All of the differences in the world

One of the greatest challenges I (and my daughter) regularly have to negotiate for ourselves is the issue of marginalization. No matter how or why it happens, it's something that we are quite familiar with because it's happened enough to us or it's happened to those we have come to know, connect with, and very much love.

This is because if/when you find yourself marginalized, inevitably, you might find yourself in proximity to others who have experienced the same thing. Being marginalized becomes a common thread that helps draw many seemingly unrelated things together to make a whole of something else.

A friend my daughter made turned up at gymnastics class in the same Target leotard. They were the two smallest in the class and accidentally dressing alike made them feel less small together. 

My daughter (and myself, for that matter), have had to deal with marginalization because of any number of reasons - both readily seen and not quite so apparent. 

Whether it's how tall (we are or aren't), or the lightness or darkness of our skin, or the money/means we do or don't have, or the family members that are or aren't with us, or the languages it seems we should be able to speak but don't - there are plenty of things that have set us apart without us being able to help it at all.

Customized American Girl brand dolls I restyled in order for them to more specifically depict some of my daughter's most treasured friendships. There are not enough dolls that look enough like what we know, so I attended to the issue at hand by taking things a part and putting them back together. 

Every day, as the world (with the lives within it), continues to torque itself into directions and along new paths that I can't even begin to agree with, I do my best to continue to have meaningful conversations with my daughter that will help her to keep being who/what she is despite the push back she might ever come against or be forced to see with her own eyes. 

I know that in the grand scheme of things, no matter what any of us might agree with, it's more likely that we will be forced to deal with what we are left with vs. the things we wish would be or would prefer to have. 

At the National Harbor, my daughter made friends with some kids during a local homeschool meet-up. 

My daughter and I are different than those we have found to be standing next to on common grounds we never thought where we would all be together. The thing that we have found makes it work best is for us to see the differences for all they are and even to celebrate them by saying, "Yes. We are completely different and that's the best part about it." 

The richness of differences that we have been found in others has helped us to see and LEARN things (in the life we do have) so that WE are helped so things are better but never less than what has been where we are. 

I won't say it has been easy or we haven't been fearful of things that have been different as we have timidly endured the repeated process of confronting what is different. 
There have been times that it has been downright painful dealing with the differences.
There have been times when we have been shunned because the differences have ended up dividing us from who/what we thought we shared common ground. 
There have also been times when we have realized that what we had was too much of the same over and over and over again and that isn't good because it's stagnant and ultimately very VERY bad and it even ends up being metaphorically poisonous or even cancerous.  
Nevertheless, I am thankful that learning how to negotiate being marginalized and regularly helping my daughter figure that out has made a world of differences for us.

And that has meant beautiful new beginnings when others would call it anything but. 

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