The Difference

Written by Kathi Stringer

There was this certain quaint little town. A place where no one has ever been. Such a nice place and definitely special. For it was their custom that everyone’s house should be built exactly alike. And if you should visit another’s house, you would not have to ask directions. You would feel right at home. This was very important to them.

There was of course one allowable difference. Every room could be furnished according to one’s own taste. Some of the homes were dramatic, some elegant, some country and others just plain ordinary. Now the thing about these homes was that they all had a room that was extra special, and unless you were a really close friend, you were never shown this room. But everyone knew that the color of this room was blue. This was attributed to the fact that everyone’s favorite color was blue.

Now this story is about a person who was raised and taught the customs of this town. The parents had shown this child all it would need to know to fit into the town’s society and be accepted.

As the years went by the child grew into an adult. Now it was time to build it’s own home. This was done according to the custom. The home was furnished tastefully and very neat. The special room was also painted blue, although this person seemed uncomfortable with it this way, but fitting in was worth self-denial.

As time went on this person seemed happy at it’s new residence. But when everyone talked about how great it was to spend time in their special room painted such a pretty color, this person grew very sad. They were all very lucky to honestly like blue as a favorite color, but hard as it tried this person could not like blue. Green was it’s favorite color. It thought, how do you change your favorite color? It just never seemed to be quite right.

So one day this person decided to paint the room green and when it had finished this person felt such happiness because now this room was really special indeed. It felt so right. Now this person wanted to tell everyone of it’s new found happiness, but thought better of if for it was sure they would not understand.

Then one day this person had left it’s door to this special room carelessly unlocked while having company over. One of the visitors notice the open door and couldn’t resist taking a peek. Upon discovery of the difference the visitor was shocked and confused. How should it relate now to this person that did this? It wasn’t normal and it felt uncomfortable. The visitor sought an opinion from one that did not know the person of difference and was told, “You had better keep your distance. That kind of person should be labeled differently so all will know we don’t agree with such a thing.”

Soon gossip was spreading and life for the person of difference became painful. What was the big deal? It’s my special room and they need not enter, so why does it threaten them? I always thought it was supposed to be special for me, not for them, for they have their own room to enjoy.

Now the person of difference had to learn something new and that is self-acceptance. Not because of it’s own feelings but because of the guilt others felt it should have. Only within time did the person of difference overcome these feelings of guilt by understanding that you have to be true to yourself where ever it may take you. And once it had accepted that, what others thought became less important.

Kathi Stringer Late 1987