I take being “Different” as a compliment

…this was one quote I saw so much growing up. The older I got, the more weight it carried.

A couple years ago, I found out my personality type is ENFJ (2-3% of population) and it makes sense as to why I often felt misunderstood.

At 8 years old, My family and I moved to Seattle. As someone born in Houston who spent the previous 6 years of my life in Memphis, you could imagine the culture shock as a child that we endured being born and raised in the South.

I realized instantly that I was one of the few (if not the only) black girls in the school and in that neighborhood for the first 5 years of living there. I couldn’t wait to move back to Memphis because of the lack of representation and feeling out of place.

After a death in the family, we moved back to Memphis and I had to re-familiarize myself with the differences in culture. You’d think being surrounded by so much extended family and so many faces that looked like mine that it’d be easy to reconnect with my other hometown, at least that’s what I thought as a 15 year old.

It took no time for me to miss Seattle! No matter what was done or said I’d often be ridiculed, or my silence was misconstrued by some people. It was at this moment that I learned why my parents were so big on not wanting to return to Memphis initially. I felt more misunderstood in my primary hometown, even being surrounded by so many black people. Looking back, those moments of culture shock helped me better navigate different cultures and appreciate those who are different. But after living a number of places, I realized those who appreciate people who are different and are eager to learn about them as opposed to trying to get them to be like everyone else, are RARE.

I grew to love and appreciate people saying I’m different in some way, regardless of their intent. I take it as a compliment, even if they mean it as an insult. It took years to get to this point….staying quiet and not wasting energy explaining myself to people who misunderstood (especially when some people are committed to it) came with more wisdom and maturity. If that means being considered any form of weird, then so be it. I’M DIFFERENT, and I love it here!

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