When I was just a wee lass my Dad use to tell me “Patrick…they sure broke the mould when you were born kid”…I wasn’t sure what he meant but I figured as long as I wasn’t the one who broke it, then that was a good thing. As I got a little older and my quirky personality blossomed, he’d smile and say, “Kiddo…you are not of this world…you must have been born on a star.” I liked that idea because stars sparkled. When I got to the age of going to school that’s when I realized or I was told I wasn’t normal. The kids made fun of me, teased me and some even pushed me around. I remember running home crying; feeling like my soul was stolen. I just couldn’t grasp this notion of normal. I went straight to my room grabbed Holly Hobby, Mervin and Beanja-boobala and went into my magic closet. It was my place, where nothing yucky could get you. Later that night when Dad got home from work, I heard our secret knock on the closet door. I opened it and he crept in; “What’s the matter my little flower? Rough day at the office?” I burst into tears, falling into his freckled arms blabbering a snot-infused soliloquy of drivelling angst and heartbreak only a very dramatic five year old could muster…“They said I wasn’t normal Dad!” And before I could even snuffle back a juicy snort of sorrow he responded “Well congratulations honey bunny! Who the heck would want to be normal? Normal is a setting on a washing machine – YOU my little spark of magic are a rainbow.”
I was so lucky to be born into a family that encouraged my uniqueness. I was especially blessed to have a parent-in-crime that rallied around my peculiarities and made them into my super powers. Quirky was the new cool. Being average was for dullards. Acting typical and predictable was snoresville central. Dad infused my imagination with uber effervescent sparkle and possibility. He taught me to look at the world with wide-open kaleidoscopic eyes while wearing rose coloured glasses. He told me to look into the cracks, see the shadows and trust in the invisible (the faeries in the chandelier are real). He told me every single thing has a soul and needs to be loved and respected – from big fat boulders and tiny little pebbles to trees, weeds (especially dandelions), bugs and of course animals – whom when spoken to not only understand you but will be your friend for life. He also told me I was beautiful – especially when wearing rainbow socks with my fun fur fuchsia jumper and happy face t-shirt with wildly abandoned curls that had never seen a hair product in their life. I was a “chip off the old block” and proud of it.
Being different…awkward, a geek, a freak, a weirdo, not normal was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was an enormous gift of self, a free pass to be me, think outside the confines of conventionality and live to extreme exceptionality. So whatever makes you an original – cherish it, celebrate it and shine your light bright.