Friday, September 24

Being Different

I've always been different. It's like I have horns growing out of my forehead. Or a halo floating above me. Or both.

I don't really know how to explain the feeling of being different. I don't even know what it is that makes me different. Being smart, or talented, or having a strong testimony can't be that abnormal - right? And yet finding a group of people who understand me and where I feel like I fit in has been a fruitless search for most of my life.

It's not that I can't find people who love me. I have family, friends, tons of acquaintances and others in my life who would be willing to do anything for me. But understanding me... is a totally different thing. Everyone tells me that I'm different. Everyone. Without fail. Even the people who claim that "everyone is different" and "no one is normal" tell me that I'm an outlier. And among the people who love me and try to understand, I still feel like a stranger.

Here's an example that some of you may have experienced: A few days ago, in the middle of a conversation, someone asked me how I could stay morally clean when urges hit me - specifically, how I could date girls and stop at just kissing. If only he knew. I've never wanted to kiss a girl. Ever. I couldn't understand him. I also knew he wouldn't be able to understand why I had never wanted to kiss a girl, so I left out that part, recited part of "For the Strength of Youth," and talked about how I overcome temptations (not to kiss girls, but temptations nonetheless).

That type of thing happens to me in everything. I have unique viewpoints on calculus, on biology, on music, on religion, on politics, on social structures, on faith, and on everything else in the world. Taken one by one, I can find people who understand and hold the same beliefs. But combined together, I'm just crazy different. I'm an anomaly, an enigma, and an oxymoronic impossibility all rolled into one.

Being different is nice, to a point. It sometimes garners me attention. It means that people notice me instantly and, sometimes, I can make waves and effect lasting change. But being different also brings with it the curse of never fitting in. Never feeling like I'm "one of the crowd" or feeling truly comfortable in a group of friends.

There is one place that I feel like someone understands me. It's in my prayers - whether at my bedside or over meals. The Lord knows me, perfectly, and knows who I was, who I am, and who I can someday become. My goal is to become like Him - and, from that perspective, it doesn't matter if I'm different from everyone else. I just need to follow the counsel of the prophet and the voice of the Spirit. There's nothing wrong with being different as long as I am changing, overcoming the difficulties of mortality, and redefining who I am to come closer to God.

Everyone tells me that being normal is overrated. I don't know. I've never been normal in anything. When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be normal. To have a normal job, live a normal life, and feel like I could fit in with normal people. For better or worse, I don't think it will ever happen. Maybe it's something I need to learn - just one of the facets of my mortality. Whatever the reason, I'll probably always, in every circumstance, among every group of people, be different.


  1. "No more a stranger or a guest,
    but like a child at home."

    We all are strangers far from home. But Christ will come for us, and He will make us whole. His promises are sure, dear brother. Please stay strong, and we will all rejoice together in the kingdom of our Father :)

  2. Paradox: I remember singing that in choir a few years ago. And crying my eyes out... because I knew what it felt like to be a stranger - to be different and estranged and alone. But also because I knew it was true - that someday I would feel accepted and loved, not because I was simply a child of God, but because people knew me, understood me, and loved me for who I had become.

    Thanks for your comment. I'm doing my best to stay strong. It will work out in the end.

  3. This is a great post. I think you are different because you have a work to do for the Lord - you are His hands to those that need to be reached. My son is also "different" - a different "different" than you - but his difference is what makes him special.

    The hard thing about being "different" is that, sometimes, it isolates us. It's then that I am grateful for the comfort of the Spirit and the love of a God who promised to never leave me alone.

  4. Molly: I agree - having different experiences in life enables us to fill different roles in the Kingdom of God. And, while sometimes I feel isolated because of my differences, as I move closer to God, I also move closer to the amazing people who are near Him.

    Thanks for your comment. Welcome to (Gay) Mormon Guy.

  5. Okay, this is going to sound weird, but go with me on this:

    My son LOVES Spongebob. There is an episode where Spongebob decides that he wants to be normal. During the process he loses his pores, his big nose, his squeaky shoes and his annoying voice. But soon, no one likes him anymore because he's not Spongebob he's NORMAL. I think if you were anyone other than who you are you might find the same thing. People like you so much because you are who you are.


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