"I never dreamed of so much happiness when I was the ugly duckling."
—Hans Christian Andersen
The ugly duckling was not really ugly at all, he was just different. The other ducks teased and pecked and even bit him until the ugly duckling flew away. He wandered around for a year, and was treated as an outcast everywhere. In the spring, he saw a group of swans on a lake, and wanted very much to join them. As he swam out toward them, he was astounded to notice his reflection in the water--he was a swan! The other swans welcomed him warmly, and found him to be beautiful.
Most of us go through times when we feel different from those around us. These are painful and lonely times, but it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with us. Like the ugly duckling, we will come into a time when we will be loved. All the pain and loneliness we have felt will help us fully appreciate the acceptance when we find it.
How can I treasure the ways I am different from others today?
Growing up in Alexander City, Al. I always knew I was different. Different isn't really accepted there. When I was younger, the more different I felt, the more I tried to fit in. There finally came a day when I decided that if I was going to be an outsider... I was really going to be an outsider.
I considered my behavior eccentric. Most considered it erratic. That mode of thinking diminished a bit when I started working for a camp run by Easter Seals. Not only did I work with people from all over the country, but from all over the world. I found that I got on better with people from other states and with the internationals. I'd found some level of acceptance.
So I was happier with my life. Why did I become an alcoholic? Well. The behaviors that I developed over many years had already put me on a straight track for that. Alcoholism would rear its ugly head soon enough.
When my friend Cheese and my brother pulled a U-Haul up into my dad's yard getting ready to move to Atlanta, they asked if I wanted to come with them. That was my "Now or Never" moment. Of course I said, "Hell yeah!"
I got there, found a job, was married not too long after that. Moved to Nashville. Got a divorce. Moved to Anchorage. Found my niche as a true party-boy. Using Alaska as a home base, I traveled quite a bit. Solidified my role as a true addict. Moved to Maui and became a beach bum for about seven months. Fun, but not necessarily proud of it. Then here to New Orleans where I decided I would finally try and settle down. It's been a serious, rough transition, and I failed quite a few times.
I rode alot of coattails to do what I did. But not always. I have, however, taken advantage of A LOT OF PEOPLE in my life for my own selfish pursuits.
So there ya go. I was an ugly duckling in a mud puddle. It took me crossing the street to find the lake. It's been a long, hard, glorious road. I'd be lying (even in my sobriety) if I said I regretted all of it.
My thought, tonight, is that I hope you are feeling like the swan. No matter what you had to go through to get there.
Sleep well and have a blessed day tomorrow.
This guy is actually pretty cute!