“I just want to be normal.”
“That’s not normal.”
“Can’t you just be normal?”
Normal. Possibly the most abstract concept in existence.
Normal is ever-changing, elusive and for some, the holy grail of quests. It is also in the eye of the beholder.
By generally accepted definition, it means conforming to a standard, usual, typical, or expected.
Which is fine, if you are describing something like body temperature, white blood cell count or caffeine intake. Then, normal is most certainly something to strive for.
But for the most part, normal is not a word I am awfully fond of, and most certainly not something I strive for. At least, not anymore.
And why would I? My normal is not the same as your normal. Heck, my normal is not the same as my own normal of a few years ago, or, come to that, yesterday. But I spent a lot of energy throughout my life attempting to achieve it before I finally decided it just wasn’t for me.
And who gets to decide what is normal? That’s what I would like to know. THEY do, I suppose. Another of those abstract words we pepper our lives with.
They say this, they say that… they they they. No one ever tells you just whom THEY are.
But THEY influence us daily all the same, those nameless, faceless societal gods.
I had a visit with an old friend yesterday. He and I have been drifting in and out of each other’s lives for 3 decades now. Every few years we arrive in the same spot, try to fill the gaps on what has happened since the last visit, tripping over thoughts and words and never fully managing to complete the pictures.
Neither of us has led what our families might consider a normal life, much, I am sure to their consternation.
And that friendship, those ports in our stormy lives when we happen upon the same spot in space and time, might just be the only normal I have. The one constant that remains steadfast, though neither of our lives truly do.
My point, and I do have one, is that if we were just a little less worried about normal, perhaps we would be a little better to each other in this world.
Perhaps we would not be worrying about who is using what bathroom.
We would not worry about whom is marrying whom.
We would be less afraid of how a person prays or worships, or if they do at all.
Perhaps we would be less judgemental, less violent, less angry.
We might, just might, even look at the world and realize that what should be normal, the only thing that should be normal, is no one on the planet going to bed hungry, cold or afraid. That waking up should not be a moment filled with dread.
That needing help should not be shameful, or impossible to find.
It should not be normal for us to fear one another. It should not be normal for us to try to change each other.
It should not be normal for us to accept dictation from the faceless THEY when it comes to our physique, appearance, standard of dress, gender identity or sexuality.
And it most certainly should not be normal for us to harm one another because of any of those things.
And yet, it is. We have accepted it, in so many ways, as normal. How sad is that?
There is some shift that needs to happen. Some change in our collective normal beings that needs to occur.
I am not sure if that will ever happen. But we can try… one small acceptance at a time.
Whatever ripple of life you are dancing in now is your normal. May it remain a constantly expanding and graceful thing. May your normal include new experiences, more love, more acceptance. May your normal allow you to reach out when you need help, and reach back when others need it.
May you change normal.