I found myself doing something today that I rarely ever do (and for good reason); I watched the news. Amid all the stories of the horrible things that have happened within the last few days and the political drama that is our government there was a story about a girl in a wheelchair overcoming her disability and raising money for a summer camp. It was intended to be a heart warming story and in most ways it was, but there was one thing that really bothered me. Throughout the story, it was repeated over and over how all this girl wanted was to be normal and that she wanted the kids around her to feel normal and how everyone should strive to be normal. Frankly, the word normal was repeated more than any other word in this five minute segment and held more emphasis than the fact that this girl was able to walk despite being told she never would.
And that bugs me.
Not that the girl was able to walk, because that’s awesome, but the emphasis on “being normal.” What is normal? By the way it is portrayed by the media, normal is basically being a perfect, cookie-cutter replica of the people around you. It is having no features that put you apart from the rest, having no strong personalities or opinions. You’re just another face in the crowd. I won’t lie, there was a time when I believed that was what I wanted and it is only now that I’m older that I realize how horrifying this concept is.
People shouldn’t strive to simply be normal, people should strive to be extraordinary! Why must we limit ourselves to only being normal? History is littered with names of people who were far from normal. Albert Einstein never wore the same colored socks and never learned his own phone number, yet was one of the greatest intellectuals of his time. Vincent van Gogh cut off part of his own ear over a fight he had with a friend, but still created beautiful artwork that is still studied today. Joan of Arc was born a simple peasant girl who would go on to lead an army and ultimately saved all of France at the age of 16. None of these people were what we would consider normal and yet these are names that we know. “Normal” people don’t make history because it is not considered normal to stand out or to make a difference, so why are we insisting that people try to act and be normal? Why do we act as though being abnormal is wrong or bad?
If I should ever be blessed to have children of my own, I won’t insist on them being normal, nor will I encourage something so limiting. We should be encouraging our youth to make a difference, to have thoughts that are their own and not what is simply being told to them, to resist that urge to just stand back and let someone else take the lead. If we all become normal we will lose everything that makes this world interesting. There is no advancement to be found in being normal, no room for growth or evolution.
Therefore, don’t try to be normal, work hard to be amazing, original men and women of the world, to be one in a million and not one of a million. Take control of your own personal story and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be considered one of the stranger people in history.
For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity. – Jean DuBuffet