14 March 2011

on the individual

this past weekend, i attended a musical get-together. a group of students all packed together in a tiny little living room, trading off roles of audience and performer. it looked like a typical group of students; people i see on campus every day. however, after about ten minutes i realized something.

yes, these were typical students, but they were incredible.

many who took the spotlight that night were women. and time after time, it hit me how incredible these women are. every voice was different, every original piece (there were many) was just that - completely original, nothing exactly like it.

as women, we face temptation of social comparison. it's rampant among us today, and the most distorting mirror we can look through. when looking at a group of us {women} together, we may all look typical enough. but that's exactly the danger of comparing. at the open mic night, each woman had the chance to be an individual, to set herself apart, to be untypical. it was truly a beautiful experience.

watching these unique and individual women helped me look at women {and people, in general} in a very different way. i would have passed any of those women on campus or at the grocery store and thought, "oh yeah, they're just like me, just like all the other girls in this ordinary town." but under the typical appearance of twenty-something years old and medium-length brown hair, most of the women in that room were musical geniuses with unique talent and rare creative gifts. gifts that are very different from mine and different from each other, too.

i understood in my heart that night what i've known in my mind - that we are each unique, each individual, and each given gifts that no one else has. it's impossible to recognize that individuality while looking only at a collective. i get caught up in a mindset studying the social sciences - people become numbers: a sample, a population, a trend. but i've recognized the wrongness in that kind of thinking.

we are individual. as women, we all have absolutely unique gifts. recognizing those gifts in ourselves and others is important to our relationship with ourselves and everyone around us. so, i invite you to do two things: 1) make a list of your unique gifts. what are a few things that make you incredible? 2) get to know someone new. this night reminded me how different people are from each other and from the way i initially perceive them to be. have a conversation - find out someone's story!

next, leave a comment so we can all share the experience!

here's my list:
i love to experiment with food - my creations are unique and yummy!
and this week i've been getting to know a new roommate - with truly a unique perspective on life. she's a math major and english minor and we share a deep love of granola. she's one of the most peaceful (yet passionate) people i've ever met!

now... what's your story?


Amalthea said...

1) I can read faster than most people I know (not speed-reading, mind you, the actual get-all-the-quality reading). I can guess most songs after hearing just a few notes from the intro.
2) I am getting to know my cousin--someone I've known and loved forever; but now I know real things about her, below-the-surface things, and it makes me want to salute her!

(FYI: I am a silent follower of the blog as of the last couple of months or so--I am a friend of Alicia Fish.)

joojierose said...

this is so inspiring! i love the post.

1) i happen to be a really good walker. i can navigate through a crowd so well, it's somewhat of a bizarre talent, but super useful!

2) i am reconnecting with tons of friends this week through actual, considerate letters. it has been so wonderful to hear how everyone is doing - how they are REALLY doing, you know? so fantastic to reconnect after such time!

thank you again for this lovely post :)