Monday, June 10, 2013

Being One of a Kind

 My Mom used to tell me that I was one of a kind. I knew she meant that I was not like my two sisters – who were one year older and one year younger than me. And I knew that she meant that I was different from the other folks my age as well.

I was always unique and marched to the beat of my own drummer. I read thousands of books, even ones the county librarian tried to talk me out of and called my Mom about.  I was a feminist in 1970's redneck West Texas. I wore a t-shirt that read, “A woman needs a man, like a fish needs a bicycle.” I did not follow the crowd and made my own way. I was certain that following the crowd was wrong and that I was supposed to do something different.

It was not always easy. I was teased and made fun of at times. I was made to feel different and was, on more than one occasion, taunted fairly viciously. It was not fun. Growing up different is tough. No matter the reason one finds themselves being considered different – gender, theology, sexual orientation, religion, wealth, educational level, political beliefs, physical abilities, family issues, philosophy, size, clothing choices, gender identity, age, or whatever.

But despite that, marching to my own drummer has continued to be my style all of these years. Sometimes it has made me feel alone, sometimes it has made me feel extremely powerful, and sometimes it has made me just feel different.

Recently I read a story about a whale called “52 Hertz.” This whale has been tracked for years and goes his own way. He does not follow the normal migration pattern of other whales of his “kind.” He makes whale sounds that are on a different frequency than other whales – hence the name 52 Hertz. He was discovered about 20 years ago and continues to make his unique sounding whale call – and there seems to be no answer.

This whale is one of a kind. His sound is one of a kind. He swims the ocean alone, perhaps malformed or maybe a hybrid of two other forms of whales. He is alone – one of a kind – doing his own thing.

We have no way to know if he is lonely or depressed or enjoying his unique nature, but songs and stories have been written about his isolation and loneliness anyway.

You would think that receiving no answer to his unique whale song for decades would mean he might stop – but he doesn’t. He keeps on singing on his own frequency. And he keeps on swimming the North Pacific alone.
One of the amazing things about my own journey is that I have found others who are “one of a kind” as well. We have found each other – through our own “whale song” of sorts and we have found community in each other as we swim. Sometimes they stay for short periods and sometimes for longer. But I keep looking for the other “one of a kind” folks out there.

52 Hertz goes on and on – alone in the world.  He keeps on calling in his unique tone but for whatever reason he never receives a reply. I wonder if he just hasn’t found the way to talk in a way that others like him can understand. Maybe he’s just not accepted because he is so different. I pray for him to find peace and happiness – whatever that looks like for 52 Hertz. And maybe he is happy – we have no way of knowing what he feels. But I know what it felt like growing up as a “one of a kind” person. Luckily I have found peace and happiness.

And I pray for you to find that as well. I pray for you to find someone who can hear your whale song. Whether you feel like you will never be accepted or have already found others – keep calling … keep swimming. There are others out there listening.