Remember that episode of Sesame Street when Big Bird sang “One of These Things (is Not Like the Others)”? In the segment, Big Bird has four bowls of bird seed, with one of the bowls being noticeably larger in size than the other three. He encourages the audience to play along with him in figuring out which bowl is “not like the others” and eventually points out the biggest bowl.

Ever find yourself feeling like that big bowl?

Most people have at some point in their lives, and if you’re Latina, you probably know this feeling well.

And it doesn’t just exist in one area of your life. You can feel “other” just about anywhere you go. From the coffee shop to the family cookout, divisive comments and dirty looks often follow you, with even the strongest women buckling under the weight of constantly feeling out of place.  

From your hair, shape, and skin color to the way you speak, dress, and carry yourself through everyday life, the environments you find yourself are often void of those you can outwardly relate to. And just when you manage to forget your “otherness,” someone eventually swoops in with an unwarranted opinion, reminding you not to get too comfortable.

Whether it be by looks, language, or interests, feeling separate from those around you can be a major struggle, but it doesn’t have to be.  It’s often the most isolating moments that can serve as fuel to help improve the lives of ‘other’ others while simultaneously healing ourselves.

Using feelings of being “other” as an opportunity to challenge your perspective and embrace the intersections of your identity is a great way to promote self-healing and love. You can do this by spreading positive messages on your social media, being mindful of the ways you talk and think about yourself, and get actively involved in causes that validate this kind of perspective (like LMNM).

Rather than letting negative experiences define your life, you can lean into them by owning all the parts of yourself that make you stick out, even if you haven’t made peace with them. Having this in your back pocket, the next time someone reminds you that you’re the big bowl, remember the power in embracing your otherness. After all, even Big Bird admitted that the big bowl was simply acting as dessert.

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