What’s Normal?

I have been thinking a lot lately. With everything else going on in the world right now, why do we still have to say that certain people aren’t “normal” like it is some kind of bad thing? Personally, I try not to categorize people. I am not dumb enough to say that I don’t see differences in people, but I try to treat people in an equitable manner. It doesn’t matter to me what you want to be called, what color or religion you are, or where you’re from. I don’t care. Really, when I think about it, the way somebody else looks, believes, or identifies themselves has no bearing on me whatsoever.

Maybe I am missing something. But I honestly think that people being different makes the world more interesting. It would be impossible for us to all look the same – we’re shaped differently, for one thing, and different experiences have altered our appearances (everybody has scars, or freckles, or something). For another, how boring would it be if there was a “normal” haircut and “normal” clothes that we all had to wear? Can you even imagine? I like my hair short, I think it looks better that way. But girls can have short hair, and guys can have long hair. Does that mean one is normal and one is not? Does it even matter? You can’t even say that traditionally men had short hair, because you know that it was not always the case. Or at least, they wore fashionable wigs that were considerably longer and fancier back in the day. If I started wearing a powdered wig when I was out and about, would people think I was a weirdo? Wasn’t it normal at one point, though?

When we’re kids, we think everybody is like us. We assume that everyone eats the same kinds of food we do and maybe even has the same living arrangements we do. We have no idea that there is some kind of ideal or normal out there, we just know what IS. As we get older and our world expands, we start to learn that not everyone is the same. They may look different, love differently, speak a language we don’t understand, or practice another religion than we do. Maybe there are more variables nowadays – for example, I’d imagine that the mixed-race population is just going to continue to climb as the world becomes an ever-smaller place – or maybe people are just finding out that it isn’t so bad being who they really are and have stopped hiding. Or they’re tired of hiding, period. But when it comes down to it, don’t most people want some version of the same things: essentially to be happy and loved, to feel safe, and to live a comfortable life? Does pursuing those things make us normal? I have no idea.

If everyone judged other people using themselves as the yardstick for normal, then it’s pretty safe to say most people would not fit the bill. I think we should give up on this idea of normal. Normal’s boring. Instead, we should be celebrating our differences and learning from one another. We might find out that we’re different, yet the same.