What Makes You Different?

Discuss the November 2016 Book of the Month, Roan: The Tales Of Conor Archer by E. R. Barr.
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hsimone
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What Makes You Different?

Post by hsimone »

Conor has a slight deformity called syndactyly. It's essentially a condition in which the fingers and/or toes or wholly or partially connected. Because of this condition, Conor sometimes gets talked about and looked at, which can make him feel uncomfortable.

Can you relate to Roan? Do you have something that may separate you from others? Physical or not? Or perhaps there is something in your family that you have may have resulted in embarrassment if/when talked about?

For me, I think the biggest thing growing up was the fact that I have three older siblings with learning disabilities. My parents, back then, were slightly embarrassed to admit that three of their children had any sort of differences. I think this is due to the stigma from the past. Nowadays, luckily, it isn't the case at all. However, this confused me as a child. So, when a classmate (that I wasn't sure if he teased me because he liked me or he was just a jerk) asked me about one of my sisters potentially being disabled, I became flustered and evaded the question. That led to embarrassment of bringing friends home or talking about my family in general. I was afraid of what people would think of me. When I reached high school, most of that faded away as both my parents and myself became more accepting and less worried. Now, we're good. Growing up in my household has actually led me into teaching children with special needs, so it all worked out well. :)
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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Post by gali »

This classmate of your sure sounds like a jerk, and I am sorry for what you had to go through due to the unkindness of others. It is great that it worked so well for you. Thank you for sharing.

I certainly can relate to Roan, though I don't have any disability. I have a relative, a young boy, which has a mild autism, so I am not a stranger to this.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by rssllue »

The funny thing is that we all have something that we can be stared at for whether we have a disability or not. It really comes down to trying to understand who the person really is inside and not how they look. Also, a little bit of levity in understanding our own importance doesn't hurt either. God doesn't play favorites.
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Post by psychopathycathy »

That's a touching story - good for you and thank you for sharing; I'm sure we can all learn from that!
Personally, I think I was fortunate enough to grow up in a society where people are generally accepting and kind. That's not to say that bullying didn't exist, though, and to be honest I have been on both ends, but I do think I've learned a lot since then.

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Post by hsimone »

Thank you, gali and psychopathycathy, for your kind words. :) Also, thank you for sharing, as well.

That's a good thought, rssllue. You are right, we all have something that makes us different, and it's the understanding that what's on the inside that counts, not the outside. I 100% agree with this. I also agree that God doesn't play favorites.
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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Post by ebeth »

Yes I do however, I am uncomfortable telling people what it is. Mine is very minor, I'm sure people have figured out by now that I have something different about me but just haven't said anything. I come home from work more tired than the normal person because I have to work at hiding my difference from everyone. Also double the work for myself to make sure I do it correctly.
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Post by Janetleighgreen »

I am a klutz, I cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. I was in my mother's womb funny and my feet turn inward and my hips are not level. I wore corrective shoes until I was 14, which was so embarrassing. I was put in dance class when I was 4, until I was 14, this helped some. I began to twirl in 6th grade and did that throughout high school; this helped me tremendously. I had to get my shoes that we wore, for twirling, special made, for the first couple years though because I was still wearing those corrective shoes. Now, that I'm older, I feel the issues in my hip again and it hurts! I'll need to get it looked at soon, I'm sure. Dancing and twirling saved me as a child; those things made me feel less different.

