From the beginning of mankind up until today (probably not, but this is all for dramatic effect) we have all been asking ourselves one big question. And no, it’s nothing like “Does God exist?” or “Why is there evil and suffering?” Nope. The question we are all asking is:
Am I normal?
And I’m not just talking about any old ‘normal’, I’m talking about the normality that people fight for and change themselves in order to achieve.
Now, before I go on, I’m just going to consult the dictionary. Normal (by definition, so please nobody shoot me) means “conforming to a standard, usual, typical or expected”. Some other synonyms, just to give you a better understanding of the word; STOCK, COMMON, ORDINARY, CONVENTIONAL. I don’t know about you, but just going by the definition, I know I don’t really want to be like this.
Anyway. I’m not finished yet.
Would you believe that a Google search for “Am I normal?” pulls up 1.56 billion hits. BILLION. That is a heck of a lot of hits for a seemingly innocent question. Of course, being the inquisitive and curious person that I am, I decided to check out a few of these links, since lots of them were quizzes. (I cannot believe a QUIZ can determine how ‘normal’ I am). So, first of all, what the hell?! Every single test I’ve taken – a grand total of 4 – have told me different things. Now, I know I’m special – but how can I be 50% normal, 84% normal, special AND normal all at the same time?
Lesson learnt: Obviously an online test cannot tell me if I am normal or not.
Secondly, what upset me the most is the comments which were made with the results. Whenever it told me I was normal (3 times, actually) it said “Congratulations!” or some other variation of that, but when it told me I was “special” (and I quote) :
You’re special, in a great way!
You’re unique! You’re not normal, but you’re not weird at all! You’re one of a kind.
Why does it feel like they are rushing to reassure me that being ‘abnormal’ is not a bad thing? Another one of the tests actually had the cheek to tell me that I should mostly keep my weirdness to myself. Another one said that it was a good thing that I was normal because I’d get more friends that way.
These standards are actually ridiculous. Listen, OK? You be as ‘different’ as you like. If you are also a 15-year old female who would rather watch “Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse” than “Vampire Diaries” or “Gossip Girl” then you go for it. (True story). If Disney is your favourite music genre, and “Downton Abbey” is your favourite TV series, then cool. (Also true story). It doesn’t even matter anymore, because all these ideas about what is normal and what is not are all coming from the media and society.
Let me just tell you a thing:
1. Being normal doesn’t mean you will have more friends
Friends are not dependent upon you, you are dependent upon friends. There’s a saying that says, “Friends are the family that you choose.” This means that friends are people who are supposed to love you no matter what, and if you can’t show your true side to your friends, then really, you shouldn’t be friends with those people. I’ve lived much too much of my life thinking that I have to hide my personality to gain approval, but the only thing that happens as a result is the stifling of my inner Queen, and it doesn’t work. In the past, I’ve had to cut myself off from some people because I felt like I couldn’t be myself around them, and that’s not what friendship is like. Friends won’t mock you for not listening to [insert popular artist here] or for “reading too much” as I’ve been told often. (How is that a bad thing, you uneducated swine?!)
2. Being normal is very boring (and it’s a choice!)
You can’t switch your “normal-ness” on and off, because there is no such thing. The whole idea is about adapting to certain situations; obviously when I’m at a job interview or at work, I’m not going to be prancing about to my fave OST’s, or walking down the corridors funny. The difference is that I just know where and when it is appropriate to be 100% myself, and when I need to tone it down a bit. I’m just going to define “Abnormal” for you: “deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying.” My advice is, be neither normal or abnormal. (Abnormal is what ignorant boring, normal people label others whom they don’t understand). Be special. Be unique. Be different. Be crazy. You can change from being “normal” so to speak. All you have to do is stop living within the confines of society, and of your friends, and actually develop your own personal styles and opinions and attitudes. It’s hard, I know, but I promise that it’s so much more rewarding than following the crowd.
3. Being normal is also overrated
Like I said, I have spent too long trying to ‘fit in’, and it has taken me almost 13 years to realise that I don’t need to fit in. (Hence why I created my own country, and that, because fitting in is stupid). I shouldn’t have to change myself in order to fit into a stupid gap in society, that I won’t even be able to fill. I refuse to become a mindless, faceless clone of other teenage girls, with no personal opinions or anything unique to myself except my name. Teenagers nowadays, especially girls, need to recognise that being a bog-standard, nothing special, ten-a-penny person isn’t going to get you anywhere. And sure, hey, you might land that standard job, but you’re never going to get out of that cubicle and into that office if you’re just the same as everyone else.
When somebody meets me, I want them to go away thinking either, “She was cool”, or “She was weird.” And I’ll tell you why. I’d like people to think that I am cool because… well, I am. No, I’m joking, seriously, people recognising me as cool (don’t worry, I was as shocked as you are) only comes about when they are as “weird” as me, so to speak. I remember one time, I was on this residential Science course, and we had to introduce ourselves to everybody, like going around the hall. We all had name tags on, but I thought, hey, let’s mix this up a bit. So anytime anyone came and said hello to me, and told me their name, I would say with the most deadpan face, “My name is Shaniqua.” And they’d look at me funny and glance at my name tag, as if to say, don’t you know your own name? So I’d look down confused at my tag and then look up and laugh and say, “Oh, it’s spelt Rianna but it’s pronounced Shaniqua.” From that moment, I instantly knew who I wanted to hang out with/talk to, and who was just not worth my time. The former were the ones who would laugh at my joke, or even deadpan join in – I got one who told me that was her dad’s name. One even asked me how did I spell the pronunciation, and could I write it down because they might forget it.
The latter were the ones who would roll their eyes and scoff, like they thought I was some immature, ridiculous, silly, childish teenager. (Which I was… and still am). Anyway, I’m going off here.
The point is, we should not let ourselves be defined by others. Whenever I see girls in the street who look exactly like each other, I want to scream. I want to scream, “You could be better people if you just thought for yourselves! If only you looked different, if only you looked unique, stood out. People would notice you, and your life might be so much more fulfilled, if you’re just DIFFERENT!”
Don’t be scared to be different. I promise you, it’s so much fun, it’s freeing and it’s SO fulfilling.
I tried to be normal once.
It was the worst minute of my life.
Love to all my ‘super super’ readers,