How Alike Do We Have to Be?

In about 5th grade I thought, “I hope when I have a daughter she’s not too pretty. Pretty girls…they don’t understand anything.”

In fact, when I was pregnant, of all the things I feared, I feared having a daughter.

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I had one big birthday party when I was 6. It was a whopper, my whole grade was there. We ran across the lawn with raw eggs on spoons. There was a huge array snacks and more games. A long table made of planks and concrete blocks, perfect for 6 year olds to fit around. The radio was on while we had cake and the DJ dedicated, “Puff the Magic Dragon” to me at just the right time. It was nuts.

The next birthday party I had was at 16. It was also great.

In between, I don’t remember ever going to a classmate’s birthday party. Did I go and forget them? or was I never invited?

Honestly, could be either.

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I don’t take friendship for granted. It’s precious and frankly, kind of hard to come by. I’m not going to sugar coat it, my self-esteem is absolutely connected to friendship. That connection saved my life.

Years ago, I did a writer’s prompt and blog–hop around the word Normal. One of my friends burst out, “Normal? How boring! Who wants to be normal.” Ahhh, she is so awesome.

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There’s a campaign called “More alike than different” regarding Down syndrome. This is one I could never really get behind. Not that I mind it. It’s fine and PC and all that. (I’m not criticizing, I just don’t relate it to our world.) And I know many people have a primary desire to “fit in” to be “alike” or worse, “normal.”

They also want this for their kids. My heart broke reading this blog from Dave Hingsburger, “All. Of. Him.”  In it, a mother he encounters wants normalcy for her child, more able than disabled. She’s probably a big pusher of the be normal vibe at home. Puke.

In movies/stories, we see this craving by Fiona in Shrek or Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon.  Of course, those are good ones (to me) because these heroes learn to embrace themselves for who they are and reject the “normal” in the end. My favorite characters, however, are more like the Adams Family, who are their own “normal” and they own it.

At this time of year, it is common for me to rant about Rudolf and how his father pushes him to be like everyone else, even Santa is an asshole. The point for the moment is this: I always identified more with the misfit toys and the (dentist) misfit elf.

People need to belong.

I get it. This is a genetically ingrained because survival is based on acceptance. Old days cave-men tribes: “Feed, protect, and allow only those who are accepted by the tribe. Without the tribe=dead. Evolutionary and all that. Survival is, well, let’s say important. Got it.

But, how alike do we have to be to thrive? We don’t have to be alike in so many of the ways that Hollywood and the kind of 6th-grade teacher who doesn’t even really like kids, would say is important. What we really need is to be accepted with our differences. Or even better, celebrated with our differences. And, AND, we shouldn’t have to prove why our differences can save Christmas. BTW.

In my opinion, no one should have to be, or feel the need to assert, they are “More Alike Than Different.”

But that’s the way Quinn, Marcus and I roll. We are a bunch of weirdos. Eccentrics. Artists, ya know? We are cool because of our differences. We often feel just on the outside. We belong to each other, some days that has to be enough.

My wordcloud of thoughts on me and belonging…

This has been a part of Finish the Sentance Friday with Finding Ninee. This week is about belonging…I wanted to write something really great and I ended with a rant. Ah…such is the way.

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Kristi Campbell December 10, 2017 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    So, I’m guilty of saying “more alike than different” because I guess I’m still a believer that the human in us will celebrate the differences among us, and love us more for them, which is, perhaps, naive. I like to think that’s true. But also? I LOVE the differences among us, so much. Yukon Cornelius has been my favorite since I was maybe six years old. We did the egg game, too, and it was horrible and fabulous. I’m honored to call you a friend, different, weirdo, secret-keeper (I wrote a whole blog post about how my dog was my keeper of secrets so duh, weirdo here too), and well, listener, accepter (acceptor??), advocator… yup. xoxo

    • Mardra December 11, 2017 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      I *get it* I just, well, all that. And also – my dear friends – we are different, like of MOnsters and Men say, “I looked around and realized we were nothing like the rest…”Those are the folks I hang out with. We are still a we, thankfully.

