Who gets to define normal

Seriously. Who sets the standards of “normal”? Who walks around with their little pen scoring out the behaviours that are normal and abnormal? Who defines the set parameters that we should abide by in our societies? Me? You? Society? Local Council? Government?

Who?

I’ve spent a good thirty years of my life trying to figure that question out. I spent my youth trying to fit in with the cool kids. And most of my adulthood too. Because there are cool kids in adulthood too, you watch. Go to work and see who can irrevocably change the dynamic of a setting when they walk into the office, or work area. Watch, as your weaker colleagues flock to them and bend to their will. Taking their opinion over their own. Your colleagues then become extensions of the clan leader, ready to do their bidding.

Mental Health

It’s why Mental Health has taken a ground breaking surge in the UK. Thirty years ago, someone was “just a bit slow” or “weird”, now we have numerous definitions. Autism, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, ADHD, NPD and a ton more. Normality is becoming less and less the status quo. In fact, it’s surprising the amount of people I meet, and start to socialise with that have problems of some sort. And it feels rather warming actually. That I’m not the only one trying to make sense of it all. I’m not the only one with difficult times.

If I’m honest the older I become the less I hear people defining themselves by the tag(s) that they were given and the more they revel in their own individuality. Which is awesome. Perhaps it’s the people that I socialise with constantly. As they say, you are who you socialise with.

I don’t define myself as normal. I don’t define myself as “fucked in the head” as I have been called in the past, numerous times. I define myself as Raymond. A man that celebrates his awesome quirkiness for what it is. And if that offends you, annoys you, or does anything other than make you want to celebrate with me. You know where the door is.

Fitting in

You see. I’ve spent far too much of my life trying to fit in. Trying to fit in with what other people define as normal. And I’ve grown to realise that there are no normal parameters. Normality is everyone’s perspective. What is normal for me isn’t exactly normal for someone else. If you had asked me what normal was 15 years ago I would have told you that going to the pub and celebrating my drunkness and waking up the following day not remembering the night before was normal. And awesome. And I actually believed that everyone thought this way.

That’s not normal for me now. I look back and see a defeated young man, trying to suppress those intensive emotions that he feels everywhere. I hated conflict. I still do. Because when another person feels slightly enraged, I, on the other hand, feel it so intensively that it feels like I’m going to push the button that will cause Armageddon. But that’s just me. And I’ve learned how to control those emotions over the years. How to filter them in a productive way, and not in a fashion that would work negatively against me.

It’s a struggle

And I struggle. Because I’ve learned that in life there is far more grey than there is black and white. I like to judge people by their layers. There are so many layers to people it’s unreal. The introduction of the internet has somehow dampened our grey area monitor. And it has rampantly become one answer, or another -and no meeting each other in between. I’ve had to do that a lot with my Marriage. Meet her in between. Because there are things that we just will not agree on, and we’ve had to come to a compromise. But I find that exciting, right? Diversity is the spice of life. If we agreed on everything life would be dull.

I think we need to take a better stance on the word “normal”. Like when you have a Cancer patient and you tell them, “ah, yeah, sickness with chemotherapy IS normal”, we should say, “Well, it’s normal for you having NPD to experience high feelings of importance” or, “Yeah, I get that. Having Autism can really mess with your emotions. It’s normal. Don’t feel weird”

The word “normal” is entirely subjective, and can be perceived in many ways. So the next time you wave the wagging judgemental finger at people for creating their own version of normality think of the experiences they have gone through to be this way, think of their upbringing, and their social life and so on. See the human behind the face. Recognise that your normal is entirely different. Recognise that because their normal is strange to you that it doesn’t make it wrong, or crazy. It’s just different. And like I say, difference is what makes the world go round.

Note: I’m not excusing criminal acts – there is always choice involved. And people must take responsibility for their actions.

Be awesome

I’m not normal. I’m fucking unique and I love it. So are you.

Stop spending time trying to fit in with other versions of normality and create your own awesomely unique version and rock that damn life.

Thanks for reading: Who gets to define normal

Who gets to define normal
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Copyright 2016 The Relationship Blogger
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I'm a man that's been through the pitfalls and elations of relationships in my ever growing quest to better my knowledge in the human condition. I've been in the game and around the Internet since 1996 and surprisingly I'm still using it today. I've definitely found myself in some weird and wonderful places and I hope to share all of this with you lucky people.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I so get it. I am an Introvert so technically I don’t suffer from Mental Illness but I am different. I spent years trying to fit molds I just didn’t. Our mistakes are just learning curves in our incredible journey!

    • That is SO right. And even when you say that you are an introvert – you categorise yourself into a neat little category. Be you. Be awesome – which I’m sure you totally are 🙂

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed your post I’m personally recovering from depression as a result of social anxiety created by social tags/labels a lot created/inforced in my own brain of course. It’s so refreshing to read a post that’s like ‘Fuck it Here I am, I’m here to stay so if you don’t like it that’s cool you can shop elsewhere’. Thank you very much fro this post it’s very uplifting.

    • Good! That is exactly what it was supposed to do. I hope when you wake up tomorrow you say to the world.. I’m awesome!! And I’m here to stay. Like it, or lump it 🙂

  3. In my opinion, no one is truly “normal”. You’re right, it’s all perspective. What society deems as being normal changes all the time. I’d rather be unique than be just like everyone else. That’s so boring!

  4. Oh my goodness – ‘normal’ how that word haunts me – when I got out of journalism, I retrained with OU and then studied barriers to learning to get a qualification in working with ’emotionally disturbed’ children in schools.

    During my time studying, I had to give a presentation and I chose to do mine on this very subject because ‘normal’ annoys the hell out of me. I called my lecture, the Arrogance and Bad Manners of Labelling. At the end of it, I got huge applause but guess what, when I got out into schools, I found the absolute worst culprits were teachers.

    Labelling anyone who is ‘different’ to the mainstream is just a convenient way to shift responsibility – if I say you are autistic, for example, I don’t need to try and understand you – I will leave that to the people that come in especially to work with you once a week. The rest of the time you can feel alone because I don’t have time to try and understand you.

    I worked in a special unit for awhile where I saw autistic children as young as 7 being completely traumatised as ‘normal’ people (far senior to me) tried to ‘normalise’ their behaviour so they could go back to mainstream schools and be ‘normal’. It is still happening and it is, in my opinion, criminal. I was hounded out because I wanted to embrace differences and work WITH them.

    The bursar at that unit actually joked one day that we should have a slogan above the door, ‘Fit In Or Fuck Off’ – oh yes, hilarious if you are ‘normal’.

    A brilliant post Raymond.

  5. Wow. I knew it was bad in Schools but I actually didn’t know it was THAT bad. But you’re right. A label is essentially a way of ditching any sort of responsibility one has for a child, or an adult for that matter. I have a very centric approach to the way that I work with people – I tailor everything to the way they perceive and process life, rather than trying to get them to fit in with what I see is “correct”

    Absolutely criminal – why they are still operating is beyond me. And you’re right. Totally right. Glad you made a stand for yourself.

  6. […] Through my years growing up I’ve often felt repressed sexually. As I look back and I think about my youth that would be an adequate description of the feelings that were coming to the surface. I mean I had absolutely no idea what I was feeling, only that it was uncomfortable and I didn’t like it. Society had a certain expectancy for me as a man, to act in a certain way. As a young man, I was such a conformist because anything that differed from the general view of normality I was really scared of. […]

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