Friday, December 31, 2010

Joyfully Different

I recently stumbled on a book that I’m totally fascinated with. It’s called “The Beauty of Different.” I found it because one of my favorite bloggers, The Bloggess, is actually profiled in it and had mentioned it on her site. I ordered a copy and the day it came, I spent an hour with it and immediately ordered 2 more copies as gifts.

The book is a series of photos, quotes, and profiles of people the author knows or has come across in her life. She focuses on what makes each person different, be it a talent, an experience, or a condition. Some have suffered tremendous losses, others accomplished great achievements, others struggle with crippling anxiety. But the book tunes you into the fact that the “different” that is unique to each person is what makes them beautiful. Both the stories and the photos are beautiful and moving, and for me, very disarming and reassuring.

I think a lot of us, certainly myself, spent so much time trying to fit in that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that what makes us different is what makes us authentic. And when we’re authentic, and comfortable in that, we are our best selves.

My 5-year-old has recently been grasping the basics of family backgrounds, and has figured out during this holiday season that he’s half-Catholic and half-Jewish. There’s only a couple other kids we know with that mix (it is, after all, central Texas), and we’ve spent lots of time talking about everyone else’s family. Once he realized there’s only a few kids he knows with his particular mix, he smiled widely up at me. “That’s something that makes me special!”

Damn straight kid.

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