A little heart shaped blackboard hanging at Fernwood High Tea caught my eye the other day....
'It's Better To Be Different'....was it's message
and funnily enough a couple of days later I happened upon a lovely blog called http://ricracandpolkadots.blogspot.com/ The sweet lady of the blog had written a touching story about feeling alone and without friends in the school playground. I read and read and read and felt touched to leave her a comment. She had awoken a feeling inside of me that I now feel compelled to share with you all. Our stories were quite similar and I knew and felt those same feelings at numerous times in my life. So it is now that I will share with you all.
Once upon a time......
There was a little girl. She was a normal run of the mill little girl who loved playing with her dollies, her brother and her pet cat. She had a few friends who lived in her street but when she went to school her whole story changed........
It was playtime. All of the other children were playing hopscotch and skipping games in the playground. Some were doing handstands against the wall and others were playing chasing's.
The young girl was sitting there all alone on a little bench seat in the sun. She desperately wanted to join in all the fun but it seemed pointless. She had tried to join in before, but nobody wanted to play with her. She was kind of shy but was a pretty little thing so she looked no different to any other child in the school.
She would often throw a little stone and play hopscotch by herself by the shade of a tree. Sometimes she would hop on the end of a very long line at the tuckshop and buy herself an ice block, this would pass the time away. Sometimes she would pretend to call out and be playing with little friends so she didn't look so alone.
All in all she was a lonely little thing who couldn't understand why nobody wanted to play with her.
When she reached the age of 7 she changed schools. Secretly she was frightened at the prospect of the big change but she was also very excited at the thought of making a little friend.
The first day was the same as any other first day at a new school. The embarrassing photo by a teary Mother at the front gate and the overwhelming longing to just run in the opposite direction from the fear of the unknown. Feelings of nervousness bubbled in the young girls stomach. Please let this day be over she thought.
She took a deep breath and walked into the classroom with her new teacher. She was shown to a seat next to another girl and work started straight away, so there was no time to make a friend.
At playtime the girl found herself at the back end of a huge rush out the door by the other children who were super keen to go out to play.
She slowly walked out to play and again sat alone and ate her lunch. Sad feeling arose in her heart.
A pretty Gardenia bush full of pretty sweet smelling blooms became her friend and she sought out this little safe haven every time she came out to play. She would sit and smell each flower and wished the flowers didn't go brown so quickly so she could pick a bunch and take them home.
After a few weeks she slowly began to make a few friends. She felt a little happier, but she was certainly no popular little thing who had a trail of followers. Somehow this young girl just felt different on the inside. She always felt like she was older than her years. Games and childish fights by the other children did not interest her. She almost preferred to be alone so she could avoid it all.
Through primary school years she befriended a couple of girls who she would interact with. They seemed nice enough, but at the end of the day she loved to get home to her little pink bedroom and sit on her bed and read stories. She absolutely adored 'make believe', Stories of fairies, faraway trees and Nancy Drew mysteries became her escape from the world. She would happily sit for hours mesmerised by the spun tales of creative authors.
Her imagination ran wild with these stories. These stories reflected in her story writing in class. 'Your child has a very active imagination and has a great capacity for story writing', were constant words on her yearly report cards. Her stories took her away from daily life and the pressures of growing up. She would feel at peace and happy when she could write or be reading.
Onward came the teenage years. It was then that the young girl was shrouded in a group of friends and felt finally in a little nest of love. She always kept one close friend through, she was happy with that, she didn't give her heart away easily, so that friend was special. She seemed to be a kindred spirit and they spent hours and hours together growing up and laughing. They became inseparable. Each girl had a sibling with a disability and somehow they seemed to understand each other. The judging eyes from strangers looking at our siblings went unoticed by us. We understood by then that these people felt uncomfortable with disabilities as they didn't understand. We stuck together and were very happy.
