In Our Differences

Sometimes I find myself staring at…you.

In our differences I find something to look at.  To ask questions about.  To be intrigued about.

Is it rude?  To be intrigued?  To see and notice our differences?

Is it considered discrimination if I recognize that you don’t look like I do?   Or act like I do?  Or think like I do?

Should I be ashamed that because you are different than I am, I want to look, see, learn and understand.

Will your skin color make me look at you?   Maybe.

Will piercings in your face make me look at you?  Maybe.

Will the shape of your eyes make me look at you?  Maybe.

Will your age make me look at you?  Maybe.

Will the people you are with make me look at you?  Maybe.

I don’t look to be rude.  I look to see you.  Catch your eye.  Smile, and share the same space in our passing moment in this world.  When I pass people I speak, I look at them, and hope they return the glance.  I hope I pass someone who sees my spiky silver black hair and thinks….something.   How horrible it would be if we didn’t notice one another.   To be so different and yet go unseen.  If we didn’t (don’t) appreciate our differences.

Is the world satisfied with one kind of flower?

Even in our similarities none of us is the same.

I look at you because you are different.

I see you because you aren’t like me.    If you were like me, it would make my world dull and boring.

I mean no harm being different than you.

And I mean no harm noticing your differences from me.

Take my glance at you as my acceptance and my appreciation of the color and beauty, and difference, you bring to this world.

I would rather look, and wonder, than not notice you.   Your difference attracts my eye, your behavior attracts my attention, your communication of thoughts and ideas attracts my curiosity.  Your acceptance of my differences, and the sharing of our differences, makes us compatible.

And being compatible means we exist together.   Differently.


31 thoughts on “In Our Differences

  1. I often wonder about people who make their appearance very different from others, but then get offended when people stare. That being said I love to people watch. Variety is the spice of life.


    • I love Bill Cosby’s line when he is talking about his children’s complaints etc…. one child complains that the other is “looking at” him/her. His response is “how do you know they’re looking at you if you’re not looking at them?”

      I don’t want to go through life not looking, taking notice. And if you purposefully don’t want to blend in, why be surprised when others look? Smile at them and thank them for noticing you.



  2. half the people I stare at are ones I do d most intriguing, wanting to or wishing I could emulate them in some way. You are correct, I stare in awe, not disdain! Imagine me with piercings all over, tattoos up my arms or a British accent ( hell, maybe all three)
    Love the post smarty pants


  3. Interesting post. Got me wondering about looking, seeing factual differences, and thinking. Do I see differences without judgments? The question someone throws at me, “What are you looking at!?” with an attitude isn’t coming from me but them. The veneer of judgment that colors everything and lends to perspective seems different to me than simply looking and seeing difference, from a place of intelligence. Valuable post, Colleen. Thank you.


    • Thank you Paulette. I sometimes forget about the ‘judgement’ aspect. With a slight grin I tell you that despite my realizing my differences from others, I must remind myself that I share some traits with others. Surely, I too, have applied judgement to who or what I see in my world. I know I have. But it seems the older I get the less I judge what I see, and am completely curious about it. Not that I am “never” judgmental. But less likely now. I look for the stories in them all.


  4. Colleen, there is different ways of looking to and it’s not easy to read the signals at time.
    Why are people looking at me.. because I have something in my face that shouldn’t be there … or because they found me odd … or because they think I’m beautiful or wear something nice. Personal I don’t really care what the reason is – if somebody looks at me I hope they smile on the same time, so I know they are from a friendly camp.


    • That’s the problem, when we look, other’s don’t know if we are friendly or being rude. I smile to show the camp I’m from (loved how you said that). Not everyone smiles back, the majority of them do. If I’m curious enough and the person seems open to conversation I may test the waters. I’m usually very hesitant to invade other’s time, space and thoughts. But I will if it feels right.

      I just love people’s stories.


  5. I think part of what you said can make the difference of being rude or not rude…that is when you said, “I want to look, see, learn and understand.” … I think therein lies part of the difference when we are taking a gander at someone perhaps.

    To look on in disdain or disapproval is one thing…to look on to ‘see’ the person and just be intrigued, whether in passing, or to perhaps form a better bond or understanding is totally different yes?

    *smiles* …a woderful post to get one thnking.


    • Yes, Irish Katie I think you are spot on right! 🙂 I know that a look can imply disdain or disapproval. So true. I know sometimes I have been “looked upon” and assumed what the looker was thinking. I really don’t know. Often I have looked away. And what would have transpired if I had just smiled as well? So many different things could be going on in the minds of others. Which kind of prompted this. Thanks Irish Katie (I just love repeating that.)


  6. Well, I do have an reaction for you… My oldest came home to his mom’s house with…a lip piercing… Perhaps after his wrestling season was over. His mom called me to tell him to take it out – the lip ring or whatever you call it.

    I said one or two sentences to him about per his mom’s instructions (just so I can say I did). He still has it on and he’s 24 years old now. As to the reason for the lip ring, he said back then, “It’s a girl magnet, Pop.”


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