Dare to Be Unique.
I don’t actually think we have a choice whether to be unique or not. We all are! We each are born with one of a kind DNA.
We all go through experiences that tweak our outlook in a way that make us even more singular. We also, each of us, have dreams. There’s no way my dream is just like yours. It may be similar, but my wants and needs are as unique as my DNA is.
Why don’t we revel in this fact? Why is it that so many of us strive to be like everyone else? Or like someone else? What is it in our environment that decreases our wish to be one of a kind?
I was born a rebel, and felt I was the black sheep in many circles throughout my entire life. Yes, during my teen years I longed to fit in and be like the others. I ended up, instead of fitting in, finding those who were as odd as I was and enjoyed my quirks as much as I did theirs. Together we attempted to be like the rest, but I don’t think we ever got there.
When I got married at the age of 22, it was totally an attempt to fit in. I had gotten pregnant at 19, and felt that I had disappointed many and desired redemption. So I married a nice Christian man and had three more babies. I attended church and adjusted myself enough to be accepted and allowed in the club.
I actually pushed the real me so far away that I was able to fit in and play the role for over a decade. I even fooled myself.
You can trick your mind, but you will never deceive your soul. It’s impossible.
I felt empty even though I was surrounded by friends. I taught classes, planned retreats, and gave the obligatory 10% of all our income to make sure God knew I fit in too. But I was suffering daily. I had fantasies about another life. I would go away for hours, or occasionally a couple of days, just to have some real time with myself… as myself. I grew angry and bitter with time.
Only when my rebellion from my true self led me to depression and thoughts of suicide did I wake up. It was honestly like waking from a spell. Suddenly, I knew who I was and what I needed to do.
I divorced my husband and lost almost all of my friends as a result. Now I know that it wasn’t really a loss, but instead a gain. A gaining of my freedom! I took off my mask and started the journey to find my true self. She was buried under a load of outdated programming, but I was going to find her no matter the cost. That was 12 years ago.
This has not been an easy task. Finding ourselves can be an uphill battle, because not many have taken on this challenge, and many do not want you to succeed. Our uniqueness scares those who believe that fitting in is a superpower. The very fact that we are openly walking our own path and choosing what success looks like to us is threatening to some.
With genuine uniqueness comes the end of comparisons. How can you measure yourself against someone who doesn’t have the same goals as you? A person who doesn’t see the same worth in the things you value the most? Someone who eats chocolate cake for breakfast when you get up at 4 am to work out and hit the juice bar? How can you define success in a person like that?
The answer is that you can’t, and that’s a gift.
When we can no longer measure another’s value by looking at their lives, maybe then we’ll stop trying. Maybe then we can see that our value is immeasurable too. Our individuality is our worth. The fact that nobody else could ever be the same as us is freeing. It liberates us from striving for acceptance and recognition from others of that worth.
I’m currently listening to Paul Selig’s book “The Book of Knowing and Worth.” I’m only half way through, but it’s already changing me. I asked for much needed time off from my job and got it. I also took steps towards my dream of traveling the country in a van or RV. Plus, it has instilled in me a confidence about my writing and the future of it that I didn’t feel worthy of before.
I am learning that being different isn’t just normal, it’s a gift. When we embrace this fact, we are then free to create any future we desire. Without fear, knowing we are worthy of any life we truly want, we can reach out and grab every adventure, dream, or lifestyle that calls to us, because we deserve it. We are one of a kind. First in our class. Worthy of abundance, due to the fact that we are genuinely being ourselves.
Frankie Franco is a mother, grandma, and gypsy adventurer who loves to share her story with the hopes of encouraging others through life. Since running away from home three years ago, she has lived in an eco-village in Indiana and survived as a bootleg pot pirate for 10 months in Oregon. She currently is on an extended spiritual retreat on the wet north shore of Kauai. You can connect with Frankie on Facebook.