There are no “Normal” People

Seriously. It’s a figment of the human mind.

Think about it: what would it really mean if you were to say I wasn’t “normal”? What you’d be saying (even though it wouldn’t be conscious thought) is that I don’t fit a norm – a norm that really resides in your head (I know it’s your head because I’m betting you haven’t actually read the exhaustive reference, 84,059 Characteristics of Normal People – for the simple reason that the book does not exist.) You’d be saying that I look or act too differently from your expectations, whatever they were, however you came about them.

To put it differently, if I appear “normal” to you, it means I do not really surprise you.

And that’s okay (after all, who likes unpleasant surprises?), except that you might not realise that my “normalcy” really says more about you than me. It’s more a comment on your experience and open-mindedness than anything else. In fact, others understand what we mean by “normal” only to the extent that they know us. And the more we know, the more we’ll consider “normal”.

So listen when people tell you how you can do what you’re trying to do. Let them tell you how you can be a better worker or manager, critic or cook, son or daughter or parent. But don’t, for the love of God, let anyone persuade you that you’re not “normal”. You might as well believe they can predict the pattern of your fingerprints by looking at your face.

After all, before you, there was no you: how could I possibly know what a normal you would look like?

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