Why I Can’t Be Normal AND Be Me
June 21, 2018
Ever notice how some things just naturally go together? You know, like peanut butter and jam. Bacon and eggs. Hugs and kisses. And on the flip-side, there’s also stuff that doesn’t go well together. Like oil and water.
Well, here’s an addition to the “doesn’t mix” pile: being normal and being happy.
Call me crazy but I’ve realized I simply can’t be NORMAL and have FUN at the same time. Because being normal has waaaaay too many rules and requirements. And having fun has just one—being ME.
Being me means I get to be real. Sure I have to familiarize myself with my own preferences and desires and that can take some time. But that’s way easier than trying to figure out how to be normal.
Trying to be normal is enough to make a person crazy. Cuz just when you think you’ve got it figured out, you haven’t. Just when you think you’re starting to fit in, you’re outside again.
Because somebody keeps changing the rules. Moving the goal posts. It’s like trying to hit a moving target. So I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison of the two. Being normal vs being me.
But wait! I’m getting ahead of myself.
Simon says, “Take one giant step backwards”.
Before we start we should probably talk about what normal even means.
A quick jaunt over to Dictionary.com (retrieved June 17, 2018) provides us with an official definition of the word “normal”. Here are the 2 pieces most relevant for our purposes.
- conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.
- serving to establish a standard.
Ewwwwwe. It’s uglier than I thought. And it starts with the very first word: conforming. I don’t know about you but all I see is a ball and chain. Does conforming sound fun? Free? Simple? Easy? Or unclear, strict, and kinda torturous?
Ok, let’s carry on.
Conforming to the standard or common type. Ick again. What does that even mean? OK, so somehow I gotta figure out what it means to be common and then be like that. I sure hope there’s a cheat sheet!
Can you see how raised my eyebrows are right now? What part of being normal is natural? Ok, just so this doesn’t get real ugly I’ll limit my rant to just one line. If being normal is natural, how come we have all sorts of folks, families, schools, workplaces, and societies trying to teach us how to act?
If it’s so natural to be normal, shouldn’t it just be like pooping or eating or sleeping? Nobody has to teach us how to do those things.
Yeah, I know. That wasn’t just one line. But it’s just so ridiculous I couldn’t help myself.
On to the next part of the definition of normal:
- approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.
- free from any mental disorder; sane.
HA! HAHA! HA HA HA!
Ok, first let’s talk about “average”. I don’t know about you but do you really wanna be average in anything? I mean, how exciting does that sound?
Let’s have an average ice cream cone, go watch an average movie, and then afterwards we’ll share average jokes over average coffee.
Pretty exciting, huh? The definition states being normal means being average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.
Oh boy. Wanna sign up for that plan? Being normal means we get to be of average intelligence.
So let’s just dumb down to ensure we fit into that category. Or beat ourselves up because we can’t make it into that category.
And we get to have an average personality.
Just watch the door bust open with the rush of people who wanna hang out with Mr and Mrs Average! And haven’t you always dreamed of meeting the Prince or Princess of your dreams and their average personality? Isn’t that the stuff dreams are made of???
Next is average emotional adjustment. Wow. So being normal means adjusting our emotions in an average way. As in, there are rules for how quickly we should be able to adjust our feelings back to something acceptable.
Is it just me or does this sound like a manual for robots? Or, perhaps a way for a society to control it’s members’ emotions so as not to make others feel uncomfortable for too long.
Ok, now for the last part.
Being normal means to be free from any mental disorder; sane.
Aaaaah Ha Ha Haaaaa Ha Ha!
HAHA AAAAAH HA HA HAAAAA HA HA!!!
AAAAAH HA HA HAAAAA HA HA!!!!!
Do you know how hard it is to write when you’re laughing hysterically? Who knew a dictionary could provide so much entertainment value!!!
How do I even address this last part?
First off, I’m obviously NOT normal then. THANK THE GODS!!!
Second, is it any wonder there’s a stigma attached to mental illness? I mean, who would wanna admit they have an illness that’s gonna shove them into the “NOT NORMAL OR SANE” category? It’s written right there in black and white!
Third, take a gander at our “normal” world, full of “normal” folks. Does it seem sane to you???
OMG. Comedians are right. The best material comes straight from life. Cuz you just can’t make this s**t up.
I don’t know about you but normal is exactly what I don’t wanna be. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say the closer I am to “normal”, the more work I have to do to unearth my true nature.
This is so funny because all my life I’ve yearned to be normal. I just wanted to be “like everyone else”. I wanted to “fit in”. I wanted to be in the club. But now I realize the club is what’s been keepin’ me sick. And all my efforts to modify the real me in an effort to be more “normal” has been incredibly damaging.
It makes me wonder why such a huge part of me ever wanted to belong to such an unhealthy group. There’s probably lots of reasons for it.
For starters, there’s biological.
Eons ago, getting bucked from the group would surely mean certain death. So, even though most of us aren’t in that life and death situation today, that innate pull to belong still exists. It’s hard-wired into us.
Another reason I probably had such a strong desire to fit in was because I didn’t grow up with a strong sense of self-worth. So when I observed others who appeared more powerful, popular, and successful, it’s pretty easy to understand why I was drawn to them.
Like a duck to water.
Cuz who wouldn’t want to feel more powerful, more like-able, more everything? So I tried to adopt my self-worth externally—from the outside in. Of course, this was all happening under my radar at the time.
I also likely yearned to be like everyone else because societies value normal. In fact, they reward us for being normal. For fitting in. For following the rules. And so our well-intentioned parents, teachers, and caregivers “socialized” us to be as normal as possible.
