It’s hard to grow up with the perception that you are different from everyone else, even if it is not really so. When you do not know much about the outside world, the world inside you can make you sad. “Why am I not like everyone else?” you may wonder.
“Why am I so different?” Thoughts like this can lead to sadness. Even though you try to act happy on the outside, your eyes might give you away.
“You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize It’s hard to take courage…”
There is no way to know that being different is not necessarily wrong when your emotions are telling you otherwise. Worse yet, other people are telling you that different is wrong, even if only in an indirect way.
“Cut it out.”
“Be a man.”
“Why can’t you be more like your brother, cousin, sister, uncle, ____(fill in the blank.)”
“Don’t you like sports?”
“Don’t be a sissy.”
“Only a queer would wear that shirt, pants, shoes, ____(fill in the blank).”
Some seem hard-wired to accept the criticism as they grow up. They look like everything just rolls right off of them. They smile while they hurt. You may think, “Every kid is teased as he grows up. It’s just part of life.” Yes, we all get teased, but some of us are different from the majority … and can’t cope with the teasing.
“In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small…”
At the darkest moment, a rainbow may appear
With a limited view of the world, and lack of experience dealing with the emotions tossed your way, you can feel small, insignificant, different. And different seems bad when you are trying to find your way. What is inside you has dark colors and no glow.
“Dear god,” you may silently cry in the loneliness of a dark room just down the hall from the so-called regular people, “please make me like everyone else.” The prayer might be repeated until you are empty of tears, and they no longer wash down your face.
“But I see your true colors shining through
I see your true colors and that’s why I love you…”
If you are different, but not in a bad or destructive way, you may need someone to reach out and tell you it’s all right. Someone, anyone, needs to explain that different can be okay. You don’t have to be like the majority. Each can possess unique characteristics that make them special, important, creative, fun. And everyone is worthy of love.
“So don’t be afraid to let them show: your true colors…”
Encouragement is needed to let friends, neighbors, and especially young ones know that each has his own gift. We can’t all be the same. We can’t all do the same things. There is nothing wrong with singing a different tune, being a different kind of person. Diversity can be strength. All the pieces can come together to form a perfect picture. When all the colors are put alongside each other, they can bring everyone joy.
“True colors are beautiful like a rainbow.”
If all this seems a bit cryptic, then let’s just say it is tough to grow up different and hiding who you are. The song “True Colors” has taken on a rather symbolic meaning in some circles since it was first recorded by Cyndi Lauper. Contrary to what some belief, it was not written by Lauper and was in fact the only song on her True Colors album she did not have a hand in writing. Nevertheless, it resonated with her and years later she co-founded the True Colors Fund to wipe out LGBT youth homelessness.
John Legend sings this for kids and teachers. You can find a Cyndi Lauper version here.