29 June 2015

Normal isn't real

Lately I've been thinking a lot.  About who I am, what I am, what is real, what isn't real, dreams, reality, dinosaurs, etc. etc..and I keep coming back to a few things.

1)  That we live in a very weird and disturbing world where we try to tell people that they aren't people, because they don't conform to our idea of "normal" or reality.  Apparently being different means that you aren't really human, you're something else, like an otter.  I pick otters, because at least otters are cute and playful.

2)  That we have trouble accepting what someone is trying to change and grow, even though it doesn't match our version of "normal" or how we do things.  This is something that I experience a lot being on the Asperger's spectrum.  For example, how I take criticism.  I honestly thought I took it well, because I want to learn and improve from it.  I found out recently from several people I trust and that care about me, that nope...I'm kinda of a defensive asshole about it.  It isn't how I mean to appear and I've gotta figure out how to work around that, but I'm willing to change.  Some people though...just don't understand that.  They think I'm just an uncaring asshole, even though I'm trying to learn.  And part of the problem is that no one has ever told me this before.  Or not in a way that stuck with me.  I mean, I don't know about y'all but I can't change what I don't know.  And if you tell me "Well you know some people have trouble accepting criticism" I'm going to go "Yep, they sure do" and not realize that you're talking about me, because...well I'm oblivious unless you sit down and go "OK Andy, this is hard to say and hard to hear, but when someone is giving your critical feedback you're reacting this way."  And I can say "Wow...well that's not what I meant to have happen.  What I'm trying to do is ask questions and figure out what the heck is going on and how I can improve.  I'm not trying to be an asshole."  And we can come to some type of shared reality and go forward.

3)  That as a collective humanity tends to have their heads stuck in hole in the ground, insisting that they're getting enough sunlight coming in through the gaps in the ground and that if we try to take them out of it, that there's just way too much sun, and screw seeing colors and shit we've never seen, we like our hole and we'll stay in it!

Lastly though I'm realizing that...normal isn't real.  I wrote a post a while back about normal being bullshit, but I've realized normal isn't real either.  It doesn't exist at all.  It's this ideal that some people have about wanting us to be stuck in a group together so that we can determine how other people should behave or should act or should think and so on.  And while it sounds great in theory...it isn't.  Because we as a culture take it to the extreme.  We look at the most popular or biggest group and say "OK those people are normal that's how we should all act.  They get 8 hours of sleep, work 40+ hours a week, have 2.5 kids, a dog, a house, a white picket fence, eat meat & drink and read about business and the news" and so on and so forth.  And while it's great they don't do things that are decidedly wrong...how is that something to strive for?  How is that something that we should all do?

And we extend it to behaviors as well.  "Its not normal to ask so many questions!"  "Its not normal to act like an asshole while accepting criticism!"  "Its not normal to not know what type of face that your making!" and on and on and on.  There are other ones that I've gotten, but I'm not at a point where I can write them out yet.  Or feel comfortable writing them out yet.  But, I've been told enough times in the last few years that I'm not normal, that I hate the word.  Some people were trying to help, some were trying to bullies, some were somewhere in between...either way.  Normal is a horrid word.

We are a wide and diverse group of people, with a variety of ideas and talents and concepts, why should anyone have to fall into "normal"?  Why can't we accept people for how they are and encourage them to leave "normal" behind?  And to explore the limits they can reach?  I know this encourages good and bad, but...we soar to far greater heights when we tell people to reach for the stars than to be "normal."  How far can you reach?

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