Thursday, May 01, 2014

God's Snowflake

I was waxing poetic the other day, as I am wont to do from time to time, pondering possible subjects for this blog. As always, I focused most strongly on myself, and considered doing a steeped-in-humility one about just how very special I am. Smugness was about to set in when one of my little mind voices (one of the many traits I share with my series protagonist and alternate-universe me, Dick Hardesty) casually observed, "Yes, you are indeed one of God's snowflakes." I don't know if it was being sarcastic; as with Dick, my mind voices seem to be there mainly to bring me down a peg when I need it, and this little observation was yet another reality check.

I am indeed as unique as a snowflake. But then I epiphanied (it is so a word—the dictionary just left it out) that I am only one of seven billion-plus unique snowflakes. It's been important to me, all my life, to think of myself as being somehow special, to counter the overwhelming evidence presented daily by the world and myself that I am in fact nothing much. This is a reluctant acknowledgement rather than a realization, and long before the epiphany I had often questioned whether I am really as special and unique as I think I am. Logic has always strongly dictated that the answer to that question is a resounding "no." And whereas I carefully chose the word "special" to describe myself, I'm well aware that, in my case, at least, there are any number of other words which could be substituted for it—“strange" or "weird" being among the more charitable. 

People with self esteem issues, among whom I of course number myself, seem to have a very real need to think of themselves as special as a shield against the world. For me, it validates the feelings I have had since I was very small—and I will take validation anywhere I can find it. Of course to feel special is more than a little frightening, in that it isolates me even more than I already am from others. Ours is a species which finds comfort in belonging, and part of my feeling special stems from my need to compensate for the feeling of never belonging. Being special enables me to choose with whom I am close, thereby lessening the sting of being the last kid chosen when sides were picked for games. Largely, I have chosen the ones to whom I feel close: family, a few good friends. But in almost any large group of strangers I am very much aware of being an outsider, and it is not a comfortable sensation.

I'm quite sure that having been gay from such an early age undoubtedly underlies these feelings. I, and all homosexuals, live in a world of heterosexuals, and with majority comes power and arrogance. Heterosexuals, consciously or subconsciously, simply assume superiority over those who are not heterosexual, and never let anyone forget who rules the roost.  Yet though I have been, since the age of five, overwhelmed, battered, inundated, and all but drowned in a raging, roaring sea of heterosexuals, to this day I do not understand them, just as many of them do not understand me. But then, since they are the vast majority, they don't have to understand me.

One of the negative aspects of feeling special is the realization that if I were indeed as different as I think I am, I'd be better able to control those things over which I have no control: time, for example.  I have always had an obsession with time. I am always excruciatingly aware of its passing and that, much as I may deny it, my days, like everyone's, are numbered, and one day time will cease for me. Therefore every second when I am not doing something I consider constructive is one I consider wasted. As the past piles up higher and higher behind me, containing more and more of the people and things which were so fundamental a part of my existence, I become more and more frantic. (Listening, as I am at the moment, to music from my childhood, only acerbates the feeling.) Nearly every time I play computer solitaire, as I was just doing, I become increasingly aware that the moments I spend on it were lost forever, and I had to stop playing and begin writing this. 

So I totally ignore the fact that I am only one snowflake among a blizzard of others, and concentrate on the unarguable fact that I am indeed unique and therefore special.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

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