Ah, to be different. I am different. This is something I have come to embrace.
When I was in fourth grade I was the kid that was wearing the 70’s sweater vest when it was the early 90’s and the 70’s weren’t yet hip. There was no embracement of “old school” or acknowledgement of how hip I was because it was my sister’s and therefore truly vintage.
I was just a dorky kid who didn’t look or act like everyone else. I was different. When you’re nine years old different is difficult because you’re still desperately clinging to the idea of conforming and being just like everyone else.
This doesn’t always change with age, in some ways I think we all want to “fit in” and be the same as everyone else.
But due to my difference as a child; the stand out funny, chubby, dorky girl that was ridiculed by 'cool kids'. (Cool kids who have McJobs now)
I now embrace my difference as a woman-child; a stand out funny, chubby dorky twenty-something.
I like the fact that I’m not really adhering to any particular style or group, I’m different, so different that I’m special.
Yes, I’m special.
And yes, at one point I did take the short bus to school.
The “short bus special” is something that seems like such an odd thing to tell a child who is faced with the major set back of being different.
You’re separated not because you’re a freak that doesn’t fit within normal society, but due to the fact that you are special.
The thing is all you big bus kids don’t really know if the short bus kids are special or not, all you know is, they’re different.
Different = weird = lame = don’t talk to that kid or else you’ll get cooties.
Now that I am out of school, I find it hard to differentiate myself. Sure there’s normal, there’s the social rules of etiquette that we follow in order to function. But there is no short or long bus.
Maybe I should start measuring myself to others in regards to distance of commute to work.
Oh, Paul he takes the short walk to work.
Sally? Yeah she’s cool, she takes the long subway ride to work.
Or would it be reverse?
Paul takes the short walk, he’s exceptional.
Sally has to take the long train to work, she’s a little slow.
I know that measuring person against person is like measuring an apple against an orange, but still I think we all want to know how we measure up.
I’d like to think of myself as unique. But how can I prove that? One of my co-workers has a very similar red coat as mine, another co-worker has the same exact sweater as I do, even my best friend, who has always been the night to my day, is in love with the same album as me.
The thing that can make me feel unique might just be my writing.
I am many things (some not so flattering, some spectacular) but the one thing I have always identified myself with is being a gifted writer.
So, I took a writing class to help me remember that Sue Funke is indeed a special girl.
In a Lisa Simpson style, I thought that maybe if I was graded, judged by my skill, I’d once again be Super Special Sue.
Tonight I was handed my first four pieces of work back.
I waited until I reached the subway platform to read my professor's comments.
They were insightful, helpful, directive…
Yadda, yadda, yadda,
Grade me! Grade me! Give me a Gold Star!!!!
and at the bottom of the page ---
I am not unique, I am not special, I am in fact as average as all of you who do not write at least one page a day, oh the horror…
I won’t panic, I won’t accept this, I will rewrite my work into the masterpiece it can be and I WILL get these works published and then we’ll see who’s average,
Not Sue Funke.
I am ANYTHING but average.
I then looked over at a fellow classmate’s paper, she too got a C, but there was a dash in front of it.
And as I looked back, mine had one too.
Then I realized. I’m not taking this class for a grade, and my professor’s name is Chris.
I’m special, so special.