Because being “normal” is supposed to give us our best chance for success. It’s supposed to turn us into valuable members of society. That’s the message drilled into our heads. And into our parents’ heads. And our teachers’ heads. And their parents’ heads. And so on, for generations.
But a little dash of insight is a beautiful thing. Because now I know being normal is a poor substitution for the real thing. The real thing, of course, is being ME.
The good news is now I see clearly. Much more clearly.
And I know the secret life of joy is actually not a secret at all. It’s our birthright. Trying to be normal is simply a ticket to misery. Cuz it’s about as real as the tooth fairy riding a purple unicorn.
Thanks but no thanks.
Instead, I’ll continue my work of slowly untangling myself from the tentacles of this insidious beast. Because there’s no time to waste—freedom awaits.
Alrighty. Time to return to the comparison I promised: being normal vs being me.
But first, a disclaimer: I do NOT have this “me” thing ALL figured out. It’s not like I’m me 100% of the time. Not at all.
It’s more like I’m unraveling a big ball of yarn. With lots of threads leading to my inner sparkle. And when I unravel one, I get to experience what it feels like to be more me. And it’s amazing and beautiful and peaceful.
Until I drop the ball—which I do. FREQUENTLY. But the memory of it remains. And it helps me find my way back there again. So here’s some of what I’ve experienced being normal vs being me:
- Normal: Many mornings begin like this: “Auuuuugh!” [Groan]
- Being Me: More mornings begin like this: [Stretch…smile]
- Normal: “I do lots of what I SHOULD do.”
- Being Me: “I do lots of what I WANNA do.”
- Normal: “I absolutely hate cleaning the toilet.”
- Being Me: “🎵la da da dee da…hmm mm hmm mm mmmmm 🎵”
- Normal: “My closet is stuffed and I still don’t have anything to wear.”
- Being Me: “I’m slowly thinning out my closet & replacing clothing until everything I own is a favourite.”
- Normal: “What are other people wearing? Does this look okay?”
- Being Me: “I’m gonna wear this cuz it’s my favourite colour, I love how it feels and it’s super comfy.”
- Normal: “I think carefully about what to say, if I should say it, and how I should say it.”
- Being Me: “I speak from the heart.”
- Normal: “I try not to offend, upset or make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
- Being Me: “I focus on maintaining my own emotional well-being.”
- Normal: “If someone reacts negatively, I did or said something wrong and it’s up to me to fix it.”
- Being Me: “I manage my own reactions and allow others to manage theirs.”
- Normal: “I use multiple personalities to match my environment so I can fit in anywhere. But it’s a secret.”
- Being Me: “I get to be one person—me.”
- Normal: “I secretly feel hurt, rejected, and unworthy if someone doesn’t like or accept me.”
- Being Me: “I’m learning to love who I am.”
- Normal: “I feel selfish when I put myself first.”
- Being Me: “It feels goooood to take care of me.”
- Normal: “Sacrificing makes me feel worthy.”
- Being Me: “I’m learning I’m worthy because I’m me.“
- Normal: “This incessant inner chatter never stops. I can’t control it.”
- Being Me: “I’m slowly learning to quiet the noise and be more present.”
- Normal: “Fear, anger, guilt, anxiety, depression, (etc.) are controlling my life.”
- Being Me: “My feelings are my personal messengers—they warn me when I’m straying too far from the real me.”
- Normal: “My spouse was put on this planet to test the crap outta me.”
- Being Me: “My spouse is simply mirroring my spiritual growth, magnifying what I still need to work on.”
- Normal: “I don’t understand why my spouse does the things he does. Doesn’t he realize...”
- Being Me: “Everyone has the right to pilot their own ship. My spouse is simply exercising his right.”
- Normal: “I suck at creative pursuits. I don’t really have any talents.”
- Being Me: “I had no idea I had this in me! I’m super excited!”
- Normal: “I don’t have time to be creative. I’ll do it when my schedule permits.”
- Being Me: “Being creative is a huge part of who I am and it’s beginning to flow out of me in everything I do.”
- Normal: “I only sing when I’m alone because I don’t have a good voice.”
- Being Me: “I sing when I feel the urge because it feels good.”
- Normal: “I don’t have a calling. Nothing seems to light me up. I guess I’m just not one of those lucky few.”
- Being Me: “I’m no longer pursuing a calling—it’s pursuing me.”
- Normal: “Those people are so selfish for what they did. Do they not have a conscience?”
- Being Me: “My ego wants me to judge others but I’m gonna send’em light and love instead.”
- Normal: “Life’s hard. It sucks.”
- Being Me: “Life is meant to be fun.”
- Normal: “Life happens. I don’t have any control.”
- Being Me: “I’m learning to be guided by what feels good.”
- Normal: “There’s so much hate, violence, and suffering in the world.”
- Being Me: “I’m beginning to see love everywhere.”
So, there it is. A sampling of my experiences being “normal” vs being the real me. Which one do you think sounds better-er-er? And waaaaay more fun? And simpler? And, like the opposite of misery?
It’s no contest. Trying to fit in and be like everybody else is like chasing unhappiness. And who would wanna knowingly do that?
Allowing our inner sparkle to shine is the most loving gift we can give ourselves. And also the most powerful way we can honour our world.
So keep on keepin’ on, my little sparklets. Keep refreshing your intention to do YOU.
Cuz there just ain’t nothin’ more important on your to-do list. And there’s a great big BEAUTIFUL world waiting to meet you...for the FIRST time.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and I’m not a mental health professional. Obviously. I can’t possibly know your full situation so please consult a professional before acting upon information from yourpurpleswan.com. Should you decide to act of your own accord, you do so at your own risk. Kinda like skydiving.
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