Some 35 years ago, while sitting in a doctor’s office, I saw a plaque with the words “How glorious it is, and how painful, to be the exception.” For whatever reason those words touched something in me. I jotted them down and slipped the note into my wallet. Through the years I changed wallets many times, and each time, the note was relocated along with my other important documents..
Fast forward to a few years ago when I was part of a fat quarter exchange at my guild meeting. We each chose a brown paper bag containing a mystery fat quarter with the instruction to use whatever we found in the bag in a quilt to be brought to a future meeting. Unlucky me! My bag contained a kid’s story book panel entitled The Rainbow Zebra. Holy moly, talk about a challenge!
Out of the blue, I remembered the quote from the plaque. Could there be a more perfect example of those words than a rainbow zebra who wanted nothing more than to fit in? Having always lived my life outside the box, the zebra’s story was also mine. That fabric panel that had seemed like such a challenge, combined with those words from so long ago, told my story perfectly. This simple child’s story opened my eyes.
The rainbow zebra’s words read “Oh, why can’t I be striped like you? I want to be black and white, too.” I so wanted that zebra to know that he was exceptional because he was different. I am exceptional because I am different. Being different didn’t make him less of a zebra or me less of a person. I added the words “Revel in your oneness!” as a message to myself.