December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

For someone who thinks accepting a compliment is akin to narcissism, this day’s prompt is going to be hella rough…

I shouldn’t be here. No really, I shouldn’t. There have been a lot of times in my life when the someone holding my fate in their hands mistook me for a cat. I am the walking Left For Dead, and I really shouldn’t be here. My past is a rotting graveyard of cold bones and landmines. I’ve walked through it with less than perfect grace, but I still came through the rust-red gate on the other side.

What makes me different is the fact that I laugh. I still laugh, I can laugh, and I must laugh. I came to a conclusion a few years ago that bitterness and grudges are nothing more than the venom that kills me. And so, I laugh. In fact, I laugh so much that someone recently commented to me that my friends must find me “exasperatingly cheerful”.  Ummm, thanks?

But if I didn’t laugh, what would be the point in any day that I’m still standing? Why not take the time and put the effort into noticing the smallest things that are worthy of gratitude and laughter? I love tin foil, and tree branches, and toenail polish. I love my thesaurus, and my refrigerator. I have sight, a sense of smell, a sense of taste, I can hear, I can walk, and I can communicate. I love and am loved. What more is there?

Too often we walk  by our day, not through it. I tend to look where I’m living, and I see the most beautiful, strangest things. The other day, I saw a cake on the sidewalk. An entire cake, frosted, with sprinkles, and with a few bites out of it. Just a cake, laying there, on the side of the road. The beauty in that comes from how my imagination helps me figure out how that darn cake got there in the first place! And what about that dog strapped onto the back seat of that Harley, barking it’s little furry face off whenever the engine revved? The beauty in that was how the man across the street from me met my eyes and we both laughed together. I shared a moment of absurdity with a total stranger, and it was beautiful.

We miss beauty. I sometimes wonder if beauty gets sad or lonely when people walk by and don’t even notice it. I wonder if it feels abandoned by our speed, and replaced with our impatience. It can be difficult to see beauty in all things, of course, but by focusing on the things that lay hidden under everything else, I live a far happier, and sadly, far more different life than most people I know.

I’m not the beautiful one, but my ability to consciously see lonely beauty is.

So hey, why not just stop and look around once in a while?

You’ll thank yourself for it.