Sometimes I wonder where these band leaders are when you need them most, in those dark moments where you are not chosen, again . . . or you sit alone in your room wondering what it would be like to have someone else “get” who you are.
We grow up and we learn to either compromise ourselves completely, or accept that ours will be a lonely path with few visitors along the way. We learn to roll with the punches and to perhaps remove ourselves or remain silent on those days when we are particularly vulnerable.
But I worry about the children.
In some respects, despite our knowing more, having access to more . . . we are a much crueler world. Kids in my day used to laugh at people like me. Today kids can destroy your life with a few keystrokes … or a gun…
When I see a child that is different I try to encourage them, to let them know it will be worth it … because it is. It is almost always worth it …
Except for those moments that happen now and then, where the utter terror of being that alone, screams into the darkness with a tone like nails on chalkboard. “Failure.” “Loser.” Every moment like that requires herculean effort to battle back. Still, not one of those moments can compare to the joy of being really who I am. I cannot imagine trading my personal happiness card for a dozen “popularity” ones. I could not live with myself with me there for the ride.
I could not be happy.
I could not look at myself in the mirror each morning.
It is not about being what the kids at school want you to be, or our teachers, or our bosses, or even our parents. Their ideas are their ideas. If they are important enough to them they should apply them to their own lives. There is no set of rules, or greatest percentage, or norm that should be applied to human beings. There are only individual human beings to have to find their own rules to govern themselves.
I hope, in the end, the fact I fought for me, means something. I hope my life will tell the story it has all been worth it and I hope that I take the time with every child I meet, to remind them of the secret … YOU are special. Be Yourself. It will be the hardest thing you will ever do, but it will also be the most rewarding.