my hometown family and friends. Even a little different from my friends here in Chicago. My family has had trouble completely understanding me; my mom however, while she doesn’t completely get it, is understanding and embraces me as I am. “You are who you are,” she says. “You are brave for being yourself.”
It’s taken me quite a while to be completely be okay with who I am. Do I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I had stuck to what everyone else did? Of course. I could have easily married the boy I loved when I was 17, had children and most likely stayed close to home. Would I have been happy? I can’t really say. But what’s done is done. And I can’t imagine my life (and myself) any other way.