A previous entry elucidated my thoughts on the word “should.” Another word that holds its own interesting back story is the word “normal.” As a girl living with a disability, growing up all I wanted to be was “normal.” I wanted to look and walk just like my classmates. I wanted to be invisible; to blend in with those around me so no one would notice that limp that I had or notice when I fell in the middle of the hallway. Whenever I had a choir concert, I wasn’t thinking about how we were going to sound and I wasn’t nervous about my voice. I was nervous about having to step up onto the risers in front of an entire audience of people. I was nervous my choir mate in front of me would forget to help me up and I’d have to stand awkwardly to the side until someone came to help me up. Then I worried about having to get off the risers once our performance was done.
This was my definition of normal. Normal meant “like everyone else,” meaning “no disability.” As I get older though, I realize more and more than there is no “normal.” Normal is a word society somehow created to make us all strive for something we will never attain because the wonderful truth about humanity is that we are all different. We all have our own issues and insecurities. Our families are probably all a little crazy in their own way. We’ve all overcome struggles. Being disabled just so happens to be mine.
I think I forget sometimes that I’m not the only one dealing with insecurities in the world. I forget that that beautiful, tall, perfectly proportioned girl that just walked by me in the mall probably has something she doesn’t like about herself. Women especially are bombarded with so many images of what’s considered beautiful in our society. An image that only about 1% will ever fit into. So straight out of the gate, we’re forced to try and overcome this perfect standard of beauty placed on us. To not let it tell us we’re not worth anything because we don’t look like that ridiculous version of “normal.” So who am I to think I’m the only one dealing with some kind of insecurity?
So yeah, maybe I’m not “normal” but you know what that means? It means I’m unique. It means I’m me and yes, it means I’m different. And that…is a beautiful thing.