Your differences are not defects

I was nineteen and in my first year at university.
This was the end of just another night.
The door of my little single room closed behind me and,
locked in the safety of its walls
I slumped, slowly
to the floor
and sobbed.
When there was nothing left 
but a dry crust of salt around my eyes
I slept, exhausted 
from another day confused by life
and my place within it I couldn’t seem to find.
I’d gone along, as I always did
to the club where ‘everyone went’.
Awkward, I stood
with a drink in my hand I didn’t want
but too afraid to be without the comfort of something 
to hold on to.
As if that glass might somehow save me from the night.
Too much noise.
Too many people.
I didn’t dare dance.
But still,
I stood
and smiled
and nodded in false understanding when someone screamed something in my ear.
Ears that would later ring into the empty night.
My tears were ones of confusion, self-loathing 
and anger at life.
I had never been told
I had never learned
that my differences weren’t defects 
but divine gifts
when properly understood 
could be used for unimaginable good.
I had never even known my differences as differences 
only this pervasive sadness
and feeling of being
A decade more would need to pass before,
I would begin to understand 
and I would learn
slowly slowly 
to give myself the permission others hadn’t known to offer
that it was ok
and also desirable
to be myself.
To love the quiet
and the solitude
and the hours of reflection and seeking
always wanting to go deeper into this mystery of life.
I have only ever longed
to be myself
and to share the world as I see and feel it
extending a hand as I travel to all those who are yet to know 
that their differences are not defects
but divine gifts 
when properly understood 
can be used for unimaginable good.

Love and courage,