My favorite fairy tale came from a worn book on my grandmother’s bookshelf: “Little Two Eyes” by Grimm Brothers.

LTwo Eyes Title

There was once a woman who had three daughters, of whom the eldest was named ‘One Eye,’ because she had only one eye in the middle of her forehead. The second had two eyes, like other people, and she was called “Two Eyes.’ The youngest had three eyes, two like her second sister, and one in the middle of her forehead, like the eldest, and she bore the name of ‘Three Eyes.’  Now because Little Two Eyes looked just like other people, her mother and sisters could not endure her.

As a 12-year-old, I was fascinated by the story. I couldn’t believe how the mother and sisters shunned Little Two Eyes. I mean, they were the ones that had the freakish features – not Little Two Eyes.

She hadn’t tortured a little brother by tying him up to a clothes line post. She hadn’t perfected “Hello” by Lionel Richie on the piano instead of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.” She hadn’t let the family hamster run free in the house until she eventually was found in a box fan. (Poor Matilda.)

No, Little Two Eye’s family disowned her because she was average.  Because she was ordinary!

Three Eyes

But what made no sense to me as a child makes perfect sense now.

Being “average and ordinary” isn’t exactly a compliment nowadays.

Look around. Everyone wants to be extraordinary.

Everyone wants to sing like Florence And The Machine (probably mostly me). Every girl wants to be Zooey Deschanel (okay, again, probably mostly me). Every mother secretly dreams her child will be the one kid to just pick the tomatoes off of a sandwich instead of requesting a whole new sandwich.

Most of our struggles can be boiled down to us striving to prove to others how different we are from the average – from the ordinary.

If I’m really honest, besides my irrational fear of a surprise shark attack in swimming pools, one of my biggest fears is discovering that nothing stands out about me – that I’m truly average and ordinary. Whether it’s by the size of my home, the brand of my clothes, the model of my car, or taking unseemly pride in my children’s accomplishments, I’ve fallen into the vortex of wanting others to think I am remarkable and extraordinary.

One Eye

But approaching 40 has done something to me. I’m beginning to understand that I don’t have to be “unique” or “exceptional” at everything. I know where my strengths lie (like in knowing when to use “lay” and “lie”). I know where I’m unique. I know where I’m average and ordinary.

And the truth of it is, it’s okay to be average and ordinary sometimes – really, most of the time.

There’s something comforting about knowing I’m not alone in my “averageness.” In fact, some of my most relaxing moments are when I’m using very average public transportation, wearing my ordinary jeans, drinking a yummy but cliché holiday-themed coffee beverage, and humming along to Taylor Swift (there, it’s out there).

More and more I’m becoming comfortable with areas of my life that are “average.” Not because I’m giving up or losing confidence, but because I know that, while in the eternal scheme of things I am small — I am also unique and irreplaceable in the eyes of God, my family, and my friends.

So, yes, some days I’m Three Eyes. Some days, I’m One Eye.

But most days — I’m Little Two Eyes.

And that’s okay. Because she’s the one who displays a generosity of character and lives happily ever after.

Which is pretty exceptional if you ask me.

Castle

For the full text of “One Eye, Two Eyes, and Three Eyes” visit:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Grimm%27s_Household_Tales,_Volume_2/One-Eye,_Two-Eyes,_and_Three-Eyes