In Motivation

Distinctively Similar

I rotated between staring at blank pages and September’s theme, “Embrace Uniqueness.” It seemed to stare back, and soon little demons started popping up to whisper, You can’t embrace what you don’t have.

Honestly, I fell prey to this form of self abuse for a few days; unable to even think about writing this article. Feeling heavy and glum, I continued to stare at blank pages and sift through old notes until I came across one that caught my attention.

The title read, “For When You’re Down: A List of Things to Remember.” It included a note from my past self reminding me of my talents, a list of things that lift me (i.e. sincere conversations, yoga, water, acupuncture), and the command, “If you can’t find good in you, go find it somewhere else. Be still, listen, give, and receive.”. The note ended with something I say but have trouble embracing, “It’s all going to be ok; just be patient and work towards the good. This phase won’t last forever. It all gets better”.

Feeling a little more love for me and my world, I marched out the door ready to listen and look for the good. Over the next couple of days, I asked a few people I came in contact with these bold questions: “How are you unique?”, and, “How do you nourish those qualities and embrace them?”. I completely expected the first person I spoke with to shun me immediately, or give me a generic answer… but I received the exact opposite (thank you). The responses I received from both strangers and friends left my heart full of gratitude and appreciation for the people in our community. I was reminded that when we open ourselves and practice vulnerability we are then able to grow together and as individuals. For that, I am so grateful.

Below are fragments of the conversations I had. I hope they fill your heart as they did mine, and that you are reminded of how beautiful and extraordinary you are.

“Honestly, I don’t feel unique. Some days I do, but not today. And that’s ok I think.” -S

“It’s funny. My first reaction is to say I’m not unique even though I think there’s no one like me. I’m kind, I put all of my heart into my projects, I burn portraits into pieces of wood for fun, I paint, I style hair- but it feels arrogant to say this. To say, ‘I’m unique and here’s why’. It’s so ingrained in women to be quiet, to make ourselves small, to be polite. Well, forget politeness. I am unique. We all are, And that’s beautiful! There’s no reason to shrink from that. The only way to nourish change is conversation.” -A

“I can do anything I set my mind to. Literally anything! I wasn’t sober for two straight years. I was taking everything I could get my hands on, and that lifestyle absorbed me. I lived in a small town, and that’s just what you did to keep from going bored out of your mind. Then, one day, I looked up and saw my reflection. I looked like a walking skeleton and I had bald patches forming! I knew if I didn’t change I would die before I turned twenty. So, I moved to Nashville, found a family here, and have been completely sober for two whole years. I ditch anyone who tries to bring me down or makes me feel small. I don’t need that! I’m still the queen of the party even without a boost. I feel great.” -C

“I have a few spiritual gifts that I’m developing. I know a lot of people don’t believe in gifts, and it might make me seem crazy. But I believe they are gifts from God -a sign he invests in each of us- and I’m excited to develop mine through prayer and meditation with my faith community and the people God puts in my path.” -H

“I don’t think I’m that unique, but I do like myself. I’m kind, passionate, considerate, knowledgable, and good with people. I like my body for the most part, and I have a healthy self esteem. I encourage these qualities by engaging in activities that make me feel good. I like to serve others because it make me feel valuable and purposeful. I try not to surround myself with people who aren’t supportive of my passions. I engage in intellectual conversation when possible, and enjoy learning new things and testing them out. You don’t have to be one of a kind to know you’re amazing” -A

“I only recently started to feel unique. I was doing a lot of drugs and drinking excessively, and I carried a lot of shame. I stopped using {drugs} three years ago. I found a therapist I like, and learned how/ why I abused myself through my vices. I got to know the amazing person I am; the person drugs kept down. Now, I’ve been completely sober for three months. I feel great. It’s hard sometimes, but then I remember how I felt about myself. I don’t want to be that person again; I love me.” -E

We’re all trying to be something. I’m trying to become me. Amanda Forderhase is a Nashville writer currently working on a collection of American haikus, a twenty something engaged to a rapper, and aspiring yogi. I’m a caterpillar wrapped in silk. Not yet a butterfly, but I still sting like a bee. Connect with Amanda on Instagram at @aeforderhase

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