I’m different. I’ve always been different, always felt different, but didn’t always have peace with it. Sometimes I fought it, bumped heads with others because of it, and even embraced it. It’s a sordid past I share with it. As I matured, though, I began to appreciate the fact that I was different. I eventually found it odd that most of us spend so much of our youth trying to fit in before usually spending the rest of our lives trying to distinguish ourselves. After all, aren’t we all different?
My official occupation for the past five years should read ‘nomad’. I’ve lived in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Antonio, St. Louis, and even in an L.A. suburb. Right now, I’m on my way to South Korea. Each line of my resume places me in a different state and/or in a different industry so it’s quite likely that most companies seeking a long-term employee will immediately discard it upon review despite my qualifications; it doesn’t exactly scream company loyalty. Here’s the thing: I’m okay with that. Why? Because I’m different. That fact is evidenced not just by my thought process, hairstyle, interests or style of dress; my journey and choices are highly reflective of my individuality. My path hasn’t always been easy or glamorous, but it has been true to my essence as a free spirit.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s a little something else: you’re different, too. You have dreams you haven’t followed, thoughts you haven’t shared, passions you haven’t explored. In short, you have a life you haven’t lived.
by Janeen M.
In the past few years, I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t made a wish that wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t focused on Janeen Anita. Besides the obvious birthday wish blowing my heart over candles over a yellow cake from jewel. On the day to day, it is Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wish I would close on this sale so I can buy some CrÃƒÂ¨me La MerÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wish that fly guy at Starbucks would turn around and see the flecks of gold sparkling in my brown eyesÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wish I can win the lottery and give a middle finger to everybodyÃ¢â‚¬â€and their mama too.Ã¢â‚¬Â
But this past Saturday, I got to work on the front lines with Make-A-Wish Foundation and granted a wish to a ten-year-old boy named Chuck who was diagnosed with leukemia. I have been a volunteer with Make-A-Wish Foundation since April of this yearÃ¢â‚¬â€a volunteer wait list (one year!!!) and a background check later, I was selected and I knew it would be phenomenal.
I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know that one Saturday afternoon, would give me so much perspective.
Right now, I live in San Antonio. Been here for about seven months and can’t say that it’s been the most exciting time of my life. I can say that it’s been a very therapeutic time for me. Not too long ago, I realized that everywhere I’ve lived has served a different purpose for me, acted as a sort of theme, if you will. I was raised in St. Louis, which served as the framework for my understanding of the world. In Chicago, I really grew into my own. Became more of that which I already was. I moved to New York and really began to understand my work ethic. If I care, I’m all in. If I don’t, I’m pretty much out. The second time I was in Chicago was the most broke and probably depressing time of my life. I realized that I needed to make some changes. When I moved to California, I began to make some of those changes. Insights about my family structure of my childhood, or the lack thereof, became clear to me. Shortly thereafter, I moved to Philadelphia and the overarching theme of that period was love. L-O-V-E. As is the case with many relationships, my beau at the time served as a mirror for me, allowing me to see myself as I was and decide which changes I wanted to make. My time in Texas has been very introspective. Not a lot of activity, but necessarily so. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to grow the way I have in this time if I were in a city that really had my attention. So, yes, I’ve been ‘stranded’ on the West side of San Antonio, but I’m better because of my relatively dull evenings and weekends indoors.
Operating with the understanding of why I’m in Texas, in terms of the larger theme of healing, has been incredibly helpful. I no longer hate being here or think I made a mistake in moving here. Very often, we condemn parts of our lives because we don’t understand their purposes.Ã‚Â Everything can be used.Ã‚Â The good, the bad, and the ugly.Ã‚Â Meaning is never inherent; it’s always created.Ã‚Â Find the value in the experiences you’ve had and the experiences you’re having right now.Ã‚Â If you haven’t done this already, it will change the way you understand your world.
Find the good.