The young girl....turned woman-to-be, blossomed over the years. She was very loyal to her friends and hated getting into the middle of any dramas, as often happens in the teenage years. She avoided these times and would often find herself sitting alone on the steps where their group sat, to avoid the conflict. She found solice but often loneliness. She still had that overwhelming feeling that she somehow felt older and different to them all. Somehow though, these friends always came to her for advice or help when they needed it and she took on a 'dear diary' roll.
She loved to be different though. She would turn up each day to school wearing frilly lacy white shirts instead of the obligatory white starched school shirts. She wore white socks and sewed pretty lace onto the cuffs. She would wear white lacy Laura Ashley style petticoats under floor length skirts on the weekends. She loved the feeling of layers of lace and the swoosh of the textured skirts against her legs. She was always a little different from the others.
Many, many years later this girl-turned lady and mother still finds herself in the same situation from time to time. She often wonders why the loneliness creeps in and inclusion in others games doesn't appear. She sits and ponders this and scratches her head in wonder.
She bubbles with personality these days and has a loyal following of friends. The shy little thing in the schoolyard has been replaced by somebody who has evolved and grown into her own woman. She knows who she is and makes no excuses for it. She is humble, giving and somebody who likes to think that she makes a difference in this world. Honesty is her policy and she values this trait in others. She befriends only those who are truthful and honest and once she's your friend, you have her for life. She will stand by you until the end.
Somehow though these days she is beginning to become aware of the reason of her difference.
She is happily understanding that it is a great thing to be different. She doesn't particularly WANT to follow the crowd. She is happy in her own skin and own frilly Lacy clothes. Friends will always come and go and after all of these years she knows that there are only a couple of people she calls friends, who she could confidently say she will still have until the end of her days.
She is one of those people who others constantly come to when they have a problem. She has a string of young friends who call her Mum even though they aren't really so. She often finds lost dogs and cannot rest until she has seen them safely home again. She admits she is hopelessly a 'sucker' and laughs and shakes her head at this trait.
She is happily paddling her own canoe to the rhythm of her heart. She knows that it is truly 'Ok To Be Different'. The lace and frills are still there in fine form and she still longingly wishes she had been born a century ago and could wear gloves and corsets and big frilly fru fru dresses and bonnets. She wanders through antique stores and brings home endless amounts of lace and ribbon and trims her clothes and curtains with them. Some things will never change.
She has found enormous love in her writing and hopes that with sharing her stories and love of life with others, then she can help make the world a better place. It's ok to share your feelings and to wear your heart on your sleeve......well most of the time anyway !
This woman is following her own dream and her heart is happy because of it. She goes to sleep each night knowing that she has done a fine job with her day. Her children are always smiling and loving and warm hugs are only a moment away. Her children hold deep values of loyalty and respect of the human race and all types of people who are in it. They do not judge race, beliefs, sexuality or disability. They do however embrace it and go on to tell others of the many types of people who are in their lives. The woman smiles at this and knows that if she were to leave the earth tomorrow then her strong values have landed safely into the hearts of four amazing children, whom she has instilled these values in.
Indeed this young girl who grew over the years into a woman knows great love and her journey has shown it to her in many forms over the years.
It IS ok to be different. Each person in this world has their own story. They are travelling down their own road and will take whichever fork in the road that they fancy. Whether or not they choose to take the hand of others as they travel these roads then that is their choice. There are no wrong ways in this life, only choices. When one door closes another shall open. Gifts of happiness lie await for all of us, it is up to us to find them. You won't find them just sitting there, you have to get up and get them. Follow your dreams, no matter how small you think they are. You will find great happiness and your greatest wish will be granted.
If your child wants to grow up and become a rubbish collector then LET HIM. Everybody has their dream. Great untold happiness lives within these dreams.......
So my dear friends.......
Go out there into this big wide world and chase your dreams. It is completely fine to be different and even the loneliest of children will all grow up to be happy, shining stars.
Love and Blessings to you