No matter how much we try to fit in, the world will always make us feel different ... so we might as well go ahead and be different.
Hey, it's like they say ... Vive la Difference! Right?
I mean, there must be a reason that phrase exists. Someone has thought about this before me: Live the difference.
All I know is that the more I try to force myself into the mold of what I think I should be, the worse I feel. But when I truly finally break out, say fuck it, and boldly be myself - wow, surprise surprise, I suddenly feel great.
The thing that hurts the most in life is not feeling different - it's feeling different and hiding it.
Curiously, I don't think I have ever been depressed when taking the risk of being myself. I may have been scared to be myself, or anxious, or fearful, or embarrassed ... At times I have even felt dread at the thought of being myself, I may have felt depressed imagining other people's negative reactions to me wanting to be myself. But the actual act of being myself? Of jumping off the cliff into the shocking cold water? There's just no time to be depressed during a leap like that. It's like a bicycle: only one person can ride it at a time. So if you are riding your bike in your full aliveness and risktaking, then depression can't be on the bike, too.
But sometimes the opposite happens: depression takes the bike for a spin and won't let you have it back. It won't let you take a turn. Instead it rides endless loops around you, telling you all the things you cannot do and can never be. And you know what? Sometimes you have to be a little rude and push depression off the bike and just fucking take it back.
But how do you do that? By taking the risk of just being you.
Now, this risk can big, or it can be small. It can be breaking yourself out of your block of ice to tell someone you love them, it can be deciding to take that college course you always wanted to take, it can be going to a nude beach for the first time, it could even be jumping out of a plane. (P.S. I tried that once, and it was definitely not for me.)
But the thing that hurts the most in life is not feeling different - it's feeling different and hiding it. It's the horrible feeling of hiding who you are, while simultaneously not being who you are. Worst of all, it's draining on not one but two fronts: you're spending so much energy trying to hide your true self and you are missing out on all that beautiful alive-energy you get by being the biggest truest you. Look, I can't tell you how to live your life. That would be prideful, and unwise, and foolish. I can only report the news to you from my own home-front: I know how much it hurts, how much it has deadened me for years and years, to not be "living my difference."
And, so, finally, just a little bit more, day by day ... I finally am. And what a difference it makes.
OK, good enough for now,
~ Quest Barely, all!
Kemson Cooper is the creator of QuestBarely.com, a site about using the body as a path to explore the Self. He is also the author / artist of "Love Yourself ~ A Body of Work" (hailed by at least a few as the world's first naked self-empowerment book) & "The Bird Who Had No Clue" (a sweet little illustrated tale about life, for all ages).