Archive for the ‘different’ tag
This student is a bit different from his classmates at the university. He dares take a position that is opposite of all of his peers and finds reasons for his individual opinions. This is not a typical way of relating to others here in China. Usually students find out what others will say so that they know what they will say. There is a definite hesitancy to be different.
I find that I am different in spite of what I want. I could blame it on others and a constant travelling from town to town and school to school, but that wouldn’t be fair at all. My brothers and sisters also lived the same life and are not all that different from the norm. I know that I have worked hard at trying to fit in with colleagues and the communities in which I have worked while raising a family and pursuing a career. In the process I thought that I did a decent job of fitting in.
The truth though, was different. I was accepted in spite of my differences because of my efforts. I learned to listen and keep quiet about what I thought, what I knew. I said the right things and did the right things and as a result was able to sit comfortably on the edges of these communities – always and outsider, but one that was accepted as long as I didn’t impose my differences on them. To them I was different because I was an easterner living in western Canada; I was different because I was francophone in a francophobe community; I was different because I didn’t come from a rural background and share the same histories; and., I was different because of some unknown factors that shouted to them that I was different.
But deep down, I knew that I was different in some internal fundamental way, one that had nothing to do with my family of origin or in which communities I found myself raising a family and working. I didn’t know why I was different or exactly how I was different. I just knew I was the one not like the others.
“We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide exempla for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little chinky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being. As the gods intended, we are here to become more and more ourselves. We, too, must enjoy amazement at what unfolds from within us while our multiplicious selves continue to incarnate in the world, contribute, and confound”. (Hollis,What Matters Most , page 11)
It was this pull to be more and more my self that set me apart. This being set apart doesn’t mean that I have to take on the job of trying to twist myself into all kinds of shapes in order to fit in. It has taken me a long time to accept that I am different and that it is okay to be different. I have learned to forgive myself for being different, for being the odd man out. And in the process of accepting my differences I am becoming even more different, more of a contrast. And to my mind, this is now good.
Now this is a “busy” photo! This is a scene from the back corner of my yard where there is an old concrete pad that would have originally been used for a shed of sorts but now sits in the corner with nothing better to do than hold an assortment of containers that hold flowers and other items of general nonsense. I took this photo in hopes to capture a photo of the Oriole as it stopped for a drink of water. As you can see, I was somewhat successful.
Now, about the frogs, obviously a father and his son; frogs are significant in my family, especially for my son and I. As a French-Canadian, I was/am often called a frog, sometimes in jest and sometimes as a put-down. My son had to learn to live with this when he was younger, a time when the word was mostly used in a negative context. And in learning to deal with this problem, it became a focus of pride. Now, frogs are everywhere in our life.
Again, it is about being different, even if the differences are only perceived rather than real. Human history is filled with how we deal with those who are different, they are the scapegoats for the community shadow, the collective unconscious. The most blatant example is the Holocaust where Jewish people became the scapegoat for a modern world. Yes, I extend the collective unconscious beyond just the German community as the inaction, deflections and quiet support given to the scapegoat complex was much broader than Hitler’s band of muscle men. Today, the western world has a new scapegoat – the Muslim world. We call it profiling for the protection of our society against terrorism.
Scapegoats – we begin early. As a school principal, this was likely the main issue that brought children and teachers to my office. The targetting of the weak, those not quite like “us.” Today we call it like it is, bullying. At least within schools where it is safe to point out and punish the bullies. But in the larger world? Who are the bullies and who are the scapegoats? Why? Tough questions with no answers likely to be given.