For some reason, the word normal has bad connotations. There are lots of campaigns against normality. Here are some examples:
“Why be normal, when you can be magical?” – Nikita Gill
“Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but now flowers grow on it.” – Van Gogh
“Being normal is not necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage.” – Practical Magic
I have to admit, at one point in my life, I identified with all of these. I cherished my abnormality. My differences. My quirks. Of course, I still value myself, and by no means am I saying we need to be walking clones, but I think we are misusing the word. So, let’s look at some definitions.
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Dictionary.com says normal is “conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.”
Most media tells us we need to be nonconformists. We need to be different, irregular and definitely not common. As a result, we as a society have come to idolize scandal and abnormality. Everyone is trying to stick out from the crowd and be noticed.
Remember when the word hipster actually described people who were fashionably different? Now the majority of 20-30 somethings carry themselves and dress themselves as hipsters. It’s a trend. It doesn’t make you different.
Ya know in The Hunger Games where everyone in the Capitol is so outrageous that it becomes natural to them?
See, this is how we are, as humans. We fight to be different, but what we really desire is to be like everyone else. That’s why “hipster” became the new normal.
Merriam-Webster has a definition of normal I like better than dictionary.com. It says normal is “usual or ordinary; not strange; mentally and physically healthy.”
I don’t know about you, but I want to be mentally and physically healthy. I also want my neighbors and community to be mentally and physically healthy. If you dig down in Merriam Webster’s definition it also says normal is being “free from mental disorder or sane.”
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone use the word normal in that way.
My coworker is so normal.
My coworker is so physically and mentally healthy. She is sane.
Which sentence to you like better?
Normal is suddenly a compliment when we use it according to its dictionary definition. No bad connotations here.
I’d like to take it a step further.
For our purposes here at Wholly Unimpressive, being normal does not refer to being the same as everyone else. It does not refer to the lack of courage. Being normal here means: physically and mentally healthy; sane; maintaining stability.
How many of your friends, coworkers and neighbors have stable families? A few of mine do.
Merriam-Webster says one more thing. Apparently normal is something that “occurs naturally.” And that is where it gets difficult.
It’s hard to be normal when everyone is telling you it’s a bad thing. It’s hard to be normal when your circumstances are very difficult or dark. It’s hard to be normal when you feel like your marriage is crumbling, your children dislike you, your job sucks and you’re lonely. It’s hard to be normal if no one in your life ever modeled it for you.
In these instances, being normal takes magnificent courage.
One of my favorite singers from high school, Misty Edwards, had a song called “All Men Are Broken.” Some of the words go like this:
All men are broken.
And broken men break their children,
who grow up to be broken men.
And some of you have been so afraid
of repeating the same mistakes
that fear has your frozen.
But listen, listen
You’ve got to let your fathers go.
Your fathers were broken by their fathers,
who were broken by their fathers
On and on and on and on
But listen, listen
Whatever higher power your follow, or even if you don’t follow one. It is possible to break the chain of brokenness. It is possible to maintain stability in the home you’re creating. It is possible for you and your family to live a physically and mentally healthy life. A content life. And it is possible for that contentment to occur naturally.
And let’s just say that the whole purpose of this blog is to attain that definition of normal.
Being normal is to exert magnificent courage and break the chain of brokenness in our family histories. To have stability and normality to occur naturally. To practice contentment and find that we’ve always had enough. We always were enough.
We are normal.