Being different is not fun.

At least, that’s what I used to think.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been different. I didn’t go to a regular school, I didn’t wear the clothes that everyone else did, and I didn’t do things the way other people thought they should be done. I’m still like that. As a young woman, I hardly ever wear makeup, I’m more comfortable in a t-shirt, jeans, and five-finger shoes than anything else, and I’m constantly feeling ostracized. I thought that different was bad. And while there is a certain level of fitting in that we all have to do, I’ve learned that trying to fit in completely to society’s mold isn’t worth the fight – and, for me at least, it’s impossible.

I am different.

I will always be different.

And that’s okay.

The truth is, sometimes we don’t end up where we planned to be. That’s also okay. The truth is, having to do things differently is okay. Carrying around a fidget cube with you for emergencies is nothing to be ashamed of. Drinking brain supplements to help you slow down a little is nothing to hide.

SuperMan was different. Whenever I’m having trouble staying focused on a conversation, dealing with hypersensitivity, or can’t calm down enough to complete soccer drills effectively, I just remember that SuperMan had to adjust, too. He wasn’t “normal”, whatever normal is. He had gifts, unique gifts, that allowed him to save lives and change the world, but he had to compensate for the risk that he posed in other situations. Being different, I’ve had to learn that sometimes you have to put on your glasses so as not to accidentally burn your parents with your heat vision. You have to be careful when you hug someone so as not to break them into bits whenever you pull them in for a loving embrace. Sometimes, I have to make sure that I don’t breathe so hard I freeze whatever’s in front of me. Superpowers come with the super side of them, but I, you, me, anyone, can’t be afraid of reigning them in. That’s the sign of true strength, anyways.

Learning how to navigate the world your way is, actually, more fun than you think. As an ADHD brain, I find focus and fun in the struggle of overcoming challenges. Making lead glasses for myself, practicing reigning in my super strength, and practicing my breathing is far more enjoyable than I thought it could be. When my wheels are turning, when my brain is chugging, and I have a reason to keep going, I enjoy it – and I don’t believe that different is bad anymore.

Just because I’m a little different doesn’t make me a little less. And, as I’m finding in quite a few situations, sometimes it makes me a little more.

Different has its benefits. Not to mention, if I wasn’t a little bit different, then who would I be?

Katie Lawrence is a student advocate with a broadening perspective on mental health. With a few ADHD quirks of her own, a highly present anxiety bug, and an understanding that life can get really tough really quick, she’s passionate about giving people words to express their pain, and their desire to reach some higher ground in their lives. Her wish is that through education and help, everyone can live with their disorders, their unique traits, and, consequently, their superpowers.