A word about normality

November 2, 2016

Burning Man 2016. Photo credit: Scott Swanson

Normality is a well-paved street;
it is good for walking, but no flowers will grow there.*

I’ve always thought normality was overrated and still do.

It’s just not that interesting to me. At least not FOR me.  Which is sometimes a surprise to people who meet me because I look normal. I had a normal enough career. A lot of my life looked, well, normal.

But no, not normal.

The price you pay

You may suspect this and I’ll confirm it: People who are not normal pay a price.

Sometimes, others don’t “get” you. So they don’t like you.

Sometimes, your independence is threatening.So they might try to take you down.

Sometimes you have to hide some of who you are.Because otherwise, well, the price would be higher.

There are things about me that I trust very few people with. A handful, if that. Someone I trusted like that once betrayed my trust. I don’t see her anymore.

You’re probably intuitive

When you’re not normal, very few people actually take you in–the whole of you.

I always know when people don’t get me. They might pass judgment on something I say. That’s the quickest way to identify them.

I usually know when someone gets me, too. Sometimes it’s unspoken. Or sometimes they say just enough for me to recognize that they get me.

Someone doesn’t have to be like me to get me, either. One of my oldest California girlfriends is totally normal but she totally gets me. My late girlfriend was totally normal and totally traditional. But she got me, too. It can be lonely if you’re not normal. What a gift these two women are and were!

Some of my male friends get me, too. But most of them aren’t exactly normal.

Come to think of it, normality could be the problem with my family. They’re normal, I’m not.  When I was in my hometown the other month one of my very favorite cousins pulled me over to him and whispered in my ear, “We’re two of a kind, the black sheep.” Yep. Probably true.  I didn’t recognize him until later in life but once I did…what a relief to have company in the flock! I’d thought I was the only one.

Well, I don’t have more to say on this subject. I was just sitting at my computer, sleep deprived, looking at the image above, and thinking about Burning Man and how I feel about normality. This is the result.

Feel free to comment on any of this.

*The quote is attributed to Vincent Van Gogh. Who knows if he really said it.


40 comments on “A word about normality
  1. I think “normal” is relative. I believe the way I think and act IS normal–but there are those who certainly disagree! And it’s so affirming to meet people–like you–who can accept people for who and where they are.

  2. Carla says:

    Yes!!! The older I get the more I noticed – – as in taking note but not in a bad way – – there are certain people who don’t get me. For whatever reason my lack of normalcy makes them uncomfortable (?).
    From here on out I’m going to remind myself when this happens they are simply not part of my flock.

  3. You do realize that normal when it applies to human behavior means typical, standard, plain.
    When I hear that concept, i am reminded of when of my favorite song of old. Written by Malvina Reynolds and made famous by Pete Seeger. Little boxes (with its ticky tacky houses)….

  4. Leanne says:

    I always thought I was normal personified – now I realize I just put ‘normal’ on like a shroud to fit in. Now I’m tossing it off and just being “me” – take me or leave me and that’s a lovely place to have arrived at. I think you got there a lot sooner than I did!

  5. Cori says:

    Oh thank god! I’ve found my people! For me, the people who don’t get me and make the biggest deal about it are my family. My mom occasionally says “What happened to that sweet (read: obedient) girl you used to be?” I learned to think for myself.

  6. Tyane says:

    I’m one who never made it a priority to be normal….I made it a priority to be me. I will always continue to be me, and the ones who really appreciate me for me are meant to be in my life for a reason. Normal is boring…lol.

  7. Jay Colby says:

    This was interesting article very thought-provoking!

  8. Diane says:

    Normal is relative. Yep. Me and my relatives.
    So much of the rest of the world is boring! 🙂
    I love that my family is considered ‘quirky’, ‘different’, even ‘strange’. We have so much fun together!

  9. I have NO idea what normal is anymore and actually not sure if I ever did. I am most comfortable around abnormal people, scary sometimes but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  10. Leta says:

    ‘Normal’ (whatever that even means) is way over-rated. Too often it means conforming, living up or down to other people’s expectations, following the crowd, doing what you’re told, and joining in with what everyone else does. Sod that! I’ll see you in the weird corner, thanks.

  11. what a cool picture!

