Growing up I realized that the only way I would ever be heard was to either be loud or obvious. But to be treated as credible I had to be able to explain myself in such a non-threatening manner that everyone would be willing to listen and understand.
I never wanted to be in the spotlight, just receive my due recognition. I never wanted to be the boss, ordering anyone around and I definitely never wanted to be bossed around. My sole goal was and is for people to understand another way, that there is always more than one path in life and in the tasks we take on. One size does not fit all and it never has. If it did we would live in utopia rather than argue over the big or small.
I never strived to be something I am not. And I have never asked anyone else to strive either. I’m not good with language and I would only be fooling myself if I tried. I’m easily distracted and to pretend I am not is simply lying, to myself and everyone else.
When I was born I came complete. Everything I would ever need to survive and thrive was preprogrammed. The trick was learning how to access those skills inside me. Tuning out the world, listening to myself, trusting that I, above all else, knew what was best for me wasn’t easy and I am still challenged by this. No one showed me, no book held my personal answers, and mimicking others only cheated me of time.
I don’t claim to know everything, nor claim to be flawless. My claim, as is everyone else’s, is that there has never been anyone like me and there will never be anyone like me. I am unique, down to my DNA and fingerprints. Therefore, without even trying, I am different, special, perfectly human, and human to a fault.
I would not want to be like anyone else for the simple reason that I could not. Why would I waste my time wishing, planning or trying to be like you? Why would I devote time to something absolutely impossible to achieve?
Because I am me, because I am unique, special, one of a kind, I am able to honor this by being just me. Whatever words or labels are used to describe me, they will come and go, change with the times, and change meanings. Getting caught up in words, phrases, their meanings, to me is trite. I couldn’t change people if I wanted to, and even if I could the time I would have to dedicate would be endless. I also am unable to control what people think, do or say.
So, being unique, just like you and just like everyone else, I am only able to control myself just like you and just like everyone else, hence I am only responsible for myself, for the one and only me. As it is a lifelong challenge, everyday I try to be better than I was the day before. So when I don’t compliment you by imitating you, I am complimenting you by recognizing your individuality as I recognize my own.
-Elizabeth (Annie) Tustison