“One of these things is not like the others; one of these things doesn’t belong.”
Do you hear that jingle, instituted on Sesame Street on episode one, rummaging around in your brain? Does it resound, helping you to notice aspects of unique, independence, and to categorize?
I identify with that song, born in the first year of my preschool special ed work. You could have sung that about me, treated as a stepchild amongst siblings.
How ironic that, in my career choice, I was sometimes treated like a stepchild – when I worked in an organization. Yes, the speech-language pathologist in a public school wasn’t respected because she had no classroom (as distinguished from class – we all know I have oodles of that!) I wasn’t regarded as anything unless I ‘got that child out’ of a teacher’s classroom and fixed ’em, fixed ’em good. Resilience and self-reliance put me in good stead at Godspeed. Solo private practice suited me just fine; in my own office, I belonged.
That’s what being stand-up-and-out different does, especially when fortified by healthy self-respect. Distanced from firmament, no longer threatened by quicksand, learning to dog paddle against the tides, I accepted island girl status, fortified by sunscreen and a surfer dude with a six-pack and a W-2, quite enough sustenance for me.
John Donne famously said that no man is an island, but he wasn’t speaking of me. I am an island woman, a native in the land of unique.
And, here I am writing my life, my perspective and point of view. Writing is a lonely profession, suited for my expertise – and my experience.