Once upon a time, there lived a little girl in a small, desolated valley. She had a beautiful cottage in the woods, the huge windows of the cottage gave a rather magnificent view of what lay around her. The valley was unlike any you may have ever known. A beautiful stream flew through it with plenty of fishes swimming by, the jungle that surrounded the valley was so thick there was no way of penetrating through it. You may think the little girl was sad, but she wasn’t. She had friends in the valley, there were dogs, cats, rabbits and deer, little cuckoos that sung through the day, sparrows that chirped endlessly, squirrels that came down the trees and ran around. The girl had the ability to talk to all her animal friends, and together they lived in their perfect, little world. The little girl loved to watch the rising sun every morning, it filled her with brilliant, new hope each day. And the nights? She loved to lay down on the cool grass and stare at the stars, dreaming about everything from the first humans that had walked this planet to the mermaids that lived in the deep sea, the unicorns that ran across a magical land and that icy castle which lay in an unknown land somewhere. The valley wasn’t connected to the outside world, so it was safe to say it was a small, perfect world she lived in.
One day, a little boy somehow made his way into that valley. All day, he watched the little girl go about her chores. He watched her bake bread in the open oven, he watched her pluck apples and berries from the trees. He watched her have a party with the animals, he watched her go to sleep under the starry sky. Strange, he thought. He noticed she didn’t have a cellphone, or a laptop, oh god, there was no electricity in the place! How did she live here in the wilderness?! He decided to befriend her.
The next day, he walked up to her and introduced himself. Hi, I am Ordinary, he said. Hello Ordinary, I am Special, she said. That’s an odd name, Ordinary said. I don’t know, I have had it ever since I know, she shrugged her shoulders. The entire day, the boy showed her his comic books, his iphone, his Mac and all the video games he had with him. She introduced him to her animal friends, and offered him orange juice and apple salad. That night, she told him about the constellations, and pointed some of those out in the star-lit sky. The boy was bored beyond words. He couldn’t understand how the girl and her animal friends had endless conversations about everything from history, art, geography, to something as simple as how bright the day was. He invited her to his world, You will love it, he said. I would love a trip, said she. So, together they set out for his home across the mountains the next day.
She was surprised to see so many people! People in cars, people in their homes, people shopping, people eating so many different types of food! But no one seemed to look at her. Everyone was too busy with the things they called phones. The boy took her to dinner that night, and introduced her to all his friends. They were wonderful people, she thought. But they were all too busy with their phones too, taking pictures, posting them to a place called online.
So who lives there, in this place called online? she asked curiously. Who lives there? No one. These are websites, and people see what we post there, you know.
What’s a website? she asked again, growing more curious by the hour.
Just consider it something that lets us see what others are up to.
Is this the only way you people converse? But then, what do you talk about?
We don’t need to talk, these pictures are enough to let people know what we are doing, who we are with, what we are eating, look, you can even tell them what you are feeling, this button right here.
You can tell others about your feelings with a button?
Of course we can! How else will you tell them what you feel? This is the only way.
I see that you have just posted you are feeling “awesome”. Are you really feeling that?
I don’t know. I usually post “awesome” when I am hanging out with my friends. That’s what everyone posts it as. Aren’t you feeling “awesome” right now?
To be very honest, no. I am confused, bewildered, amazed, and a little bit of something I have never felt before. It’s like the world around me is getting smaller. . .and I can’t see what lies around me anymore. It’s growing dark, lit by your phone screens only. I can’t see people’s faces. I am not able to think anymore. How do I write this feeling with that button? Does it have an option to write it all?
You can’t possibly feel so many things at the same time. You are crazy. It’s either “awesome” or it’s not.
The little boy asked the girl to stay on some more days there. No one wanted to call her Special. Too absurd, they said. So they named her Ordinary. Everyday Ordinary and Ordinary went to school, did their homework, mugged up things to write in the exam, had their food at the table, and went to sleep in their bedrooms.