  12. Carolann says:

    You always hit the nail right on the head Carol. Love this post. I’ve never been “normal”. It used to bother me when I was young but now IDGAS. 🙂 I find the most interesting people in my life not “normal” either. Normal is boring…normal is average…I love off the curve people and always will <3

  13. I don’t even know what normal is. Could it be that I think someone is normal if they are like me in some way and that they are not normal if they aren’t? Will have to think about that.

  14. sue says:

    I found out much later in life that stepping out of normality brings richness to life. I was always normal, did the ‘right thing’ but I always wanted more. Something inside me was bursting to get out and it wasn’t until I reached 50 that I realised it doesn’t matter what people think. You today news is tomorrow’s wrapping paper so get out there and be who you want to be. Thanks for the reinforcement.

  15. I completely agree with you. I know for a fact the way I live my life is not “ideal” to most people I meet but it’s the one that makes me happy, the one that makes sense to me, and the one that keeps me away from regret. Kudos for standing for yourself and your own “normal” 😉

  16. Kim Tackett says:

    I’m thinking “settled” rather than normal….

  17. lori says:

    Who is normal? Normal is overrated.

  18. Fiona says:

    Is anyone ‘normal’? I think it’s all relative and we’re all just ‘different’. We find our tribe with those who are a similar shade of ‘different’. If we try to fit in or be someone we’re not then we’re just stopping ourselves finding our tribe. I just accept everyone for who they are, but I’m not a sheep – I think and act for myself.

  19. Carol says:

    I enjoyed your article! I’m not sure if I’m normal or not. Some people probably think I am while others do not! My goal is to just be myself and not worry about what others think of me. The days when I pull this off are my most joyful days!

  20. I guess the consensus if no one can define normal. What’s normal for one is completely different for another. I’d like to think of it as individual.

  21. What a great read, very insightful. I use the word normal a lot but never really sat and thought about what that meant

  22. Jennifer says:

    I used to think my family was normal and that everyone else didn’t have a normal family. Apparently, I was wrong.

  23. Great article. I agree with everything you said.

  24. Crystal gard says:

    Normal is whatever we make it to be

  25. Co says:

    Very interesting read!!!! I’m convinced normal doesn’t exist since normal
    Means something different to everyone

  26. Vyjay says:

    Normality is definitely boring. A touch of eccentricity adds spice to life and people.

  27. I love this article. Normal is highly over rated! Just think how boring life would be if everyone was the same and we were all “Normal”.

  28. Estelle says:

    All I can be is me-and that’s normal for me.I grew up as thee round peg in a community of square pegs-but it has made me healthier cause I don’t need everyone’s approval and march to my own drummer.

  29. I can be “normal” or what I think other people want me to be, or I can be authentically me. I’m really trying for the latter!

  30. Bill S says:

    I’ve always thought of normal as being overrated!! What a great outlook on what it means to be normal or not normal.

  31. Elizabeth O. says:

    Fear of not being normal is what stops people from risking it and following their hearts. I have grown to love who I am and I have accepted that I will never be “normal” especially to my family. It’s not something I am to be after all. Why fit in when you can stand out, right?

  32. I am far from normal also. I like things that other people look at and crunch their nose at. I like to be me. Different! With my own thoughts and mind. But if everybody was exactly the same, life would be boring!

  33. Shirley says:

    I think “normal” is relative.Very nice post something different and worth to read. Thanks for sharing this informative post. Such articles will help us in our day to day life. Wish to see some more in future as well.

  34. Nicky says:

    Normal has always been overrated for me. I prefer to unique

  35. Shane says:

    I agree- normal is boring! I’d rather be a hot mess adventurer than a timid homebody. It really expands your world view!

  36. I don’t know what to think nowadays? Who wants to be normal these days! In my opinion do what floats your boat.

  37. Not a single family member of mine would even come close as qualifying to be in the normal category. Life would be so dull if they weren’t so “out there”

  38. Rhewi Montemayor says:

    I agree that normal is boring, nothing’s challenging and thrilling! 🙂 Love the post i learned 🙂

  39. Rosey says:

    I have some folks who get me too. Love em for it immensely too. 😉

  40. jill conyers says:

    I guess it depends on how you look at normal. I don’t always see it as dull and boring. And who defines what’s normal? Interesting read and perspective.

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