Don’t ever wish to be anything but what you are. I am not spewing that “you are beautiful like a flower” bullshit (and yes, I think some of those “each person is a snowflake” pep talks are just empty words). Here is my point: if you were not gay, or were not an athlete, or were not smart, or never had acne, or never went to an overcrowded public school in Georgia who would you be? Feel free to change out those descriptions to fit yourself. I sometimes sit back and think, if I wasn’t me, if I was the person I superficially want to be, what would I be doing right now?
How about if I wasn’t gay. I’ll admit I sometimes wish that. I think high school would be a whole hell of a lot easier if I was like everybody else (or at least like the majority.) But then I get to thinking. If I wasn’t gay, would have a great blog? If I wasn’t gay, would I have great essay topics for my college applications? If I wasn’t gay, would I have been as much of an observer in life? Would I have the analytical mind I have now? Would I be as interested in academia? Would I even care to be smart? If I wasn’t gay, and if high school was easy, I could have ended up just like all of the other kids in my school. I could have been a run of the mill, average kid. That right there is enough to scare the longing out of me.
The point is, everything, no matter how influential and no matter how big or small, has an impact on who you are. Even my acne has shaped the person I am. I hate that I have acne and that it has persisted as long as it has. It has degraded my relationships with friends and that bugs me. I have had acne long enough that I really want to get rid of it. Enough so that I have researched acne (Wikipedia-style mostly, that’s how the pros do it) and learned the science behind it so I can choose the right medications and habits to get rid of it. It has motivated me enough that the research I have done has exposed me to fields of medicine that I had never encountered before. I would never say that I like having acne, but having acne has helped nurture my interest in medicine and chemical engineering. And I have to be thankful for that.
Here’s an exercise to try: sit down and write a list of things (traits, conditions, etc) that you wish you could get rid of. Then look at each one and think about how your life would be different if it was never there. Look at everything, not just the positives that would normally be your focus. Look at how that “affliction” or “embarrassment” has really shaped you as a person and then cross it off your list and move on to the next item. In the end, I think you will realize that you afflictions aren’t as sinister as you thought. It is our imperfections and failures as much as our successes that shape who we are.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, be thankful for everything you have!