Being different

As a child, I wasn’t aware of my physical or emotional difficulties, so never attuned myself to them. I never homed in on the fact that those difficulties made me different. I was aware that there was a difference in my leg mass and foot, but never understood what it all meant.

But as children, we’re normally attuned to people’s appearances more than adults. For example, if a child sees another child who is overweight that child will say something like “Look, Mum, that girl’s fat.” I’m not sure what my peers saw or thought, but however they saw me, I somehow adjusted.

My suggestions below should help us adjust:

  • Believe in yourself. Use your uniqueness to move around your life. Don’t let the fact that you are different hold you back. Being able to overcome adversity will not only inspire you, but will also inspire others seeing the difference in you;
  • Stay positive, you’re okay as you;
  • Spend time thinking about and working through your challenges without homing in on other people’s opinions of you. Challenges can always be overcome, it’s the attitude that matters;
  • Choose to have people around you who will support you unconditionally.

Of course, as individuals we are all unique, but those who have a disability and are different, are even more unique and that’s okay. Society needs to embrace and celebrate people who are ‘different.’

My disability and being different has taught me about humility, it has taught me about expression, it has taught me about resilience, and to recognise other people’s struggles. It has taught me how to be a better, more compassionate person.

It has also taught me about empathy, tolerance and being kind.


20 Aug, 2010

10 thoughts on “Being different

  1. Good post. Very true, it is what happens in real life. It’s a good idea to be around people who support you without conditions. When people are positive in life, it’s so much easier and you can go forward with confidence and make great progress in your life.

  2. I was different in that the kids were afraid of me. They didn’t understand that all I had was an illness they were afraid I’d have a seizure or something so I went all through school without any real friends. Then when I started 7th grade I exploded weight wise. I had the biggest breasts in the school so I got picked on relentlessly. It was awful. But I dealt with it somehow.

    You have some very good points here Ilana and I agree with all of them especially the one about being positive. That’s a big thing in my book. I’ve always tried to be positive no matter what I’m doing. Great post Ilana.

    1. Thanks Lisa. A lot of the issues we continue to carry, tend to come from those who don’t let us forget. You knew you were different but with the right support you may have come through your problems a lot quicker without the taunts from school children.. but I believe as adults we can take back some form of control. Time to get back in the driving seat Lisa!

  3. Usually I don’t like being open about it, but this I will open up: I don’t just have CP, but I also have Asperger’s Syndrome — Mild Autism. I was diagnosed with both very young, so it was known when I went to elementary school that I was “different.”

    At the time I was too young to understand what was happening, so I only seemed to be aware of two things: 1) I had both conditions and 2) they couldn’t be good. I was in physical therapy a lot as a kid.

    I think this post is important to me if for no other reason than to tell me it’s okay to live with what I have. It’s okay to be different.

    1. David, I am pleased you have posted on this. It’s okay that you’re different. Perhaps it’s time to embrace all that you are.

  4. Being different is hard to deal with especially as a child. I was always taken out of class to do exercises with a trainer and it was always hard to be “normal” and have to deal with answering where you went and why.

    I used to resent having Cerebral Palsy a lot. But I know now I wouldn’t change a thing because I wouldn’t be me without those experiences both, the good and the bad.

  5. I just have one question. I mean, I don’t have a problem being different, but how do you NOT let that difference define you?

    1. Heather we’re all different in one way or another, but just getting on with your life as best you can without drawing yourself into ‘you being different’ will help you concentrate on other things.

      I don’t think about my cerebral palsy. I just think about what I have to do in my day. I don’t think about my CP.

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