Friday, May 18, 2012

The Problem With Normal

Yesterday I drove from Saint Louis to Indianapolis and on the drive I was thinking about the reasoning as to why I've been down the past few days. After some miles I realized that I was still working through the issues of being in the high school I would have gone to.

I thought I shook the feeling, but I guess I hadn't because I was chasing normal. I call "chasing normal" the "times when one is thinking and starting every sentence with 'If I were normal..."' As I've said many times on here, "when one looks at what they aren't one will forget who they are" and I was having this happen to me full force.

Then as I got to the Indiana state line I had a revelation. For the first time ever I have discovered what normal actually is. It's been debated for a millenia or so but I have finally figured it out. To put simply, normal is what one is not and this is the problem with normal.

As I thought about that I realized that no one is normal. Doesn't everyone wish something were different about them, or wonder what it's like to be another person? Maybe it isn't something people admit, but I'm sure at some point in time everyone wished they were normal.

Of course though, for us on the spectrum, normal is something that we chase, crave, and wonder about. I've had many sleepless nights to the mental thoughts of, "Oh, to be normal, I mean, if I were..." and each time, every single time, I lose track of who I am. So this is the problem with normal. When one chases it normal becomes a myth that's larger than life and is a place where euphoric bliss happens. I may realize this now, but the next time I wish I had a more active social life, or the next time I'm asked a question, say, at a gas station that flusters me and it takes me more time to process and in the end it's just an all around awkward situation I too with yearn, crave, and dream about this place called normal. Right now I know there is no such place, but, when the time comes, I'll want it more than anything and that, right there, is the problem with normal.


  1. I love reading your post! You help me to understand the yearning and sadness that I sometimes see in my sons face. Even though I tell him "not to let anyone define life" for him, he still wishes things were different. I wish the world would just embrace all of our differences and let us all be part of the "normal". Please keep the inspirations coming, it helps so very much!

  2. Aaron, A St Louis friend guided me to the article written in the Post Dispatch. My son, Jimmy (now 13), is diagnosed Asperger's Syndrome and it sounds very much like he shared some similar experiences and issues that you faced. I would say, though, that he never wanted to be 'different' or 'typical' and, when we discussed this at times, he just said that if the other person wouldn't accept him as he is, then that's his/her choice. He is himself and totally accepts what comes along with it. His first diagnosis was Sensory Integration Dysfunction at 2.5 years. He was reading before then and would correct the preschool teacher when they made errors in reading. :) Adding and subracting, spelling, before we even realized it. But he CRAVED interaction with others and totally opened himself up to friendship only to find others shunning him...Jimmy was hard to understand, mind you, and was very protective of his 'space' so it wasn't surprising, just sad. He was targeted at school by the kids who realized he had sensitivities, and the lack of discipline some teachers wanted to enforce just complicated the entire public school experience for him, the rule follower. We homeschooled much of his life (he attends a charter school here that requires less than one day in the building, the rest at home, online) and I must say that he blossoms when given the chance to do MORE instead of just the requirement. He's met challenges (academic and physical) that I wasn't confident that he could and comes back stronger. I'm intrigued and would like to know your thoughts on independence, career, education, and what you think about being part of a structured group as an adult...what your interests might be. Bless you for sharing your experiences.

  3. You are an artist of your own life. How you make this art is a life long process- because it constantly revolves. Some people will appreciate the art, and some people will not. But the most important critic here of this art is you.

  4. Aspergers is normal here. We like it :)