Who gets to define normal?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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