Saturday, March 21, 2009

I am Unique

I am unique.

When I meet new people, I remember them by colors. With a rare sensory condition called synesthesia,

my brain blends sounds with colors and even tastes. Susan Gaidos explains on,

"Synesthetes do not actively think about their perceptions — they just happen. Some synesthetes report

that they see such colors internally, in 'the mind's eye.' " Across the room from me, Brooke is a richer-

than-navy blue, and Ryan is saturated in a bold hunter green. Beside me, Michelle stands out in

a deep purple, and Sam hints at a light but striking yellow. Mr. Harrison is a dusky, sparkling charcoal.

People often define me as a freak when I describe emotions or numbersAdd Image in color, such as, "that tastes

blue!" or, "I feel burnt orange right now". As a result, I rarely share my condition with people. However,

if I don’t tell anyone, my ‘true colors’ never shine through.

I am unique. I have immense terror at tipping over backwards. If I am sitting in a chair, all four legs must

be on the ground. One day my boyfriend teasingly pulled my chair back so that the front legs left the

ground. After I flipped off the chair in panic, I attacked him in self defense. He never repeated that

mistake again. Other than that, not much scares me. I used to be scared of rejection, but once I was

confronted with a case of rejection that brought me face-to-face with death, there is not much left

to fear for me.

There is no one else like me. I spoke my first words in an entire sentence at nine months. I was speaking

fluently from that moment forward. At age three I could read at a lower elementary level. I was so

advanced for my age that my mom was encouraged to homeschool me so I could work at my own pace.

While intellect came easily to me, I was much slower in picking up coordination skills. I have little

awareness of my surroundings even now. As a result, I am quite easily startled; all my guy friends like

this about me, so it is rather to my disadvantage.

I made the world a better place on a November night.

Speaking of November, that is my favorite month because it sounds romantic to me. Where I come

from, November is a month of mystery, when all the leaves are escaping to who knows where, and

the autumn air is still seeping into everyone’s brain, whispering a song of magic and excitement. When

every school closes early because no one wants to miss a moment of sweaters and bonfires, horseback

and hayrides, apples and the last of the pumpkins. No “mild weather today and a blizzard tomorrow”

crap for me. Not in November, this month of bliss.

I am one of a kind. I am a unique blend: Ninety eight percent empathy, two percent rage. I am nine parts

creative to one part graceful. Love and loyalty are my fortes in life. I can run into walls that magically

appear right in front of my face at the last second. My favorite word is ‘pontificate’, and I’d love to

define it for you if you ever want to know. I have sung on stage in front of thousands of people.

I love puppies. Orange juice, with a little pulp, makes me happy. There is no one else like me.

I am unique- just like everyone else. I am one of millions with their own life story, love song, and

one-in-a-million experience. I have walked in the footprints of other humans with every single step I

have ever taken. My abilities were inherited from a seemingly endless bloodline that goes back

through ages. My habits have been picked up from a wide range of people. Every phrase quoted

has been spoken by someone who made an impact in my mind. My beliefs, morals, and priorities

have been influenced by others, whether well-known or unknown to me.

I am bound to an element named oxygen and cannot exist without it. Neither can I live without water.

While I don’t give a thought to my next breath, that very breath depends on air to keep me alive. I

eat on a regular basis, consume fluids frequently, and perform all the functions needed to retain

this life I know little about. Just like everyone else I’ve ever met.

There is a path which I alone must travel. Beside, behind, before, and sometimes crossing my path are

a cardinal number of other paths. Each is traveled by a tired sojourner who will exit the scene in a timely

manner, as must I, making way for fresh, renewed excitement in young blood on a bright path to the

future. In due time, they will see what we see; that there is nothing new under the sun. And so they

will tire as do we, and begin a search for more, taking them...who knows where?

Ecclesiastes 1:3-11 in the New Living Translation of the Bible says, “Generations come and go, but

the Earth never changes… Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Everything is wearisome

beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied…history merely repeats

itself. Nothing is ever truly new. ” Sound like someone finally realized their fate in this mournful


I am but a speck of sand. What is that grain worth to the beach? According to a story of a man and

several million starfish, you have to look on a smaller scale to see the significance of your work. The

point of that story is, while you can’t make a huge difference in the world as a whole, you can

change the lives of others one at a time.

Can you imagine the miracle of you? It is, in fact, unfathomable. How you can be so seemingly

insignificant, and yet such a miracle. And then break it down further, to a lilac for instance. A lilac

flower is a simple extension of the rest of the cluster, which is small in comparison to you and I,

let alone the larger scale of things. So of what use is that lilac bud? Here is my answer: it is a thermo-

dynamic miracle.

Thermo-dynamic miracles happen millions of times in a day. I’d like to explain thermo-dynamic miracles

with a quote from the movie Watchmen, put by Dr. Manhattan: “Thermo-dynamic miracles... events

with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming

gold. I long to observe such a thing. In each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single

egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive;

meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter... Until your mother loves a man she has every

reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was

you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air

to gold... that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermo-dynamic miracle. But the world is so full of

people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... we

gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage

point, as if new, it may still take our breath away. You are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable

beyond dreams; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly.”

In closing, I am certain that if one human were to take his own life at this moment, the world would still

revolve, and life as a whole would go unaffected. But break it down to our own individual paths, and the

paths that cross ours, and consider the ripple effect that our actions have on others. And you will notice

how your life grows more precious with each step you take toward your own identity. Until you find,

perhaps, that inside every shell of a body lies a thermo-dynamic miracle. The world’s cruelty may

break our resolve to be unique, but perhaps we are shattered to free the beautiful diamonds in our


Work Cited:

Gaidos, Susan Copyright 2009.

The Holy Bible: Ecclesiastes. New Living Translation. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2004 Edition.

Watchmen: Zack Snyder. Warner Brothers Pictures, 2009.