{in a positive way (#reverb10 - 8)}

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December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

I usually leave the bragging to my mother, but I’m going to take this opening to speak about myself in a positive way. Who knows? It may turn out well!

I am different because I can always find the silver lining. Years of living with a chronic illness has taken me down a long, dark tunnel, and it was such a battle to find that flicker of light at the other end, but I was looking for a way out, not a guide. My friends and family are the ones holding the candle, the ones holding my hand as I continue through life. I have found them and they have found me.

I am different because I never give up. I never let a lack of knowledge keep me from trying something, experimenting, or creating.

I am different because I push through my fears. While many are held back by a fear of change or a fear of failure, I see those as challenges to overcome. This doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. Only that I don’t want to live my life wishing, always wishing, never doing.

I am different because I am a genuine people person. I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone, and have made friends through conversations with strangers. I compliment people just for fun, for the smiles on their faces, the change in their day. I may have days when I say I hate people, but most of the time, I leave the house just so I can chat with people!

I am different because I am smart. This may be the first time I’ve admitted that out loud, but yes, I am. I took my SATs when I was 12, have a B.A. where no one else from my mom’s side of the family has completed college. I can do math in my head, love logic puzzles, and am a repository of random information.

I am different because I am differently-abled. I don’t like saying dis-abled, because there is so much I can do. I just have to approach it in a different way. I no longer let that hold me back, or keep me from doing the same things as everyone else. In fact, I sometimes think I do things better.

I am different because I think outside the box. I remember when I had to clean the shelving and displays while working at a Barnes & Noble Starbucks. Most people took the single Swiffer sheets and used them with their hands. This meant they had to take everything off the rack to get to all the hard-to-get areas. When it was my turn, I grabbed a long straw for venti drinks and a rubber-band and made my own Swiffer wand. And was able to do a great job in a fraction of the time.

I am different because I believe in everyone. I know we all have the capacity and ability to do whatever we want - even if we don’t believe it ourselves. My favorite times are when I can take a small idea or dream someone shares with me and help them mold it into something large, beautiful, and possible.

I am different because I see nothing wrong with dancing with my mother in a laundromat.

I am different because I just love television shows. I love writing fanfiction and reading comics and giggling with my best friend over ‘ships.

I am different because I’m easy-going. I don’t stress. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m never in a rush, and move at my own pace. I’m ready to drop everything for a friend in need, to take care of a family member, or go on an adventure.

I am different because I don’t have a regular job and make art and write all day. I get to live my days as I’d like, and what I love to do is inspire others to take bold leaps in their lives.

I am different because there is no one else on Earth like me, and never will be. And doesn’t that mean I have a responsibility to live as loudly, authentically, truthfully, and boldly as I can?

(I have cried at several points while writing this. I never knew how much truth was in me, just aching to get out.)