Years went by. Ordinary wasn’t a little girl anymore. She now had a job, drove a car and had a beautiful apartment in the town. Everyday, she would meet Ordinary, the little boy who had grown up to be a man now. She said hello to her boss, Ordinary. People really didn’t like her because she was weird. She always appeared lost. Not lost on her phone, just lost. She had few friends.
She didn’t find beauty in the rising sun anymore, she forgot to look at the stars. One day, she went camping with her friends Ordinary and Ordinary. Somehow. the woods felt familiar to her, and she decided to take a stroll alone. She wandered off in the woods, and came by a cottage in the clearance. Suddenly, she remembered it! It used to be her home years ago. When she turned around to see if any of her friends had followed her, she didn’t see anyone. She felt uncomfortable here, all alone. She wanted to go back but she realized she had lost her way back.
What do I do now? How can I live here? She thought. She noticed some animals around her, they were quiet, as if studying her silently. Suddenly, one of the rabbits said, Hey there, Special. It’s good to have you back!
You have made a mistake. My name is Ordinary.
Is it now? Remember us having a good time years ago? And then you left us here. . .
I was gone on a holiday and. . .oh no, I stayed back.
And now you have a new name. . .but it’s still you. Please don’t go away. We will all live happily ever after, like we once did, once upon a time.
But we don’t have anything to survive here. No shopping complexes, no makeup, no clothes,no shoes, no laptops, or cellphones. or. . .
What are those? We never needed all that to live. We still don’t.
But then, how will we talk? How will you know what I have done all day if I don’t post it for you to see online, how will you know how I am feeling unless I post it too?
You don’t need to post anything, Special. You talk to us, the way you always did. And we look into your eyes and know how you feel, just like we always did. Please stay?
But what about my job? What about getting ahead with my career? What about my dream?
What is your dream?
To earn enough to live freely someday, not having anyone tell me how to enjoy myself, enjoy my life. To build a house in the woods and sit calmly without anyone telling me to rush. To live a simple life and gaze at the stars, but I must earn first, excel at my job.
What happens if you don’t excel at your job?
Ordinary at the office gets my position. I don’t want Ordinary replacing me.
Ordinary replaces Ordinary. What’s the big deal?
But I am Special, how can Ordinary replace me?!
So you agree you are Special?
I. . .I. . .I don’t know. I am different than Ordinary at the office.
Then you must be Special.
I guess I am. . .
Then stay. You have your cottage, you have your stars, you have the job to live freely and calmly here. And you have us all to take care of you, like we always did. Please stay? But first, we must ensure no Ordinary comes and gets you again.
But what do we do?
We build a wall, and a wall we must build. We must cast a spell on the trees to hide our world, so no Ordinary can come claim it from us. Yes!
Yes! We must do it!
So they got down and built the perfect magical wall to keep all the Ordinary people out. And they watched the stars, found inspiration with the rising sun, laughed and talked like no one else had ever done. Their magical world stayed hidden, and they all lived happily ever after.
I hope you enjoyed my story. I feel so much better now, now that I have managed to write it down. This story expresses my state of mind at the moment, making me wonder the futility of this life I am living. And I know that deep down, you feel the same too. You feel ordinary because you have forgotten what it felt to be special anymore. You want to fit in, you want to be accepted by the ordinary lot out there, so you become one of them, forgetting your abilities, your unique way to see the world. This is what happens to everyone, you say in your head. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
The problem with this world is that there are too many ordinary people around, and too few special ones to make you realize you are special in your own way, that you need to find your calling than run after what everyone else is running for, do what everyone else is doing and think the way others are thinking. Everyone who is anyone will always tell you to become one of them. Why? It’s convenient that way, it doesn’t take too much to deal with someone similar to them, that’s why. But because you are you, you mustn’t do that. It takes nothing to be one of them, and everything to be you.
Do take a look at your life today, and know who you are. Don’t listen to what everyone else tells you to do, don’t be what they want you to be, listen to that voice inside you, the one you always tend to ignore.
I believe I have found my way back to be Special again, and I hope you will too! Good luck!