When I was little my Grandmother took me to see a doctor. He wasn’t your typical white coat, stethoscope-hanging-around his neck, clipboard-in-hand doctor. Actually he wasn’t a doctor at all. In fact, I’ve never really met him face-to-face and he’s never met me, although I do check-in with him as often as possible. His last name is Geisel, first name Theodor, but he doesn’t go by either. He goes by Dr. Seuss.
Like most other preschoolers I learned to read with flashcards, ‘Hooked on Phonics,’ and some old wives tale method my grandmothers taught to my parents. After the classic Goodnight Moon, Dr. Seuss’ books were some of the first books I read all by myself and I’ve loved them ever since. I found it fascinating that there was a little creature watching over the forest named the Lorax, animals in a zoo from A to Z, and much to learn from The Sneetches and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss taught me that it was okay to be whimsical and different, rather than fit in. I mean, how many authors do you know who make up words in a rhyming fashion?
As a young kid I was shy, but with a bit of a tomboy streak in me. Just because I was a girl didn’t mean I was going to love floral print and flamboyant pink, although my mother seemed to think otherwise. I enjoyed running through the rain barefoot, squishing, squashing and sloshing through muddy puddles while my Grandmother watched from her sixth floor apartment window and laughed. I liked playing sports even if I wasn’t all that good.
I used to hate it when my family called me weird or crazy, their horrified expressions etched into my head. Now I grin like an idiot, take a deep bow and say, “Why thank you sen-jor! I do what I can!” I pride myself on being an individual even in the most minuscule of ways. Sometimes I even went out of my way just to be so. In elementary school I once tried to convince a boy in my class to change his name because our initials were T.G. and his last name was Griffiths (no relation) — I had to at least try! I don’t go to such extremes anymore, but I still strive to be original and I still hate ‘normal’. Normal is boring.
Dr. Seuss once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” These are words I try to live by every day. At the age of seventeen, I’ve already got my high school graduation present picked out; it’s Dr. Seuss’ last book, Oh, The Places You Will Go! (Along with a few crisp hundred dollar bills.) Personally, I don’t know exactly where my life is headed quite yet. But what I do know is that I will succeed, “98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.”
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”