Random, or Unique?

My mom encouraged me to think for myself at a young age.  If I’d ask her what she thought about what I was wearing or what choice to make, she would ask what my opinion was instead.  She taught me that my own opinion was far more important than hers, or anyone else’s.

That wasn’t always easy growing up, because many times kids look for their place in life by following their friends or parents.  It gives them a sense of belonging and acceptance.  So, when my peers were confronted with an anomaly like me, they didn’t know what to do, and resorted to calling me names like “freak”, “odd”, or “weird”.  I would often go home crying and take solace in the song It’s Not Easy Being Green.  Every time Kermit would sing about how difficult it was to be different, I would nod my head in agreement.  But in the end, I also agreed with Kermit that I wouldn’t want to be anything else.

As I got older, I still got called those things (even eccentric was used once or twice), but most of the time it was said good-naturedly.  The label I like best, though, is random.

I was in my twenties and living in Chicago when I first heard that term used to describe me.  I had returned from a vacation in Europe, and declared that I was moving to Prague.  This prompted a co-worker to say “You are so random, Alyx!”  I had to ask her to explain what she meant, because the choice didn’t seem random to me – but of course, I knew the tracks my mind had taken to get me to that decision.  Once she explained it, I was not only comfortable with the term, but I actually embraced it.

I think it’s fun to be “random”.  To blaze paths most people haven’t, or wouldn’t.  I enjoy trying things that “most” people would pooh-pooh (I say “most”, because in a world of billions of people, I’m sure there are more like me than my small community would indicate).  What others may find weird, I actually find fascinating.

Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, explains it all perfectly, to me:

…Two roads diverged in a wood and I…took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

I first learned of this poem back when I was nine, and it remains my favorite to this day.  Granted, I haven’t read too many, but I doubt it would matter.  Yes, it might be easier to traverse a path that someone has blazed before me, but apparently I become bored quickly with “easy”.  If something doesn’t prove a challenge, my mind isn’t stimulated, and I tend to lose interest.  Sometimes, when the quick success I think I want doesn’t materialize, I have to remind myself of that fact, but most of the time I remember.  😉

There are so many wonderful things in this world of ours that wouldn’t be, if not for someone saying “hmmm…wonder what would happen if we did this…”

Edison.  Einstein.  Lucas.  Seuss.  All enriched our world because they were willing to try something others hadn’t before.  While I might not ever achieve the same greatness they did, I like to think we’re kindred spirits.  Maybe they too were called “odd”, “weird”, “freak”, and “random”.  If so, I am definitely in good company.

We all have some special quality that makes us unique.  I say, celebrate that which makes you stand apart from the crowd!  So tell me, in what way have you blazed your own trail?  It could be something as simple as making rice krispy treats with Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles, or it might be something grander.  Either way, come, share your randomness with me & the boys (Edison, Einstein, et al.)

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 09:47:19

    I dropped out of college to join a rock band and proceeded to follow a very odd and convoluted road to where I am now. I don’t regret any of it (other than any decisions that hurt other people because of my bad judgment) ’cause it was my road and I learned a hell of a lot along the way. Here’s to being random!

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 28, 2011 @ 09:51:03

      I KNEW I could count on you to post something amazing, Dana! 😀 I agree, regret is unnecessary, because it’s always an interesting ride.

      Besides, think of how many cool things you’ve experienced that can make their way into your books!

      Reply

      • Dana
        Jan 28, 2011 @ 10:05:52

        I try to be the first person to comment on your posts, have you noticed? 🙂

        Everything that’s happened to me or that I’ve observed is fodder for writing… it’s actually gotten me through some really bad experiences ’cause I just thought “Okay, I’m gonna observe everything and write about it later!”

        Did you really move to Prague?

  2. Alyx Morgan
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 10:13:07

    That’s a great attitude to have when things go awry. It’s not always easy, but it’s great when I’m able to do that too.

    I have noticed you’re usually (if not always) the first to reply. It’s almost like you’re my groupie. 😉 I love it!

    Yep, I lived in Prague for 7 months. It was an amazing experience & I’m glad I did it, because I probably wouldn’t have gotten to see that gorgeous city otherwise.

    Reply

  3. Dana
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 10:26:40

    Heh. I’m a groupie! Well, I’ve done the rock band thing so I might as well take a walk on the other side. 🙂

    I would love to see Prague…

    Reply

  4. Gail
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 12:08:58

    Hi Alyx,

    I follow you through the Guppy site and enjoy your blog posts. Today’s article struck a cord with me.

    Growing up “in the country” with three older siblings meant free rein to make my own decisons. Hand-me-downs and uncombed hair probably placed me in the “different” category.

    My experiences and career choices while living in four different states, along with my love of genealogy research, supply colorful background material for my stories.

    The independence I gained as a child gives me the (misguided?) confidence to continue writing, with the goal of publishing my novels.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 28, 2011 @ 14:00:37

      Hi Gail –

      I’m so glad you enjoy the posts. 🙂

      With your upbringing, I’d definitely say you’re among friends here. & “misguided”? Never! I personally think it’s the risk-takers who have the chutzpah to follow their dreams. YAY you!

      Thanks for following, & for posting today.

      Reply

  5. Donnell
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 14:28:45

    Alyx: Just gotta say you’re my hero! What this says to me and your very wise mother is she told you long ago to stand on your own two feet. I imagine you had very little trouble not succumbing to peer pressure thanks to her. She made you think for yourself. Not a bad thing in today’s world where everyone tries to emulate somebody else. Great post!

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 28, 2011 @ 15:00:33

      Wow, thanx, Donnell! What a nice compliment, for both me and my mom. 😀

      Yeah, funnily enough, whenever kids would tease me for being different, it just made me want to stick to my guns more, rather than cave & want to be one of them. Funny that it had the opposite effect than what they probably wanted, huh?

      Thanx for stopping by & for your lovely comment.

      Reply

  6. Kaye George
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 17:56:33

    My parents refused to give me direction, too, when I asked for it. Now that I’m a parent I see the wisdom of this; no blame can come to the parent for what happens. 🙂 I was a little different, too, growing up. But since I’ve become an adult I actually have a dread of appearing normal and try to avoid it. I enjoyed reading the post!

    Reply

  7. Alyx Morgan
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 23:31:05

    Hey Kaye –

    Yeah, after all the years of being “abnormal”, being “normal” sounds dreadful to me too.

    Unfortunately, I found many people who “blamed” my mom for the way she raised me, but knowing that I turned out okay validates her choices.

    Thanx for stopping by!

    Reply

  8. Liz
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 15:56:49

    Alyx, bravo! Love this post – and I wish I hadn’t waited to start being “random” until a few years ago – around when I turned 30. I lived with parents who in one breath lectured about being a follower, and in the next breath condemned anything they thought was different. So it took me a long time to be comfortable with my own opinions and decisions, and it’s still something I struggle with! But nowadays I find myself delighted when people tell me I’m weird.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 30, 2011 @ 19:37:30

      Congratulations, Liz! In many ways you had a harder struggle than I did, what with your upbringing. I applaud your courage & strength to give it a go after that.

      & YAY that you’re proud to be “weird”! 😀

      Thanks for stopping by & posting.

      Reply

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