This past weekend I heard photographer and 2011 Farnsworth Museum "Maine in America" award recipient Paul Caponigro suggest that he often felt as if he was not from this planet: as if he had been dropped off here inadvertently, on the way to his true extra-terrestrial home.
Many of us have the sense that we were not meant for this world.
A strange notion it is, to be sure.
In my blog post, "Duckling," I mentioned that my mother once told me, "You are not like us Earthlings."
I must admit, I have to agree with the woman.
I am oddly drawn to experiences that seem to escape others. I know things--feel things--with an acuity that leaves others puzzled.
Having heard Paul Caponigro say something similar about himself, at least I know I am not alone. Comforting this is.
Comforting it is to know that others exist courageously in a world that does not fit them well. That others, rather than shying away from the discomfort this might cause them, chose instead to "bloom where they are planted."
And some, such as Paul Caponigro, bloom ferociously and wondrously. Bloom with such amazing fervor that the rest of us--Earthlings and non-Earthlings alike--can't help but take notice.
We can't help but wish to bloom ferociously and wondrously ourselves, where we are planted, rather than where we believe we were supposed to have grown.
Wishing, of course, is only the first step. Wishing must be followed by wanting, and wanting must be followed by willingness to work, and change, and grow.
Which can be painful (growth, that is), in the extreme. Especially when the growth is occurring on seemingly foreign soil.
Not only painful, but lonely. Some days we may feel ourselves yearning for the company of those from our own planets. Beings who might understand us; welcome our unique gifts.
Some days we may feel like running away. Escaping. Hiding.
We may feel discouraged. Overwhelmed. Exhausted.
Tired of trying to act like the Earthlings.
Tired of trying to fit in.
That is when it is most important to keep blooming.
Ferociously and wondrously, like our fellow non-Earthling Paul Caponigro.
Wherever it is that we find ourselves.
Wherever it is that we are.
Camden (Maine), June 2011