Becoming Comfortable, Being Different

By: Nicole

Being Comfortable, Being
a Different Type of Family

I recently re-watched the Emmy-Award-Winning Ellen DeGeneres in her 2010 HBO special at the Beacon Theatre in NY. This special is hilarious, and also thought provoking in our (meaning society’s) attitudes towards others. At the time of the special, Ellen had only been ‘out’ for a few years and was truly a pioneer for the gay and lesbian community and their supporters.
I have always admired Ellen for so many reasons. Mostly, I love her uniqueness and the way she gives off such a strong sense of being comfortable with herself. Right down to being the voice of Dory, my favorite Nemo character, I think Ellen is really fabulous. The character Dory has an overwhelming number of special gifts including, intuitiveness, thoughtfulness and devotion. When Dory could easily have been labeled as ‘crazy’, by the end of the movie, you appreciate her for the unique fish she is!
If you think about what kids are like in school, often those who are considered ‘different’ can have it tough. Kids can be quite mean to each other sometimes. But, when that child that may have been considered ‘different’ or ‘weird’, grows and matures, she learns to appreciate that her uniqueness is what makes her special. When she learns to truly love herself, what other people think, may no longer matter.
If you have been a single parent, divorced, or re-married, then as Ellen states above, you haven’t necessarily taken the most comfortable path. Following your heart, and making choices that are best for you, might mean that your family is not necessarily that one that you ever planned or expected in life. As a young girl, you might have thought that someday you would marry and have children. What child thinks someday I will marry, have children, divorce and have more children
Recently a friend was talking to me about her third grader and how she yearned to fit in with the “cool girls at school”. We talked about how a mother helps her child feel comfortable with who she is, instead of trying to be like the others. How do we do this as parents? How do we help our kids know that it’s O.K. to be different? This mom is helping her daughter by finding activities that she enjoys out side of school to boost her self esteem. Isn’t this what it’s all about? If you feel good about yourself, and the choices you’ve made, then you can accept being different.

How can we be role models to our children if we stay in a relationship that isn't right of us? How do we make those leaps of faith, no matter how frightening and even if it means a more difficult path? How do we move to the next chapter of our lives, knowing we are making ourselves vulnerable to criticism and judgement?
When I was pregnant with my fourth child, and had been divorced a couple years, I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen since my first marriage. She openly commented in front of my children, “How can you be pregnant? I thought you were divorced?” Like children, adults can say hurtful, stupid things too. (Good thing my 10 year old knew babies could be made without a marriage document!) But her  comment bothered me because my son was there to hear it. Even if as adults we are comfortable with who we are, how have to help our children be comfortable with themselves and the choices we've made that effect them.
When it comes to my own feelings, I am not a third grade girl who can be easily broken, but even adults can hurt each other with words and actions. There will always be people who judge you and your family for the choices you've made, but unless they have walked in your shoes, only you can can be comfortable with what it has taken to be where you are now.


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