I'm Not Special and Neither Are You

Remember this?
Maybe it's because my parents allowed me to choose my own clothing as a kid, which resulted in lots of weird mismatched outfits. Maybe it's the fact that I learned that nobody appreciated my interpretive dance skills after my "Xanadu" dance solo in the first grad talent show. (To this song, if you were curious. But you probably weren't.) Maybe it's the fact that I cut my own hair in high school until my senior year. Whatever the reason, I learned from an early age to march to the beat of my own drummer.

I'm almost thirty and I've been weird my whole life. (Hence the name of this blog.) I am well accustomed to people not appreciating the things that make me "special". I wish I could say the same for everyone else on the planet.

Whatever the reason, I absolutely LOVE this graduation speech that's gone viral. I used to try to explain this to my creative writing students, with a lot less eloquence. This man should be given a congressional medal of honor. Then again...maybe Congress needs to hear this too...

Now, of course, we know people are quite special. No two of them are alike. Special talents and gifts abound. What I take away from this is the idea that the world doesn't owe you anything, despite the ways in which you are special. You want money? Go out there and earn it. You want to feel fulfilled creatively? Go make it happen. Have a good idea? Act on it. A good idea is never, repeat NEVER enough. You have to then follow through on that idea. And that sometimes involves hard work. 

Now, Thomas Edison was kind of a jerk. Just Google "Topsy the Elephant" to see what I mean. (Credit to the writer Cole Farrell who educated me on this matter with his stunning essay on elephants that made me cry buckets in the middle of a classroom one day during grad school.)

But he did say this and it does seem to be truth. 

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Then again, Michael Scott said Wayne Gretzky said this...

In general, just stop making excuses and do whatever it is that you feel that you have to do. I believe you that you're special. I really do. I think you have gifts and talents and a calling and something to give to the world. Now go do something about it. 

You ever notice how bloggers are usually just talking to themselves in one way or another? Hmmm...perhaps I am trying to tell myself something...