I happened to attend a federal government college. I was a boarding student (i.e. I lived on the school premises). Sometimes, I was your normal kid. At other times I was ‘unusual’. For some reason, I did not quite have the same interests and thrills associated with kids my age at the time. I would like to think that I was evolving and I did not understand what that meant. For most part, I enjoyed my own company so I saw going to parties for example as an infringement of my personal space. (You don’t want to know how considerably I have changed since then)
Perhaps I took it too far because this one time, I caught the eye of a senior student who pressured me to sneak out with her, pretending to be a day student. Not like my moral compass was at an all-time high, but something in me just couldn’t. Not sure, but it seemed like one of fear/anxiety/timidity/low self-esteem; it had to be at least a combination of two or more of them. It was only a few years and I knew I had begun to crack on the inside. Confused, would not quite describe my state of mind in those years. Thank God, there was a glimmer of hope. I wrote a letter to my dad, describing my predicament and fears. I was an emotional wreck and so I told him that I was called all manner of names by a number of people who wondered why I wouldn’t fit in (ironically, I thought I fit in just fine). It took two weeks from the time I posted my letter to the day I got my daddy’s response. It is funny that I can barely remember the words I wrote in that particular letter neither can I recall in full detail the content of my father’s. Nevertheless, a few words and clauses stood out for me – those I will NEVER forget!
“What they call weird, I call unique and what they call odd, I call extraordinary” Only if I had taken those words to heart sooner and not felt that those were just a father trying to make his forlorn daughter feel better about herself. Well, since that was my perspective of those words at the time, I must say it sure did the magic because for a while I had my confidence back as I concluded it was alright to be different. Fast forward to several years after leaving high school, it took me more than a walk in the park to actually appreciate those words written by a very obviously concerned father. These words have literally shaped my thought pattern till now.