Feeling like a zebra in a group of horses

Austin Jones

How does it make you feel to know you are different from others?

By Austin John Jones

You ever feel like a black sheep in a flock of regular sheep?
You ever feel like a zebra in a group of horses?
You ever feel like you know you are the same as everyone else, but you just still feel different from everyone?

Do you feel like you are special? That you standout? That you don’t belong?

I feel this way sometimes. And it makes me sad. And then the realization hits me: I am different, but just how different am I? And how does my being different make other people feel?

I’m not sure I’ve handled this well. I feel pressure and it makes me feel insecure. It sometimes even makes me feel like a failure. Sometimes when I am around a lot of people on the spectrum, I look at them and wonder what I seem like to them or what I seem like to other people. Am I hard to talk to? Is it hard to get my attention? Do they think I am different?

What I always try to remind myself and what everyone tells me is it’s okay to be different, but I’m not sure. It’s nice to hear that from people, but then comes the biggest challenge for people who feel different: believing that it is okay to be different.

I try to talk to a lot of people. They give me good advice, but that doesn’t always do the job. In order for me to believe I can fit in, I just need to be true to myself. I need to be me, but that doesn’t always work for others when I’m in social situations and can’t focus or can’t communicate well or can’t understand when I bother people. I know being different is fine, yet it doesn’t always feel that way.

I am a strong believer in helping others and accepting people for the ways they are, but sometimes I notice that I feel uncomfortable when people are more different than I am. Sometimes when I am around people on the spectrum, I ask myself “is that how I appear to others?” “Are there things I do that really make people uncomfortable?“ I don’t want to make people uncomfortable, but I know I probably do. I don’t want to look at people more different than I am and think about them being different. I just want to help people.

It’s my favorite thing to do for my friends and random strangers — to help them in some way. I know that is a very naive thing to do sometimes, but I believe it is the right thing to do. So what if I am different? So what if I seem strange sometimes? Every day, I try to help at least one person. Because I feel the world will be a better place if I do.

Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t it better to look at that than to look at the fact that I am different?

What do you think? Leave comments below about when you have felt different and how that felt to you and how people treated you. Or comment about when you did a good deed for someone else.


My name is Austin. I am an artist. I am an art teacher. I am a gamer. I am a storyteller and a writer. I love my community, I love my friends and family, and I am on the Autism Spectrum. My favorite game to play with my friends is Magic the Gathering. My favorite video game to play is Spiral Knights. I am a Guild Master of my Spiral Knights Guild: Altosk. I am an avid Hearthstone player.My favorite food to eat is Mexican Food. Specifically Carne Asada Fries and California Burritos. I went to Art Center College of Design for college and graduated with a degree in Illustration.

4 replies on “Feeling like a zebra in a group of horses”
  1. says: Michael Caragiulo

    every person is different in their own special way. For as long as I knew you, I just assumed it was your personality. Spectrum or not, every person is capable of great things, some people just need time to accept that.

  2. says: Judy Levine

    Hi Austin. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on feeling different. Your intention to help someone every day is wonderful and inspiring!

  3. says: Bradley

    Austin – I feel the same way – doing good for others goes a long way – both for myself and for the other person. It can be as simple as the stranger in the elevator today saying a hearty ”good morning” to me or my stopping to help someone pick up their dropped papers from all over the busy sidewalk last week. In both cases it is a reminder we are all in this together.

  4. says: Aida Luna Bacas

    One important thing the world need now is LOVE..a popular song says so. Yes Lord we don’t need another mountains..there are enough to climb..etc.
    The world need YOU for you know how to give love. You help people. You smile.
    You suffer feelings of being different, struggle with the pressure with and from the majority, and yet you continue to LOVE. You are determined to live, to LOVE and LOVE again.
    God is love and you know Him so well ..Deo gratias!

Comments are closed.