#SATurday: I Am Not Special
Some nights, I do not feel like writing – but, in all honesty, I understand that I do feel like writing. After all, I always do. Even when I “hate” it, I redefine my hate as fighting through a passionate struggle – or I label it with some other momentary expression to explain my lack of love. It is a temporary disconnect, one that always – and undoubtedly – heals. That being said, a contradiction timelessly arises.
What happened to all my passions I disconnected with forever?
Allow me to clarify…I truly believe writing is my all-time passion, my purpose in life, per se, but there have been other activities I have loved and admired and explored and lost. While I’ve always wanted to be a writer, my preschool self wanted to try cheerleading, and my later school years brought basketball, yearbook, photography, track, tennis, gymnastics, a part-time job, and a little club called Goal 0 into my life – all while moving around and writing novels in my free time.
I guess I could call myself an overachiever – at least, at that age – but I never considered myself one. There was always a boy who went to school more than I did or a girl who ran faster or a new kid who had lived in more places than I have.
I’ve never seen myself as special.
Although those six words may sound dreary or in desperate need of some self-confidence training, I don’t read them that way. I look at them backward.
“Special as myself seen never I’ve.” may not make sense, so please allow me to reword it slightly to explain further:
Special as myself, seen never have I.
To me, focusing on oneself too much does not allow us to truly see the world around us. In contrast – because I always love a good contradiction – I believe we must know ourselves before we can help others or the world, but stretching self-knowledge into too much self-importance is where we destroy ourselves and each other.
The ways that make us special are not meant to outshine another person’s unique traits. When I was younger, I did not understand that, so I overcompensated to try to seal a hole in my heart I held toward myself, and some days, I still succumb to this pain. I am human, after all.
During times I consider myself to be overcompensating, I have fleeting but terrifying emotions that consume me. Instead of realizing that I am already helping people, I irrationally desire to become special because I believe that “special” label will finally allow me to help others. In fact, I believe it will be the only way for me to achieve my goals. This is where my soul’s focus is confused. No matter what happens, I now feel as if I am failing, even when I am not, so I continue to push, push, and push forward – often, in the wrong direction – as if it will help, and the longer it continues, the harder I push. This is a breeding ground for overcompensation.
During overcompensation I fail to recognize the destructive nature of this thought-process – how it can deter your focus, warp your goals, and desensitize your true wish that you want to fulfill. In the example above, this happened when I thought being “special” would allow me to help people rather than simply trying to help people.
In writing, we often see this happen in the writer who always talks about writing but never actually writes – and oddly enough, that is how I began this piece, and in reality, that is also how I’m ending it. I am not an exception, I am not perfect, and I am not special. And I am accepting how perfectly okay I am with that.
Being special isn’t about sticking out or labeling someone as unique or even changing the world. It is about fighting every day to be honest about who you truly are while finding the energy to fulfill your life role in whatever way you decide it should be. Whether or not you change the world does not matter in the end.
In the end, the important lesson is not to see yourself as special, but to see the world for what it is and everything we can be every day.
I don’t see myself as special.
I am too focused on seeing the life all around me. Perhaps, it’ll even inspire me to write again.
~SAT on #SATurday
18 thoughts on “#SATurday: I Am Not Special”
You’re one of the most special people I’ve discovered. I wish I was as special as you!
But awkwardMEOW has the most special name out there! 😀
Very interesting approach. We seem to be raised to believe we’re special in some way, so going the ‘opposite’ route is rather intriguing. I guess it prevents ego consuming you and corrupting the things that do make you special. Honestly, I was never made to feel this way even when I was told what my strengths are. So I tend to just think I’m me and the occasional burst of ego is handled poorly.
I know a lot of people who study, discuss, and gloat about their writing skills, but have never written anything more than an outline. They confuse me since they tend to tell me what to do with my books. I always thought it was a subconscious fear of putting their money where their mouths are. It’s so easy to research techniques, talk about story ideas, and claim you’re going to write a book. It’s surprisingly hard to actually take that step and write the first sentence. Most people don’t realize how awkward and clunky that opening can be.
I agree! I think most of us are raised to think we are special, but then, as we get older, I think we start meeting more and more people and the aspects that made us “special” slowly fade away to others, and then, we have this huge moment of disconnect within ourselves when we realize it can’t possibly be true. I found it a difficult lesson to learn as a kid. Looking back on it, though, I am glad I learned it, because I think it was one of the lessons that helped me be the writer who actually puts down a first sentence instead of the theorizing writer that never writes. I also think it helps me stay as a writer. I’ve seen many writers give up just because there are so many writers nowadays, and they feared they would never “stick out”, so to speak, but I don’t believe it’s about ‘sticking out’. It’s about ‘sticking it out’ for the passion you love, and along the way, meet those fellow authors as friends instead of looking at them as competition. It’s too big of a world to label everyone as an enemy.
Not sure I was ever told I was special. For some reason, I was shown early on that there were people ‘better’ than me. So it created a mentality where I wouldn’t really admit my strengths or even notice them. The truth, at least to me, is that everyone has a trait that makes them unique. You lose track of this when everyone is special or you’re told that you’re not.
Very well said about the author sticking it out. We’re too quick to think standing out is the only option, so you have people quit or cause public drama. Ties into the confusion between fame and infamy. One can be good, but the other is inherently negative.
Beautiful contradiction that brings so much light on such a simple concept.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Meghan. :]
I think you’re where I’m at these days in a lot of ways. I have never thought I’m special and I think a lot of mistakes are made by people who falsely believe they are. Nobody is special. We are all just humans struggling to make sense of life and keep moving forward. I’m in the same place as you with writing — I’ve taken a sabbatical from it for a few months and am taking little stabs at starting again now, but still not really feeling it. So, my sabbatical kind of continues as I ponder my lack of specialness and where writing fits in with things.
I think it’s okay to take a break. :] Since writing this two weeks ago, I wrote an outline for a new story, but that’s about it, and I’m okay with that. I enjoyed it when I was writing it, and I am enjoying my break. I’m starting to learn how to enjoy my breaks without feeling guilty or feeling like I’m wasting time.
Thanks for this post Shannon, quite enlightening. I myself am going through a similar struggle. There’s pressure to achieve and to be special, to live up to ones potential, but sometimes striving for goals that aren’t well defined will inevitably cause you do get lost, scattered or disillusioned.
Glad you enjoyed the post so much, Ryan! I agree! I think sometimes the concept of being “special” relates back to living up to ones full potential.
“To me, focusing on oneself too much does not allow us to truly see the world around us. In contrast – because I always love a good contradiction – I believe we must know ourselves before we can help others or the world, but stretching self-knowledge into too much self-importance is where we destroy ourselves and each other.”
Thank you. :] I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Thank you for reading and commenting.
“I am too focused on seeing the life all around me.” I love this. When we can get out of heads, just do what we love without judging ourselves and be present in life, it’s a beautiful thing.
Exactly! We must be present. 🙂
Very thought provoking.. And definitely reflective of myself at times.
It’s as if you looked into my mind and saw what I’ve been thinking recently. Reading your words now is so timely, it’s almost scary. Thank you, Shannon. Now I can be even more okay with who I am.