©2016 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Do you ever think about your freedom to be different? Each July 4th, we in the USA celebrate our broadest freedom: the founding of our country, on the basis of people’s right to live as they choose. We rightly remind ourselves that, “[F]reedom isn’t free.”
Hundreds of thousands fought and even gave their lives, here and abroad, to establish and keep the freedom this country enjoys. Most Americans want people to live entirely as they choose. Each American can choose how to express himself/herself. Yet how much do we exercise this vital freedom?
Can others tell you what is right to wear? Each year, the fashion world changes the colors and shapes of fashion that are “in”. Some people like to play the game and buy new colors and styles, mixing up their wardrobe collection to have fresh looks. But there are extremes of cultural ideas about what fashions are important to match. Last year I saw a video scene that still burns in my memory. In a Taliban-ruled community, girls at age 11 were expected to start wearing a light blue burka with an open-weave eye opening. One day, twenty girls looked at each other and asked, “[W]hat would happen if we took these off?” They took them off and joyfully ran down a hill, together, celebrating their humanity, not their sameness.
Being different isn’t a bad thing. It means you are brave enough to be yourself.
Some of our differences are aspects we are born with. I was born with white-blonde hair, 10 fingers and 10 toes. My sisters were all born with dark red hair, each with 10 fingers and 10 toes. We were often called “cotton top” and “carrot top”. Riding a train one day, leaving New York City, I helped a woman with a beautiful baby in a carrier. I had never before seen a baby with 6 perfect toes on each gorgeous little foot. So where is it written that 10 is the correct number of toes? These were perfect. My ideas of what is normal, same, and usual expanded that day.
A priest friend of mine has a son, Christopher, who is now 7. When he was about 6, my friend shared this story, which I am sharing with her generous permission: “Christopher came home from his 2 nights at church camp raving about the ‘coolest man who was born with only one hand!’ The fact that he was born this way delighted him and clearly expanded his worldview immensely, because it hadn’t occurred to him this was a possibility before. We may get nervous when our kids stare at someone who looks different than them, but C made it clear that differences are marvelous, exciting, and inspiring. Children are curious about people and want to celebrate the uniqueness of others which then, I imagine, makes the other not quite so other. And I am pretty sure that’s what the world needs. Thanks, Christopher.”
How much do we believe everyone is or should be the same? When we take delight in our originality and our differences, we are free. Celebrate your freedom and feel the joy. As you are able, exercise your freedom to be different. Truly, we are In/Joy/Meant. And that’s Upbeat Living!
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You
- (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine. Both that book and Peace Within are available through her office. Just email email@example.com.
- For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: firstname.lastname@example.org.