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*Disclaimer: This post mentions a couple of topics that may be sensitive to others. It is not my intention for this post to serve as a trigger for anyone. I do feel it is important to preface the article with this info. I can only share my real-life experiences as this is a platform that I take pride in. We all have a story to tell. My goal is to let you know that you are not alone in this journey. Should you feel this is not an article for you, I do understand. Thank you for your support*
Have you ever had a moment or moments where you felt like you were different from everyone around you? I don’t mean in one or two areas, but it seemed like you felt completely out of place? You know like you were in a twilight zone. The way you think, the way you act or even your appearance was completely different. You know where you felt like you did not fit the mold for a certain situation or you thought you were not what your employer was looking for when it came to a certain job. I am not talking about a woe is me, I am not good enough because I have low self-esteem type of way. I mean in a yo!!! Am I crazy because I act, think or respond differently than others kind of way? So much so that you begin to do a comparison of yourself and the people that you are different from.
If I told you that I never experienced this I would be lying to you sis. To be honest this has happened to me many times. If I were truly honest it happens more often than I would like. Not because I don’t think that I can do the job or that I am not the right person, or I want to fit in but because I am different from the people that have done certain things before me. If you look at the situation, I am so different from some of the people that you can quickly tell the differences between us as soon as you see me. I am not the ideal height, shape or weight. My hair is different, my mood is different, the way I choose my words are different. Once you get past the physical and verbal differences and we have a real conversation, folks notice my motive and outlook on life are different as well. In some cases, this has worked for me. In some cases, on the surface it may look like it didn’t. In the end every encounter happened exactly how it was supposed to. What is and was always presented was the polished but authentic me or in some cases the unfiltered me, but it was always me. No matter how crazy what I said sounded or what method I used to make something happen, I have always had the same response. This is all that I have to give you. I can only be me. Now, this doesn’t mean that I am one of those people who uses the “that is just the way I am excuse” to be a jerk. It means that I have to be okay with acting different, talking different, performing different and in most cases looking different.
Why do I have to be okay with that? I’ll tell you why sis. Because that is how God made me. Every life situation that I have encountered made me who I am today. Every experience shaped me to be who I am. From being broken in places where I never thought I would be fixed, being bullied as a child, being sexually violated as a child and a young adult, losing my father to cancer, having a brother in prison, being taken advantage of by people, experiencing racism and sexism at work every situation molded me. Through all of that, God sent me a husband and children that I never thought I would have who love me unconditionally. Friends who love me despite my quirks and flaws to mentors and mentees who trust me to be a follower and a leader. I owe it to myself to be me. I work hard daily, this journey, no matter how fabulous it may look on the outside, it was and is not an easy one. I have had to embrace who I am and my differences (some days it isn’t easy but it is necessary). If I did not, there is no way that I could encourage you to embrace yours. They are what make you uniquely you. The way you react, the way you respond the way that you think, etc. God made you that way.
We must remember:
Psalm 139:14-16 The Message (MSG)
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
There is your proof. You are enough and designed that way on purpose.
So, sis, stop comparing yourself to others. You are who you are. Your differences and experiences are going to be your trademark in this journey we call life. Your differences are what God uses to help you tell your story and encourage others to tell theirs. Someone needs to see and hear that it is okay to embrace being different. So, come on sis, open up your arms and embrace being different she has been waiting for you.