'If you're lucky enough to be different, don't ever change'. - Taylor Swift
I have always been different. When I was a kid I didn't understand it. When I did start to notice, it depressed me. Then it made me angry. Then I tried to medicate it. Then I tried to change it with self help books. Then I accepted it as unchangable and made peace with it. Then I accepted it as a gift. Then I thanked God for it.
But what happens when you notice that your child is different? When you notice that other people, children and adults alike, notice that your child is different. And they treat her as such.
How do you accept 'different' when your child is hurting from it?
Lilly is different. She's beautifully, wonderfully, magically different. She has just started to notice it. And she hates it.
She has no learning or developmental disabilities. No physical issues. Nothing you can put your finger on.
She's ultra-sensitive. She strongly feels depths of emotions that other people only read about in books. She sees colors in the ocean and shapes of castles in the clouds that others would need pointed out to them.....and probably still wouldn't see. She's different.
She's 8 years old and comes to me crying that she's sad and doesn't know why. She says she hates being sensitive....that it's horrible. She hates being different.
And my aching, broken heart tries so hard to explain to her......
God made you just the way He wanted you. Your emotions and sensitivity are a beautiful, amazing gift. Your emotions allow you to feel the depths of happiness and sadness that other people just stand at the edge of. Your sensitivity makes it possible for you to see the blues and purples in beach sand when others only see tan. You can see shapes differently and maneuver then into drawings and paintings from memory..........because you pay attention to what other people overlook. You can shape words to express ideas and thoughts and beauty that allows others to see and feel what you see and feel, maybe for the first time.
What if one of your observations, one of your paintings, one of your lovely thoughts helps someone else to feel what they long to feel......just once?
Lilly is an artist. The world needs artists. Artists paint the world with love and emotion and beauty. And sometimes their work helps people to grieve in ways that help to heal. Or sets them free in indescribable ways. Art is important. Artists are priceless.
The world needs people that are like Lilly......even though the world is not always so accepting of her. Not even nice sometimes.
So, it's okay if my little girl gets overwhelmed in crowds and has to get away. It's okay if she finds strength in her solitude. It's okay that she doesn't always fit in. It's okay that she gets sadder than most when Bambi's mother dies in the movie. It's okay that while the crowd is playing tag, she's making flower hats and singing songs by herself. I know God, in His infinite mercy and perfection, will always provide her with at least one other person who understands her. And even if that person doesn't understand her, they will love her in her 'being different'. Maybe that person, for the time being, is me.
And thank God that I spent years wondering why I am different....and then finding peace in it so I can understand and walk my child through the same process.....cheering her on and loving her and accepting her...even though I sometimes get frustrated with it, too.
And one day (it may be tomorrow or in 20 years) perhaps in the middle of her brokenness, she will look at herself in the mirror and say, 'I am wonderfully made in the image of God. I am beautiful. I am perfectly different. Praise God.'
Whether a child is an artist or not......
Different is beautiful.