By C.L. Harmon
What is normal? What is it to be normal? What exactly does that even mean? What is it to look normal, act normal to just be normal? I recently found myself in a social situation where there were several people talking, eating, laughing, etc. I found myself in one of those moments when the people I was with were talking among each other and I was not engaged in their current conversation.
I then found myself looking about the room and observing what was around me. Initially, appearance is what most of us notice first about others. I am no different in this regard and so as I scanned the room, I saw most men had short hair. I notice this first when I go into public places since I have long hair. I wear it long as a personal preference whether it is the style of the times or not. Currently very short hair on men appears to be the style these days.
I also observed that some men had longer hair than the very short style, but still not I what I would consider long. Some had beards of varying lengths and others had only stubble. Some men had tattoos that were visible while others did not. Then I began noticing the differences in the women such as hair styles, body piercings, tattoes, make-up application and their demeanor
It is at this point that the question about what is considered normal came to me. I thought about who determines what is considered normal. Is there a council of cool, a symposium of shiek or a neuron of normalcy that only a few possess and the rest emulate in order to be what is considered normal in a culture?
Then my mind began to wander a bit past appearances and into something a little deeper. I thought about how normalcy changes over time. For example, I doubt being a Christian in 50 A.D. was considered normal. Paganism under Roman rule was probably the norm of the day. But today Christianity is considered completely normal, at least in the western world. So 2,000 years ago, torture and execution for Christians was normal; today billboards, TV commercials and various other types of ad campaigns to draw people into Christian churches across this country is normal behavior.
I don’t believe that being normal should be an opinion of the masses, but instead, a feeling of comfort and security for the individual. The very fact that we are all unique in our design seems to support the idea that there is no natural state of normalcy, but more one of a singular identity.
This also supports the basic human fundamental of acceptance, which is something we all crave. And though that need for acceptance may compel us to conform various aspects of our nature to fit in, it does not change our unique design. We are hard-wired in our creation through our personalities. It is true that we accentuate or diminish the different aspects of our personalities to adapt to specific situations in our lives, but the core of our identities is not subject to a reprogramming ,if you will.
Maybe just being ourselves, however that may manifest itself, should be the definition for normal. Perhaps being normal should be simply being true to who we are on the inside and the outside and abnormal should be our lack of acceptance of others.
Think about all the different hair styles, clothing choices, tastes in music and interests you have had in your life. Isn’t there still a part of you that loves a bit of those choices? Aren’t there still songs you love even though they are old and not played on modern radio stations anymore? Don’t you listen to those songs when you are alone? Isn’t there a photo from your past that you look at from time to time and think ‘ya know, I really looked good back then’, even though the clothes and hair style are now considered outdated by current trends? You know there is still a part of you that wishes it could still look like the you in the photo.
These actions, if anything, makes us normal. The older we become the more defined our definition of our own identity should be. Perhaps normal is what feels natural and comfortable to us while abnormal is attempting to become what is normal for someone else.