No Time to Be Normal

Take the entirety of the human race, all of their attributes and quirks and appearances and cultures and nuances. The nerds and the preppy girls. The hipsters and the athletes. Yes, even the nerdy, hipster, preppy girl athletes (I’m sure they exist). Then amalgamate them, all 7 billion of them, into a single individual. It is there that you find that one truly normal individual. Also, he or she is bound to be really lame. And yet most of the world seeks to exist within one standard deviation of that ideal person.

Life becomes about rigid balance, even in relationships.

We are bread to have a default setting of trying to fit in. We seek acceptance from everyone in our life from beginning to end. You may think it’s just a game for high school girls, but that’s just a stereotype formed because it’s the most obvious.

Your parents.
Your friends.
Your teachers.
Your campus social group.
Your coworkers.
Your bosses.
Your church.
Your internet friends.
Your spouse.

These are several groups of people who we try desperately to appear normal with because we don’t want to appear weird or nonconforming. Basically, we care a great deal about what other people think of us. This makes sense, too, because the world has very little place for people who defy expectations. Not fitting in to expected social roles cripples the efficiency of the world, and that’s why people who visibly make the choice to be different must also accept the stigma of being an outcast. It’s hard to make friends when the very idea of a friend is someone you can fit in with. And despite there being some superficial claims that differences are good, being a huge fan of the number one pop artist in the world, or watching the number one science fiction show in the world… well it doesn’t make you different. It makes you “cool.”

When you fight to be cool, you give part of yourself away.

There are entire fields in communication studies about how people try to identify themselves with certain sets of societal norms. There is no place, however, for one to just be his or herself. To be authentic, real, and sincere. To not have to worry about the opinions of all of the people when speaking or making decisions or even just having general interests. It’s thinking before you speak, but instead of worrying about hurting people, you’re worried about hurting yourself and looking like an idiot just because you have a different of opinion.

People, social animals. Social conformity. Social structure.

Somewhere along the way, humans decided that sincerity was a negative attribute instead of a positive one. They decided that people would be better off questing from a default sense of identity to the pursuit of that esteemed normal zone. The zone where everything just makes sense and will carry on as planned. People, not morality, now govern social acceptance, with each person casting 0.0000000142% of the vote. Morals and social norms are two different thing and serve two different purposes. One is worth embracing, the other is worth abandoning.

I am defiantly and obstinately not normal, and will continue to fight for who I am. I believe that we were all created as unique individuals, and we should embrace that difference wholeheartedly. Despite the weapons formed against people deemed socially different, it’s a far better state than living for nothing but social acceptance. Be yourself. Be yourself no matter what. The easiest way to stop letting other tell you who to be is to simply. not. listen.


About the photo: “Who Am I?” There’s really a desperate concern in her eyes. As if she’s had a realization that she needs to rethink something about her life. Alternately, she sees a snake and this picture captures that moment of shock.


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Only in my head can I go from “spend a day with your favorite fictional character” to “the meaning of normal.” I’m only allowed one straight response to the Daily Post prompt a month, and that was yesterday.


 

 

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Matthew Estes

Matthew Estes currently exists in the ether between graudate student and full-time worker. One day he hopes to be a full-time novelist and blogger, but until that day comes he spends his time playing video games, eating pizza, and being with his soon-to-be wife. However, he has yet to do all three at the same time. Bucket list stuff, you know.

One thought on “No Time to Be Normal

  1. About 20 years ago a friend said to me ‘what I like about you is your strangeness’ At the time as a young mother of 4 tinies desperately trying to fit in I was devastated …. I thought I was normal. She caught my expression and said listen to what I said ‘I love your strangeness – no, you aren’t ever going to conform, however hard you try so embrace you and be loved as you. And those that don’t love you – well there’s no room for them in your life’. She was right. And I got happier and happier just being me. Which for me, of course, is normal

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