What is “normal” anyway? Is it common, is it familiar, is it a cliché or are we talking about what’s right?

Normal is one of those creepy words that separates us and them. Normal accentuates our differences, and on our more vulnerable days, makes us feel crappy, not special.

We eat ourselves up trying to be normal and fail time after time. Wise folks point out it’s a silly pursuit. But when we surround ourselves with likeminded folks, we all of a sudden become normal.

So what is normal? Normal is confusing. Normal is boring. I’d rather be anything but normal. So when folks say my sexual orientation isn’t normal, I’m glad.

I’m proudly abnormal. Are you?

I might not be the same as them or even you. But the things that make us different are the things that make us us. These are the things that shape our perspective of the world, and without these differences, we’d have nothing new to say.

As a kid you probably copped it for being different. But over time learnt that difference builds character, difference sparks creativity, and difference makes you stand out from the pack.

I was born with a bright strawberry birthmark on my left cheek that didn’t fade until high school. I sure stood out in the playground. The other kids would ask what was wrong with my face, but after their initial curiosity, I guess life just went on, well, as normal.

As a teenager I tried even harder to be different. I dyed my hair purple, I listened to “alternative” music, I didn’t want to be normal like them. My friends and I would go watch obscure grunge bands and be happily abnormal together.

But some folks like being normal. They like it so much they only want to be around other normal people because everyone else is weird and scary and broken.

They steer clear of those abnormal types in case their abnormality rubs off. Normal folks have seen it happen to people they know, and just quietly, they’ve dabbled in abnormality themselves. But best never to speak of it, they’re back to normal now.

But what is “abnormal” anyway? Is it uncommon, it is unfamiliar, is it a nuance or are we talking about what’s wrong? Abnormal is one of those creepy words that separates us and them.

INFO: You can follow Monique Schafter on Twitter @MoniqueSchafter

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