  2. Kristi Campbell December 10, 2017 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    ps – You changed your blog design a bit, yes???

    • Mardra December 11, 2017 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      🙂 Yes – Thanks for noticing.

  3. clark December 11, 2017 at 6:05 am - Reply

    The comment medium is definitely lacking when I encounter a post like this. (What it needs is my being able to designate sections of the post with my smiling here on the other side of the screen and…leaning forward at a phrase and laughing and doubling back at others. My own method of trying to accommodate this ‘lack’ usually is to copy/paste these points in the post and hope that the italics work). But here? too many parts I could identify with.

    Belonging is, I suspect, one of those Heisenberg things, sorta.
    We can perceive belonging and we can imagine others recognizing our belonging, but we can’t do both at the same time.

    The language we use inside our head is always a giveaway. I often mention that (one of) my first waking thoughts is ‘ok, so how do we handle the world out there’. The key words being ‘out there. The thing is, I’m betting that only a certain category of person (hint: rhymes with ‘clarks’) use that particular wording.

    hey! so the idea of belonging is first and foremost within us… then a fact for other people! (sometimes, in certain commentational environments, I realize and/or discover something new… I trust you don’t mind.)

    Wait… just re-read your post. No, I don’t think you mind.

    (Shameless semi-plug… one of the things about the Wakefield Doctrine that took time and sharing to realize the benefit of is the idea of ‘a group of Outsiders’… still working on the literal contradiction inherent in that, but the fact is, there is that sense of …hey, they know how I feel. (no surprise that here, at the FTSF, my first bloghop, I found myself reading Kristi’s posts and thinking…’hey! no fair! I was going to say that’)

    I enjoyed your post this week.

    • Mardra December 11, 2017 at 7:58 pm - Reply

      HA! You’re right, I don’t mind and thanks for the comment and Yes – I always write before I read the other posts in the hop, cause, Yeah, sometimes we align on accident. 🙂

  4. Sherrill Long January 10, 2018 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    As always, your blogs get me thinking – this one, in particular (perhaps because Connor was the host reporter – which earned him an Emmy – on the Denver7 program “More Alike than Different”). So, just wanted to add my 2cents here.

    I TOTALLY get what you are saying, because the push to show or prove “More Alike than Different” might seem to imply that being “different” is somehow wrong or bad or not to be desired.

    HOWever,…my take is that “more alike” refers to being alike in our “humaneness” or “humanity”, wanting the same things in general (love, friendships, connections, opportunities, safety, respect), having similar dreams & goals. Now HOW we get there, what we are CAPABLE of, who WE ARE is VERY different…. and yes, those differences should be accepted, embraced and celebrated.

    People often try to find “likeness” to connect, to form lasting relationships, but really (at least, IMO) the differences in us are what make us unique and allow for deeper relationships and bonds – differences encourage growth & meaning, differences enact change and impact lives and the world around us. But only if we remember to treat those differences with love, acceptance and respect. As we all should. Especially since, I believe, we are all “alike” in wanting that….for ourselves and for our children!

    Thanks for keeping me thinking Mardra! And thank you and Marcus and Quinn for your eccentric-ness – I like they way you roll!

    • Mardra January 12, 2018 at 10:13 am - Reply

      As is often the case, we agree to agree on the most boiled down issues. Thanks for your comment!

  5. CELESTE Marie HART January 12, 2018 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    this is inspiring me to get back to life!! I always back away at times, it’s been too long, sometimes so hard

    • Mardra January 12, 2018 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      Celeste, from what you’ve shared, you have had some rough times since I saw you in real life. But, you’re right, we have to crawl out from the covers and go with hope and love…again. <3 Love to you and Dude! - Ms
      (Also, I'd love to see you put your words into the world, too. You have so much to say!)

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