BY: Debbie Arace – “Ray of Sunshine, Hope & Laughter”

It’s funny how we spend most of our life trying to be something that doesn’t exist.  Normal.

The definition for normal is:  “Conforming to a standard – usual, typical, or expected”.  Let this definition sink in for a minute.  Now let’s dissect. Conforming – to comply with rules.   Standard – a level of quality or attainment.  Usual – typical occurrences.  Expected – likely to happen.  This goes against everything that makes us unique individuals.  So why do we try to fit into a normal structure?  Right, because that’s the normal thing to do.  Guess what?  I don’t want to be normal.  Do you?

After living on this earth for 64 years, and meeting thousands upon thousands of people I can rest my case by saying:  Normal is an illusion conceived in disillusionment.  We spend our entire life trying to conform to someone else’s concept of normal.  We seek to attain what is typical in the eyes of someone else who is as abnormal as the rest of us.  We set out to make these rules of normalcy happen and lose our identity in the process.  There is no such thing as normal.  If normal doesn’t exist, why do we subject ourselves to all the pain and suffering we put our minds through to achieve a non-existent way of life?  

People are killing themselves and others, more and more.  We ask ourselves why, why does this happen?  If we search hard enough we discover that many of these people had deep routed troubles trying to fit into society. What exactly do they feel they didn’t fit in with?  An idea?  A concept?  Who they are didn’t fit the rules of normalcy.  News flash.  We were not meant to fit in.  We’re meant to stand out.  We were created to experience, discover, learn, teach, do our best by using the gifts we were given. That’s what unites us all in the concept of normal.  That is the essence of who we are not what we strive to be by someone else’s rules.

The Fear of not fitting into mans’ “normalcy” and not Gods creativity makes us question our own self-worth.  So many suffer from the need to be validated as “normal” that they spend their life rejecting who they were meant to be.  They fail to see their own value in what they have to offer.  They condition themselves to believe that they are beneath those who follow the rules of normal.  Others appear to do everything right according to the concept of what normal is. This makes those suffering feel inadequate if they don’t measure up.  They lose a piece of who they are and the peace of who they are meant to be which unfortunately takes its toll on them.

The problem with living by the rules of man is that the rules keep changing. We never know from day to day what new rules of normal we’ll have to adapt to.  Just when we think we might have a chance at normalcy,  bang, the rules change.  Back to square one, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  

On a personal note, as a young girl, I always felt I didn’t fit in. I compared my family life to the family lives of others.  My “normal” was not their “normal” which made me feel abnormal. I was the only child in a school of approximately 800 students whose parents got divorced.  Talk about not feeling normal.  That just added to the pressure.  Later on in life more and more people got divorced so being a child of divorce became quite normal.  It went from me not feeling normal because I came from divorced parents to my kids feeling strange because their parents were still married.  Crazy right?  Everything I did in my life went against what was defined as normal.  I liked being alone.  Not normal.  I didn’t like going out to clubs to meet guys.  Not normal. I knew at 16 that I would never want another man to love other than my now husband of 44 years.  Not normal.  I chose not to drive.  Not normal.  I had no desire to go to college.  Not normal.  My husband and I did everything together.  People would say that wasn’t normal.  We preferred staying home to traveling.  Not normal.  I relied on God.  Not normal. I could go on but I think you get the picture. I’m not NORMAL. So why was it so important for me to be something I was not.  Inwardly, I liked me but that me was so different than others that surrounded me. They were striving for things I had no desire for.  I now see that many of those people are not as fulfilled as they thought they would be. Some of them went in search of normal and left themselves behind.    They are now realizing that trying to fit in has left them feeling unfulfilled.  They lived by normals rules but now realize they missed out on being themselves. The reason I felt different was my personal concept of what I deemed important in life.  I wanted more than just superficial gratification.  I desired insight into the true meaning of life.  I chose not to do the norm because there were too many rules and distractions.  I could easily, and often did, find myself traveling down paths that didn’t feel right for me.  I saw how distracted I could become so I began to rely more and more on God.  Fortunately for me, He taught me ways to validate myself in His eyes and not the eyes of the world.  Perhaps that isn’t normal either.  Guess what?  I don’t care.  It’s who I am and why should I change me to conform to someone’s else’s concept of what I should be!

Reality Check

I learned to stop beating myself up inside for not fitting into the norm?  There was nothing wrong with me other than the unnecessary torture I was putting myself through.  I was just being me.  My desires in life were simple.  I was happy for those that went in search of their dreams.  But my dreams were not their dreams.  At times people made me feel as though I had no direction.  I had direction it just wasn’t headed in the way of most.  I tried doing the “normal” things but I wasn’t comfortable doing them.  I wanted to live my life my way, not the way others thought I should.  My ways felt right for me.  I stopped comparing myself to others.

 If I were to redefine normal, I’d say normal is living your own life.  Not comparing it to the lives of others but sharing your life with others.  Teaching, learning, exploring, being, experiencing, loving. That is what “normal” should be.  Just me being me.  You being you.  No aires, no hidden agendas, no insecurities, no self-destructive measures because we don’t fit in.  Each of us embracing our own identity and reason for being.  

Today, I take everything with a grain of salt.  I face things in ways that seem right for me.  For the most part I take life as it comes and I figure out the best way for ME to handle my life.  So far, freeing my spirit and allowing it to lead me has turned out quite beneficial for me.   My non.conforming ways allow others to mesh with me in relaxing and peaceful ways were we learn from one another.  I am left. feeling fulfilled and gratified.

Embrace who you were meant to be.  You are as normal as the next person in the most unnormal and glorious way.  In Gods eyes you are you.  Live your life before life lives it for you.  Live it as it was meant to be lived on Earth.  Let your spirit be your guide. Get to know the You inside. Allow yourself to stand apart so you can stand within.  Acknowledging that I was not “normal” turned out to be normal after all.  I complied with a level of attaining what I expected of me.  I followed the rules of being who I am.

Married 44 years to my hubby whose purpose in life is to prevent me from getting through the “Pearly Gates”.  Mother of two, Nanna of four loving granddaughters and retired secretary aka administrative assistant.  I went to the University of Hard Knocks where I received my Doctorate.  My thesis is titled:  How To Survive Life’s Trials Without Killing Yourself or Someone Else.  I live by the belief that when life throws you a curve, learn from it rather than use it against yourself.  Faith and humor are my survival kit.  Appreciate the simple things for they are the true treasures of life.

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