“BETTER THAN / LESS THAN / DIFFERENT THAN”
My approach to life is similar to what Eric Bischoff describes in his book Controversy Creates Cash when he discusses pitching WCW Monday Nitro to Turner Broadcasting executives. I don’t want to put on airs and give people the idea that I’m “better than” everybody else, because I’m not. But at the same time, I don’t want to come across as a complete pushover to give people the impression that I’m “less than” everybody else. Therefore, my only viable option is to be “different than” everybody else.
It didn’t occur to me when I was young that there was anything drastically different about how I presented myself compared to other kids my age, although looking back, I can see some telltale signs now. Just as a “for instance,” I took pride in how I looked, and it was not uncommon for me to wear a dress shirt and a necktie to school when most kids were wearing T-shirts and jeans. I also liked to sound coherent, and I think I may have intimidated people with my intellect when I was in school, and other kids probably didn’t know how to express that other than by making fun of the way I talked, among other things.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t exactly up on what was hip in the 90s when I was in school. I was kind of in my own little world back then in a way. What I found entertaining was different from what other kids found entertaining. I listened to oldies and country music when everyone else was listening to the likes of Marilyn Manson, Korn, and Insane Clown Posse. I enjoyed watching game shows and sitcoms that their parents likely grew up watching, even though the subject matter may have been a bit too advanced for me back then. But I knew what I liked. What I liked was people and things that could make me laugh and entertain me, and it didn’t take much.
When I began coming to terms with what made me different from everyone else, I realized that being different didn’t have to be a bad thing. Too many people lose sight of that. We are all creatures of habit, and our thoughts are almost always in terms of “better than” or “less than.” But not everything in life automatically makes someone “better than” or “less than” everybody else. I know how easy it can be for someone to get hung up on what makes them different from everyone else once they start comparing themselves to them, and how easy it is to get sucked into the “keeping up with the Joneses” thing, feeling like they’re missing out on something. I understand, I’ve been there. I’ve had to reprogram myself and learn to reframe these habitual thought patterns in terms of how I can be “different than” everybody else.
Some of what makes me “different than” everyone else these days includes being true to myself, knowing who I am, knowing what I stand for, and having standards. I don’t profess to be perfect. I prefer to aim for success instead of perfection, because I drive myself nuts when I aim for perfection. Ultimately, life is not meant to be a competition. I’m not competing against anyone. I’m just taking each day as it comes, trying to be better than I was the day before.
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