This is a post I've been sitting on for a while, and it begins a lot darker and more negative than most of my work. After some really great chats with a wonderful client, I felt it was the right time to share it, because holding onto frustration like this does no one any good. So many of us aspire to find our place; to be accepted for who and what we are; to be "normal". Well, in breaking form a bit, I'll use some rather harsh language -- f*ck normal.
Normality, like so many other concepts, is simply a construct of society. A group of similarly-minded individuals get together and decide that, in order to fit in and be accepted, everyone has to think/act/believe as they do. We've seen it throughout our history; and we know that history is written by the victors, so once again, we're left with a group of individuals deciding how things are and ought to be.
Society uses the concept of "normal" to label and identify its members into groups that we can understand. Anyone blurring those lines or sitting outside the accepted boundaries is considered abnormal -- whether by gender, colour, creed, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, learning (dis)ability, and so on. Society treats those considered "abnormal" as outcasts -- deficient in some manner or capacity -- and then so ignominiously attempts to "help" them in becoming as close to normal as they can get. The level of audacity and intolerance is, frankly, absurd.
This isn't all doom and gloom, however, and it's here where things take a massive turn to the bright side. The concept of "normal" is just an idea -- and in its current form, an incredibly outdated one. It's also entirely subjective; "normal" is different for every person. Every one of us is incredibly gifted, beautiful, and amazing in our own special ways, and not for one second do any of them fit under the category of "normal". Our uniqueness and individuality is something to celebrate, rather than malign and stifle because of fear and lack of understanding.
Today I'm proud to be a quirky, socially awkward goofball, even though these very aspects left me open to countless acts of bullying throughout my life. Back then, I wanted nothing more than to be "normal", but couldn't ever figure out how. And that's because "normal" doesn't really exist. We fear and attack that which we do not understand or find different, because it creates uncertainty within us. That small-minded approach creates so much pain and suffering between all of the incredible beings we are, and spits in the face of how we are all truly connected.
Too much time has been spent working to build normalcy, and too much pain has been experienced in its pursuit. I say we fully embrace who we are, and not let society's version of "normal" keep us constrained. In fact, let's blow up the whole notion of "normal", and live who we are unapologetically, and without contempt. Your "learning disability" is actually a gift -- you experience the world in a way or on a plane that so many of us aren't able to; your sexual orientation has no impact on your ability to love and be loved; and the colour of your skin does not put you in some tier-based system of "I'm better than you". Now, carrying this attitude does not mean that you won't face criticism and judgement from society at-large. Too many hold onto these ideals too closely and too fiercely to not succumb to their negativity. However, if we can begin by letting go of the concept of "normal" in ourselves, and truly embrace our own incredible beauty, then that is an amazing first step. When enough of us carry this open-minded approach to the world, perhaps enough voices can be raised to decide on a new "normal" -- or get rid of the concept entirely.