Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Curse Of Being Different





It’s not easy to be different. We’re all different, I guess, each of us has something that makes us stand out from the collective identity we believe society holds. That thing we carry around with us, it could be anything really, that makes us different, the part of us that other people can’t relate to. These differences seem bigger when you become a parent when, all of a sudden, everything you do is up for discussion as people pass comment on your parenting.

Sometimes I miss working for charities, being surrounded by people who were, more or less, on the same wavelength as me. When you work in an environment like that, you can chat freely safe in the knowledge that there isn’t a closet Tory or secret racist hiding in the corner of the room. Life is easier when the people around you not only understand why you feel the way you do but also share your beliefs. It means you waste less time and energy defending yourself.

I still have that, the work colleagues and people I’m connected with through blogging, the people who know where I stand. But the problem is, they live in my phone. Working from home is very freeing and lets me be with my kids as much as possible, but it can be depressing to have your working interactions whittled down to email exchanges and online threads. There are no after work drinks you can attend to set the world to rights.

I am finding being different particularly exhausting at the moment. The constant question answering is tiresome, even if some of those questions are well-intentioned. I just want to be able to go about my day without having to explain myself to anybody. It is exhausting to feel constantly judged just for trying to do what I see as right. I’m not judging anybody else, I couldn’t care less what the rest of the world is up to, I just want to be free to make my own choices without being judged.

Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me but right now it does. All I keep thinking is if I am this mentally drained from being different, how does Ebony feel? She is so much littler than me. I am bored of answering questions and I’ve only been vegan for 10 years, she will be doing it her whole life. What is it really like being the first vegan at school? I wish I could scoop up our lives and move them to Brighton or somewhere she would be less different, somewhere there would be other families like us, somewhere she wouldn’t be known as ‘the vegan’.

Not that she seems to care much. She told me recently that being vegan makes her special, and it does. She isn’t put off by being different, she relishes it. Maybe I should take a leaf from her book. She is set apart from the rest because she is doing something important, something nice, as she would put it. I hope she always feels that way, that she will be happy and proud of herself for making a difference in the world.

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