Last night I sat with seven beautiful men on the patio of a local Tex Mex restaurant. As we chip-ped and salsa-ed our way through overlapping conversations and underlying tensions (brought on by new relationships, old relationship, new-meeting-old relationships, etc.), I enjoyed the view.
I left them to meet E, my singer/songwriter/artista/friend at open mic night at a nearby pub and soon our table was filled with musicians and singers who were each lamenting the lack of opportunities to "just play." As the only non-musician in the conversation, I once again had to smile.
I've become very familiar with the view of the "only." Often I'm the "only" woman at the table . . . the "only" straight at the table . . . the "only" non-musician . . . the "only" Anglo . . . the "only" one who isn't a pastor. And I love this perspective. Can't really say that I'm the proverbial "fly on the wall" because I don't quietly take it all in, with my presence barely noticed. No, you know I'm there. I ask questions, tell my stories, and in so doing connect my "only" worlds.
Offering a perspective outside the norm has become a my pleasure. Frequently, being on the "outside looking in" is seen as a detriment. But not by me. Somehow, I've learned how to be heard and if no one is listening, I've even resorted to sign language!
But the nicest thing about it all is that I've yet to encounter a group where my "only-ness" got in the way. Most folks, it seems, care that you care enough to be there -- not that you look, act, or think like them. Oh yeah . . . and the "only" agenda is that there isn't one.