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.