“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou
A few days ago, on my way to work some guy caught my attention by signaling for me to wait.
“Hey, please wait!” he shouts, crossing the road to catch up with me.
I tried speeding up my walk for him to not get close. He didn’t look harmful or even show any sign that he would hurt me; he might have wanted to ask for an address or something. But according to me, I was in danger. I should not allow him to come any closer, he might hurt me. My heart rate increased as he approached. My hands started shaking and my breathing became shallow. “He needs to go away, why would he be calling me? What does he want from me? And why can’t guys leave me alone?” My thoughts overpower me as I continue to race. Fortunately, he noticed and cross back to the other side of the road.
I laughed as I realised he was not following me anymore. I felt crazy and a little voice within me shouted back at me, “When will you ever be normal!” I was a little upset; what type of a question is this? How could you even ask me such? Does this mean I’m not normal? The conversation with myself was not going great and I was furious at that little voice in my head.
As much as I was upset at the little voice in my head, I also wanted to understand the word normal. What does it mean to be normal? How does someone qualify to be normal? Are there any characteristics that are checked and ticked for one to identify as normal? I mean it’s something everyone wants, we all want to be normal. Just like most of my thoughts, “God can I just be normal?”
Normal like who, is the question we should ask ourselves. According to the Oxford learner’s dictionary normal is defined as typical, usual, or ordinary, more like what you would expect. Or maybe I should ask google what makes a normal person.
According to Wikipedia it says, “Normal is also used to describe individual behavior that conforms to the most common behavior in society (known as conformity) …someone being seen as normal or not normal can have social ramifications, such as being included, excluded or stigmatized by wider society.”
I do not know why we want to be so normal because according to me, most people we look up to or I look up to, did nothing that was expected of them, their behaviors in the society were not common. Such as Martin Luther King, he was expected to lead with hatred and a vengeful heart, instead he did everything with love. And today a lot of people look up to him as his legacy continues.
The above experience might not align with the message I am trying to convey, but it still doesn’t make the message less clear. My reaction was based on my past experience, and it does not make me less human. We have people like Maya Angelou who stood and did the not so common things that society expected from her, after all, she was a child who was raped at seven and remained mute for a couple of years. Here we are, reading her books and looking up to her after her death.
People like Christina Caine who stood above what was expected of her. After all, she is just a woman who went through a lot of traumatic experiences during her childhood. But she went out of the common behavior that society expected of her and became an Australian activist who not only stood against human trafficking, but also rescued the victims with the help of the A21 organisation, which she and her husband founded.
I truly wonder how many dreams and ideas are hidden, crashed and forgotten because an individual is afraid of being seen as abnormal? Today we wear ripped jeans and feel confidence in a fashionable way because someone out there, came out of their comfort zone and revealed the idea. Taking the chances that some might actually see them as crazy for even mentioning such an idea.
If being normal means, staying on the same level for the rest of my life and not growing, if it is all about doing the common things or not challenging myself to be better and change the world, then I don’t think I want to be normal. Whatever ideas you have, bring it up even if it looks crazy or sounds not so normal. That thing you want to create, do it anyway, even if it does not make sense. Refuse to be a mediocre.
Tell us: What do you think it means to be normal?