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Post by hsimone »

ebeth wrote:Yes I do however, I am uncomfortable telling people what it is. Mine is very minor, I'm sure people have figured out by now that I have something different about me but just haven't said anything. I come home from work more tired than the normal person because I have to work at hiding my difference from everyone. Also double the work for myself to make sure I do it correctly.
Definitely don't feel obligated in sharing. Thank you for sharing as much as you did, and it's amazing how much persistence you have - you don't let it stop you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Thank you again. :)

-- 05 Nov 2016, 19:56 --
Janetleighgreen wrote:I am a klutz, I cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. I was in my mother's womb funny and my feet turn inward and my hips are not level. I wore corrective shoes until I was 14, which was so embarrassing. I was put in dance class when I was 4, until I was 14, this helped some. I began to twirl in 6th grade and did that throughout high school; this helped me tremendously. I had to get my shoes that we wore, for twirling, special made, for the first couple years though because I was still wearing those corrective shoes. Now, that I'm older, I feel the issues in my hip again and it hurts! I'll need to get it looked at soon, I'm sure. Dancing and twirling saved me as a child; those things made me feel less different.
Wow, thank you for sharing. I'm sorry you're going through some pain now. I wish you the best of luck with it.
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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Post by Swara Sangeet »

I think we are all unique and just as disabled as anyone else. Some people's are physical and some are mental. Some might be shown, others are not. The way we go on with life proves that we can overcome any obstacle.

My heart goes out to the people whose physical or mental disabilities are frowned upon, though it's not their fault. The people who frown upon them definitely have that disability. We are equal and should be treated with equal respect.

Wonderful choice of topic for discussion.

-- 06 Nov 2016, 04:42 --
rssllue wrote:The funny thing is that we all have something that we can be stared at for whether we have a disability or not. It really comes down to trying to understand who the person really is inside and not how they look. Also, a little bit of levity in understanding our own importance doesn't hurt either. God doesn't play favorites.
This is a wonderful way of saying it! I totally agree with you! 'Never judge a book by it's cover', am I right?

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Post by LivreAmour217 »

I've mentioned in other posts that I have Asperger's Syndrome, along with dyscalculia. I'm high functioning enough that most people can't tell, although many have figured out that I'm "off" and will treat me accordingly. Oh, well. I guess you can call it a built-in jerk filter, because truly kind people never seem to care!
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Post by Tami216- »

I agree with everyone here. It's amazingly eye opening to see how people treat others who are deemed so be "different". As I became older I realized this more and more that when people look down on others for things like that it really says more about the person being mean then the one being bullied. The person who is judgmental or a bully obviously has more problems than the person they look down on.
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Post by Camogirl217 »

Depending on your age at the time, he might have just been a curious child that had no experience with disabilities. Kids don't really have a filter when it comes to embarrassing things. I have no doubt it was traumatic for you, though. My classmates teased me for being a redneck from a purely Southern family and the laughing at my expense bothered me. Thank you for sharing!

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Post by Wasif Ahmed »

Fortunately for me I never had to face any of these kind of things. I do know of a few people with similar problems but have never faced them myself.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe »

I'm basically not quite normal. I look fairly normal, and most people think I am, but I have a bit of something "off" that has not yet been categorized or quantified. I have significant troubles fitting in socially. It might be slight Attention Deficit Disorder (no Hyperactivity in there, though). I might have a little bit of autistic tendencies (I have at least one child on the spectrum, but they are both worse than I am). I have never mastered the art of "small talk," largely because I don't understand how it works. I over-analyze everything and am considered to be very logical. I tend to be blunt and tactless. I know these tendencies and work really hard to overcome the socially awkward part, but I haven't mastered that yet either - HA!
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Post by Janetleighgreen »

greenstripedgiraffe wrote:I'm basically not quite normal. I look fairly normal, and most people think I am, but I have a bit of something "off" that has not yet been categorized or quantified. I have significant troubles fitting in socially. It might be slight Attention Deficit Disorder (no Hyperactivity in there, though). I might have a little bit of autistic tendencies (I have at least one child on the spectrum, but they are both worse than I am). I have never mastered the art of "small talk," largely because I don't understand how it works. I over-analyze everything and am considered to be very logical. I tend to be blunt and tactless. I know these tendencies and work really hard to overcome the socially awkward part, but I haven't mastered that yet either - HA!
I think you are lovely just the way you are. I feel there are some positives in being blunt and to the point; you can learn to be more tactful. I'm happy you're a part of our group!

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