Shouldn’t We Rethink Normal?
By: Renée Cormier
I recently came across a post on beBee.com where the writer spoke of growing up in a world where he was not considered normal. As someone who has never wanted to be just like everyone else, I can honestly say that I understood what it is like to be different, but I have never felt like my idiosyncrasies made me abnormal.
My son, who lives with a mild form of autism put together a short documentary where he questions the value and definition of normal. He feels perfectly normal, and why shouldn’t he, really? Normal is really a term that is used by ableists to describe anything that doesn’t fit their perception of what is right and good. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around, so why would anyone not be considered right or good at their core?
It is my personal belief that each of us is on this earth to teach someone something. Whether or not you can speak, or even move has no bearing on your ability to do that. The fact is, that every interaction we have, whether we are aware of it or not, is an opportunity to teach someone something. I would venture to say that most of us do it all the time and don’t even know it. It is our individual differences that provide these teachable moments and have the power to bring us together with more understanding. I like to think that it is our differences rather than our sameness that creates the strongest social glue.
The collective consciousness of the world has always been very negative because people tend to see differences as a threat. Clearly, the world has much to learn about the value of being different. Those who are willing to bear the pain of being different are blessed with having the opportunity to innovate, educate and change the world. They are the leaders, the visionaries, the philosophers and the greatest influencers.
It’s time to embrace what makes you different and love that quality in yourself. Normal is only a word and when we say someone is not normal we shouldn’t think of it as a bad thing. We tend to think of abnormalities as being reflective of an ineptitude, but it doesn’t have to mean that at all. Our personal abnormalities whether they be physical or mental force us to navigate the world in unconventional ways and in doing so we learn and teach more. In essence, we fulfill our purpose.