Once upon a time there was a woman. In a lot of ways, she seemed just like everyone else. She laughed like they did, slept like they did, loved like they did. But she felt… different. She felt a stirring within her. An enormous questioning. Maybe it was her intuition, maybe it was an ache in her heart or a strange feeling in the pit of her belly. But when she looked at the world around her, the same world that seemed so comfortable for the others, it just didn’t feel right. She had been brought up in the sameness, as so many others had, so she tried to quieten the stirrings she felt.
But across the road from that woman, or perhaps across the partition at work or walking down the same aisle at the supermarket, another woman felt the same way. A man at the service station was feeling it too. So was a child on the street. All of them were connected in what they thought made them so different. But for some time, none of them knew. Because they all tried to quieten what they felt.
You see the woman had tried to talk about it once or twice. She’d tried to tell her friends that she was questioning the schooling system, or that there were things about conventional parenting that seemed so out of synch with the generation we’re trying to raise. She might have spoken about the treatment of animals in the meat industry, or her heartbreak at the lack of equality in human rights. And those times, those once or twice, she got shut down. Maybe she was laughed at. She got strange looks, she was made to feel as though those stirrings in her were a touch of madness, rather than an awakening.
So for a while, she was silent. She didn’t stop wondering, didn’t stop questioning, but she tried to fit in. She tried, but it got harder. And as she pushed for that feeling of belonging in the sameness, she didn’t realize that the reason she wasn’t fitting was because her ideas were so much bigger than the mould she used to occupy. They had grown. Her questions had brought more questions and more revelations and more injustice and more inspiration, more faith and more fury.
Then one day, when her ideas had become so big, when her destiny to step away from conventions became so hungry that she no longer cared about seeming like all of the others… she owned her difference.
She stopped trying to fit in.
She had confidence in her difference in a way that didn’t make it seem strange anymore. She wore it proudly. It was beautiful.
And the other woman across the road, at her work or at the supermarket, recognized someone else wearing the difference they also felt, and relief flooded them. The man at the service station, the child in the street, the members of her family who never talked about it either, saw someone else with the courage to create a new kind of reality.
And slowly, tentatively, they said “Me too.” At first it was no more than a whisper, but it grew louder, and soon they were saying it with their actions as much as their words.
A revolution started, from that one woman with the fire in her.
It wasn’t loud or celebrated by fanfare. It was the planting of a garden, the education of a child, the choices at the supermarket. It was giving without expectation of return, it was seeing the best in people. It was the nurturing of community. And that revolution spread, little by little, as more and more people owned their difference.
Slowly and beautifully, the world woke up, just as she had. And it turned into something just a little bit better. All because of that one woman, who dared to connect to the difference in all of us.
How are you wearing your difference today?