My oldest, dearest friend turns 30 today. She is a wonderful human being, a most devoted friend, a woman with fantastic morals and virtues and the Godmother to my son.
When she and I were little, we had a band. You may have heard of it, it got really big in Germany: RJ BEFO
She and I wrote many original songs (some of which were in English), covered Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train” and Elvis Costello’s “The Other Side of Summer” and, most famously, put Shel Silverstein poems to music.
My best friend held each of my babies in the hospital when they were born; she gave both my daughter and my son a Shel Silverstein book to start their collections.
We have been through so much together. Too much to even try to write.
But I want to note that during my hard story she was my rock and a rock star.
She watched my kids for me at 7am so that I could be rushed to the doctor.
She gave me the firm, hard talks that I needed, even when I didn’t know it and when I most definitely didn’t want it.
She was there and I named her my son’s Godmother.
In any case, today, of all days, is a great day to remind all of us to be good to others.
Lately, I have been trying to spread a message to my community and, somehow, the world at large:
And this morning, while browsing through some of the other #ShelSilverstein posts on Instagram, I saw this:
THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING!!
Look around you!
You may feel different, or like an other, but I promise you that you are not alone.
People like to hide their blue skin for many reasons; it is embarrassing; it is different; there may be a stigma attached to it; the package isn’t as pretty. But, as you know, I no longer hide mine.
And, I encourage you to start trying to accept your own. You don’t have to like it, but start, with itty bitty baby steps, and I think that you will recognize that others around you are doing the exact same thing.
And for those of you who may not feel blue-skinned, I implore you to lead with compassion; If you know someone with blue skin, compliment them on their work ethic, their honesty, their friendship; Praise them for getting out of bed that day. They aren’t blue skinned people, they are just people. They are just like you.
My best friend turns 30 today and she reminds me that being different is OK. It is OK that she grew up having curly hair while mine was straight. It is OK that she excelled at sports while I chose to pursue theatre (side story for another day: We were champion badminton partners on the A-Team in 11th grade and I accidentally hit her in the face while serving. UGH. I still feel sick over this.). It is OK that when we are at parties we dance together like crazy maniacs, because we have the most fun when we are laughing together, being ourselves. And sometimes, our blue skin is even showing.
My message today is this:
I am sorry that we live in a world where people tell you to hide your blue skin.
You aren’t just beautiful despite it, but, truly, you are beautiful because of it.
And if you are someone who is uncomfortable with seeing blue-skinned people, then I will tell you what I tell my daughter, who is not yet five years old:
“We are all the same on the inside. We may have differences that make us unique, but inside, we are just people, trying to do our best, wanting to be loved.”
Today, I celebrate my friend
those with bravery
those with compassion
and those who, with hard work and perseverance,
will someday find an other that is no longer an other; You will be each other’s other.
Look around you!