Today a friend of mine called me and as usual with him he was feeling really down and needed to just talk and vent. I am used to this, it happens several times a week with him. I have become a very good listener, but what he was talking about today really got me wondering. He was telling me that he has been seeing a counselor trying to work on some of his long deep seated issues. The therapist apparently asked him on Friday what was one goal that he hoped to accomplish by coming to see her and his response was he wanted to be normal. Longed to be normal, was in fact what he said. He said he wanted to be able to write a letter, read one and understand it totally, and to be able to do algebra, and on and on he went. I stopped him there by asking why he wanted to be normal, and what did he mean by normal?
I tried to explain to him that there really isn't such a thing as being normal, because being normal is something that is perceived, but that isn't exactly right either. Normal is derived from the word Norm and norm means a pattern or rule a model to be followed. But who sets these norms? Who decides what is normal or abnormal? Isn't norm or being normal another man made construct used to control and cower people? I believe it is. I believe that going along with the norm or being normal as my friend calls it, is just an idea created by man to create order and control the masses. Societal norms have been set for centuries by nobility or the ruler of a country and enforced by the church as religious dogma. However, throughout history there have been prodigy's and others that have stood apart from the norm. Most of these people have either accomplished something great, changed the direction of the world or committed great atrocities. You see if we cow down to the norm and accept the limitations that society puts upon us, are we not passive observers of life then? I think we are, we go along with the crowd, a part of the herd, never voicing or sharing our opinions or doing anything to upset the balance of normality.
Being normal isn't all that it is cracked up to be. By being a conformist, you are not a leader, you are a follower, you refuse to be different or be seen as different. It is a slippery slope, because no one wants to be labeled as abnormal or different, they don't want to feel the isolation or loneliness of nonacceptance. But is it really better to be a part of the crowd, to be invisible, to be ordinary and just like everyone else? Wouldn't you rather be your own person, carve your own niche in the world? Don't you want to have your own opinion? Do something that no one else has thought of, be unique and special. I know I do. I want to be a person who understands his differences, and has accepted them. I rise above the challenges that society throws at me because I am different from other people. I actually have had many years of practice at being different, and the one thing I can say is I always have been. I made it work for me. Despite being outside of the different cliques and groups in high school, I seemed to excel and be a part of each of them and yet still stand apart. Somehow, despite not being a part of any single one of them I knew and associated with each and every group, by the time I was a senior, I do not believe there was not a person in my graduating class that didn't know who I was or who didn't like and accept me on my terms for who and what I was. The shy lonely guy they all knew in middle school somehow transformed himself in such a way that he became a social butterfly flitting from one group to the next and fitting in perfectly with each group and yet not be a part of it.
The reason why I am writing about this today is because you shouldn't be ashamed of who and what you are and what you believe. The absolute secret to all of this is be comfortable with who and what you are embrace your differences. Because when you are comfortable and secure with yourself others will be too. Ask any person who went to high school with me and they will tell you that I was always around somewhere, I was never with one group or another, I was everywhere. I was popular, but wasn't in the popular crowd, I was kind and loving to everyone and treated everyone equally. I always made time for everyone and nothing was more important to me than being there for anyone who needed me. Sometimes it surprises me when I get an email or message from someone I went to high school with telling me how I was such a nice guy always happy and positive and kind to them. Because my childhood was rough and not very happy, but I learned at a very early age how to hide behind my mask and only show the world that I was happy and nothing ever got to me. Troubles in my home and family never followed me to school or anywhere. I learned how to divorce myself from them and leave them at the door when I left the house and how to pick them up when I returned. This has been something I have done my entire life, so I know it can be done.
Now, understand that I have always marched to my own drum, except for the brief time that I had lost myself in my relationship that I talked about in an earlier entry. As much as I would like to say that the opinions of others didn't matter to me and that I didn't actually care what they thought, the truth is that I did care and I cared deeply, and was hurt often by some of the things I heard, but the secret was no one ever knew, my feelings were mine alone and I shared them with no one. All they ever got to see was the smile and happy person, I kept everything locked behind my mask. By doing this I learned a very valuable lesson that I have never forgotten. When you are indifferent to others opinions, and you get passed the hurt and finally get to the place where you are comfortable with yourself and have come to accept your differences, you realize that no one has any power of your. You are your own person and believe it or not people start looking to you for advice and answers and clamoring for your attention.
The long and the short of it, is the person that cares the least has all the power in any situation; Further, when you are you own person, no one can make you do anything, feel anything, or intimidate you or hurt your feelings nothing, and you know why? Because they don't have any power over you, you haven't given them any. Your opinion alone is the only one that matters and the only one you should ever listen too and be concerned with. You are the only one that is going to look out for you and have your best interest at heart 100 percent of the time. Remember, you don't have to be normal to fit in, you don't have to be pigeon-holed by society into a stereotype. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Be who you are, accept who you are, and be happy with yourself, because you are the only one that really matters.
Don't be like my friend so hurt and bitter because he has been told his whole life that he has mental problems and a learning disorder, that he is stupid and useless, because once you start feeling like that, it won't belong before you start believing what they are saying and before you know it you will start using it as an excuse a crutch and stop trying. You will be stuck in a never ending rut, an endless cycle of depression, with no self-confidence or self-esteem, and will never think yourself worthy enough for anything or anyone. It can be crippling and demoralizing and definitely will lead to you total self destruction. Your temper and the poisons will steep and brew inside of you twisting you and making you hate and feel bitterness and disappointment in everything you do and everything you try.
So why on earth would anyone want to be normal? A faceless nameless person in the crowd, dependent on others to lead and make our choices for us. Why not be a leader, a doer, a builder, and an achiever? If you don't know what I am talking about go back and read my entry titled "Am I?" Because if you are not, then you stand a good chance of falling into the same rut my friend is in, and never feel like you accomplish anything or are worth anything. Your self esteem and self worth will keep you held down and trapped. Believe in yourself, love yourself, and be kind to yourself. You deserve it.
All my hopes and dreams are with you,