What is Obvious?

About a year ago, I was up in Sacramento for a dance competition with Kurt. I happen to have a gift certificate for Chili’s in my purse, so we decided to find the one my Google search said was nearby (how did we ever live without the internet?). We drove to the area, and saw a Chili’s sign. Perfect!

Chili's Logo

Well, the only problem was that there was no Chili’s in that strip mall, or the next, or anywhere on that street. We finally did find it, down a side road and a couple strip malls over.

At dinner, we discussed the placement of the Chili’s sign. There was no arrow pointing people in the right direction, no indication the restaurant wasn’t directly under the sign.  It basically was a “general area” kind of sign. Not particularly useful, but it gave hope that we were close.

Kurt grinned and said, “Your brain is like that Chili’s sign,” and then explained that it doesn’t go where expected. He is so right!

I’ve known mind has seemed to work differently than other people’s my entire life. To qualify for Honors English my Freshman year of high school, we had to write a sample essay. The prompt was “Who most influenced your view of the world?”  I found out later that most people chose their parents or other relatives. My answer: Bruce Jenner. This was less than a year after the Los Angeles Olympics, and I was obsessed with the history of the games.  I had just finished a biography on the legendary triathlete (back when he was known for his athletics and not his spouse or bad plastic surgery!), so that was fresh on my mind, and I was trying to absorb all the lessons I had learned.  In talking to the teacher much later, he said that it was my subject matter and not the quality of my writing that made him select me for the class. Using someone I knew never even crossed my mind.  Thank goodness for that!

To this day Kurt uses another example when training new dance instructors to expect the unexpected. One day in training, after taking a step to the side, Kurt asks, “Tammy, in what direction are we moving?” My answer was the only one to come to mind, “Forward.” In his brain, we had so obviously taken a step to the side, he couldn’t see how I could view it in any other way. I truly perplexed him. Meanwhile, the people pleaser part of me was freaking out. I gave the only answer that made sense to me. Finally Kurt asked me to explain how I came up with my direction. “We are moving forward along line of dance.”  The fact that we were going sideways didn’t affect my feeling of “forwardness”.

Yes, if you were wondering, it is a little scary inside my brain. Conventional “obvious” is anything but to me, and my “obvious” is stunningly creative (or just downright confusing) to others. Now if I could only figure out a way to harness my uniqueness for good!

In what ways do you see things different than “normal”? Have you been able to capitalize on your unique qualities?

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