As I gaze into the mirror, I realize that they are right. I am not like most people. Suddenly, a smile spreads across my face. Why? I am proud of the person that I have grown to be.
I am bombarded daily with stares and comments from my fellow co-workers and administrators. The great powers that be have decided that everyone should look and act exactly as they do. But, when I look at these individuals, I see people who are unhappy. Miserable, even.
They are constantly battling for power and praise. And they are not afraid to lie their way to the top. I cannot tell you how many times I have been thrown under the proverbial bus for mistakes that were not my fault.
I have tried to imagine myself in their shoes. I come up with the same conclusion every time: I would not be able to live with myself. Knowing that I am making other people’s lives miserable and giving them sleepless nights is something I just could not bare.
The work environment is not the only place that calls for uniformity. More and more, the entire world appears to be seeking the robot-like mentality. To quote the movie ‘What a Girl Wants,’ “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”
That describes me perfectly. And I am not ashamed to stand out. The older I become, the more I embrace my uniqueness and cherish the special individual that I am.
Here are some of the things that I like most about myself:
- I have a passion for animals. I am often teased about having so many fur babies, but I would not have it any other way. These rescued pooches and kitties have changed my life for the better. They have helped me grow and taught me many life lessons. This is especially true of my special needs babies. Even though they have “disabilities,” they are able to accomplish amazing things and live their best life, which is something I strive to do every day. My husband and I even like to “shelter hop” on the weekends where we will visit as many animal shelters in the area that we can. We love to talk to the animals and give them the attention and affection that they deserve. I cannot imagine a life without each and every one of my fur babies. I have also become known as the “animal person” at my job and on Facebook. Numerous people have sent me messages needing help in re-homing their pets. Others have contacted me about stray animals that they have found. I love being known as a source of information for helping animals! Instead of dropping off pets at shelters where they will most likely be euthanized, I am able to provide resources that will see these animals in loving foster homes or no-kill shelters.
- I am an Amateur Radio Operator (a.k.a. Ham). My Dad has been a ham for over 40 years! He inspired me to get my own FCC license. I studied for the test diligently for a month and passed the Technician Class test with only 3 missed questions. I am now able to volunteer as the Skywarn Net Control Operator for our weekly Net Nights when my Dad is tied up at work or sick. In addition, I can use my ham skills while volunteering in our local E.S.D.A. (Emergency Services and Disaster Agency) as a shelter manager or give back up assistance to my Dad who is the E.S.D.A. Coordinator for our town. My call sign, KC9VZR, is proudly displayed on my special Ham Radio license plates for my car. As one of the few women “hammers,” I am excited to learn all that I can so that I will be the best ham possible.
- I have a talent for writing. Many people struggle to find out what their calling is in life. Not me. I was blessed with a talent for writing. When I was little, I used to create my own newspapers with such captivating headlines as “Cinderella to Wed Prince Charming.” I even drew my own “photos.” As I grew, so did my passion for writing. I won two Young Author Awards in grade school for two original short stories that I wrote. I pursued my love of writing in college and earned the Outstanding Journalism Student Award at SIUE in 2006. In 2007, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: Print Journalism. I was fortunate enough to then land a job as an Editor for two newspapers. Poetry has always had a special place in my heart. In 2010, I self-published a book entitled More Than Words, which is a collection of original poetry all about the three stages of love (it is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders). Currently, I am working on my first children’s book entitled Priceless Penny, which chronicles the amazing adoption journey of my tripod dog, Penny. Even if I never become a millionaire, I will still always love to write. There is just something so magical about being able to express yourself with words.
- I love to attend charity walks! I first learned about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s annual Light the Night Walk from a former co-worker (and lymphoma survivor). My Grandmother was diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma in 2010. I became the team captain of Memaw’s Mantel Mashers and lead the way on our first walk that same year. It was truly inspiring to see so much hope and unity. I later attended my first PurpleStride walk for pancreatic cancer and soon found myself the captain of Leonard’s Legion. When my Dad was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, I signed up to be the captain of Gene’s Gladiators for the ADA’s annual Step Out Walk. My love for charities also extends to animal causes such as: Bark in the Park, Celebrate Spot, Races for Rescues and the Canine Carnival. I wear seven rubber bracelets on my left wrist every day to show my support for these amazing causes that are close to my heart. I hope to inspire others to become involved because together, we can change the world.
- I have my own style. I love to create different looks by wearing funky jewelry and makeup. My favorite pieces of jewelry are made by Betsey Johnson. She is so creative! I also love how she incorporates animals in almost all of her works. When it comes to makeup, I am not shy. I will wear eye shadow in purple, teal, gold, etc. And I top it all off by wearing Keds in a matching color! I own over 22 pairs of these fabulous shoes. While I get some strange looks for my bold statement, I typically receive compliments for not only having matching jewelry and makeup, but shoes as well. Even my winter coat is a vibrant orange color. Why would I want to wear just black and white when the world is filled with a rainbow of options?
- Exercising is essential to my life. From the moment I bought my first Jillian Michaels DVD, I was hooked. I was vastly out of shape, but noticed that the more I did her workouts, the stronger I became. I eagerly gobbled up her new releases and was surprised at how I was able to master the routines in a matter of days. While I am nowhere near perfect, I am much fitter and stronger. Now, exercising has become a part of my daily routine. I work out five days a week. In discovering a healthier me, I have inspired members of my own family to become proactive about their health.
Like a diamond, I am multifaceted. When I am being true to myself, I shine. What makes you glow?