About what matters

Writing about what really matters

Tag: following the crowd

Just a little different


If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be. –Maya Angelou

Here’s a SoulCollage card I made this week to represent being just a little different, something I’m being reminded lately that not everyone appreciates.

When I came across the full-page image of a streetful of sheep awhile ago, I knew I’d hit SoulCollage gold, and have just been waiting for the right image to put with it. When a new O Magazine with a portrait of a wide-eyed baby zebra arrived, I knew I’d found it.

Growing up fundamentalist, I was provided with lots of opportunities to be different. No TV, so no idea what the Dukes of Hazzard or Starsky & Hutch got up to last night. The ever-present skirts and Little House on the Prairie long braided hair certainly stood out as well. I minded perhaps as little as anyone could; my younger sister deeply resented having her ability to conform taken away from her. It would be very fair to say that my elementary and junior high school classmates tended not to appreciate differences. I wasn’t sure why–other than, you know, survival value–one would want to blend in.

When I majored in English in college, I took a survey of Victorian literature, and came across another view of being different. I think it was John Stuart Mill’s. The idea was that simply being different was a public service, lighting the way for others by demonstrating that it’s perfectly possible to strike out on your own, rather than follow the crowd.

Wow–I wasn’t just an oddball, I was performing a public service! I latched onto this view and have never let it go.

If you are, like me, just a little different, John and I raise our glasses to you, and thank you for your public service.


What I know for sure

Today I thought I’d take a page from Oprah’s book (based on Gene Siskel’s original question), and write what I know … for sure.

  1. God is Love.
  2. Central heat in November is a beautiful thing.
  3. Old things have soul.
  4. No such thing as “loyal to a fault.”
  5. It’s not necessary to believe in God; God believes in you.
  6. But a world with a God you can believe in is a much, much nicer place to be.
  7. Kindness cannot be overrated.
  8. Intelligence can be.
  9. Following the crowd definitely is.
  10. Beauty is everywhere. Appreciating it is one of the best things in life.
  11. The hard things in life, the things that require effort most people aren’t up for, are among the best things I’ve done.
  12. Yield to overcome.
  13. Negativity sucks.
  14. Smile. It’s a good thing.
  15. Laugh. It’s even better.
  16. You never know what’s going on with other people. When people are having the worst days of their lives, no neon sign lights up. Imagine what could be going on, and give people a break–it’s free.
  17. Expect respect and you’ll get it.
  18. It takes all kinds. One kind would be not just boring, but dangerous.
  19. Wear sunscreen. The fairest of them all wrinkle first.
  20. Help is always available for the asking.

What do you know for sure?

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