No such thing as “normal”

This is why I write. It’s why I started writing. Nowhere in the media was a reflection of someone like me. Not in film, no depictions in the pages I flipped of books, no whispers in the notes of songs. Throughout my meanderings between different schools and jobs I found “almost” people. People who only had one or two things in common with me. By my very nature, my existence serves to automatically make others uncomfortable. I was too complex, too varied, too immense; a dragon. Thus I ended up burning or crushing those I only wanted to share with, not on purpose but by the design of our very society. I always felt like I matched more people than could ever match me. Add to that the sad fact that greater misfortune falls upon me just because of the attributes I have intersecting in the way that they do and my gaping loneliness makes some kind of sense. It’s not entirely intentional; the universe isn’t conspiring against me. It’s just that this culture, this world is set up to benefit certain kinds of people and I am one of the furthest ones from that.

Until recently I had not learned to view my own voice as one that mattered. Yet I’m glad I did write. I wrote about people like me. I wrote about people I was curious about but never got to see anywhere in art or media. I still write about people who are anything but normal. I’m only just now beginning to be truly comfortable with and dance with my weirdness. Or rather, I’ve learned it’s ok not to let others’ opinions dictate how I feel about myself. I’ll never make everyone happy-hell, I don’t even think I’ll make anyone happy. But I can at least leave a reminder that I existed. I know I’m here and that’s what counts. If other weirdoes can find and read my stories and know that at least one other weirdo exists, well, that’d be fantastic. I could never write for normal people. I’ve never had normal experiences. If that means I’m forever on the margins that’s not my problem. I can only live my life. And cherish every strange moment.

And now my favorite part of this post:
“I will never be anyone’s idea of normal. No sandstone institution will elevate my opinions to the status of truth. No industry will ever deem me their ideal: not of beauty, not of personality, not of anything. But I do not care about this, because I know that normal is a lie so I refuse to chase it. I refuse to change a single thing about myself in order to meet a standard that was never set with me in mind. I refuse to think or speak or act in a way that would make me more acceptable to the kinds of people society considers normal because I know what they do not: that the pedestal on which they are perched is a precarious one. Because the other thing about normal, you see, is that it is ever-changing, and the higher one climbs on the backs of the marginalised and dispossessed, the farther one has to fall when the goalposts shift.”

days like crazy paving

Let me tell you something about normality.

Normal is a construct invented by the privileged to pathologise non-conformity. Normal is a reason to keep you out of a space because you’re too brown, too female, too queer, too trans, not binary enough, not able-bodied enough, not rich enough, not connected enough for the dominant class’ tastes. Normal is why women earn less, why non-whites are relegated to poorer neighbourhoods, why queer and trans people are targets of violent crime, why disabled people are stigmatised and looked down on and shunned, why sex workers aren’t allowed the agency to run their own lives.

Most of all, normal is a lie.

I am not normal. I am too brown and too female (and femme) and too mentally ill and too queer to be normal. Most of the people I know aren’t normal. And every time one of us tries – usually so that we…

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