Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Your Personal Normal

In watching a movie last night I was smacked in the face with a realization. Everyone lives in their own personal state of normal. The people that really smell no longer smell the stench because they are used to it. It has become their normal. While others are horrified of how they stink, they are unable to smell anything out of place. The people that live in houses full of hoard are able to deny how bad it is not due just to denial but because it has become what they are accustomed too. It is their own personal normal. The woman that has an alcoholic husband most likely has had an alcoholic parent making her life with the dysfunction seem normal. That doesn't mean it isn't painful or damaging. It just means we turn a blind eye to it. We become hardened by it. It becomes our version of normal.
Why are we so surprised when the many of the kids in the inner cities get in trouble or become gang members? If all they have seen day after day is drug addicted parents or gang violence does it not become their version of normal. It would horrify most of us the things these children have seen or lived through but then that is not something we have experienced on a daily basis. It damages and hardens them, it is sadly their normal. Until someone shows them a different path to a different normal. Sometimes it is hard to see that the things we do or live with may not in fact be normal to others. They may even be harmful. Humans have an uncanny way to adapt. As such we conform to our surroundings. Our habits change and if not brought to our attention can become common place. Case in point at some point I have picked up the mouth of a sailor. I curse way too much. I am not talking about dropping something on your foot or stepping on a leggo in the middle of the night while trying to get to the bathroom. I curse in almost every conversation. I don't even realize I do it. It has become my normal. There is nothing really wrong with cursing except I really don't want my children to grow up not being able to hold a conversation without dropping the f bomb every few sentences. I can just see their first job interview.

Hi, Mr. Brown, thanks for @&$&@ seeing me today. I am really @&$@&$ excited to work for your @$&&@$&@$@ company.....

If normal for me is to curse all the time it becomes normal for my children to hear it and eventually repeat it. If normal for you is to live in an abusive situation it will be normal for your children to repeat it or live with it as adults. Our normal becomes their normal and the cycle goes on. Maybe the best option is to take a deep breath. Close our eyes, count to three and really look at what we as adults are doing and saying. Is this what we want to pass on to our children? Is this something we need to change? Is this an acceptable normal that will make them happy for the rest of their lives? Words are powerful. They promote change, prevent riots, start wars, calm fears, spread love and understanding. What words should we be giving others as tools in their lives? Actions are powerful. They are what compels us to do what we do? Are we doing what we should? Are we giving what we need too? Are we being the role models we wish we had as children?
Is our own personal normal damaged or healthy? Helpful or harmful? If it is bad shouldn't we try to change that? Don't we owe it to not only ourselves but those that come after us to at least attempt to change our personal normal to something greater. I don't want to be hardened at the pain I have endured. That would make it impossible to empathize with those who are hurting. I don't want to turn a blind eye to suffering. That would make it impossible for me to reach out and help others. I don't want to live in abuse because my children would be more likely to do so as well. I don't want to be oblivious and comfortable to everything around me because then I would no longer see it and be able to change it for the better. I am changing my own personal normal. To be happy, to be stronger, to be a positive role model, to learn to be patient, to try to not curse as much,and to not be hardened by things around me. I need to really look at myself and what I am giving the world. what am I offering to others? A clear representation of who I am? A helpful caring person? An advocate? A poddy mouth? I am going to be all that I can be. This will be my normal from now on. What will be yours?
                                                           Neurotic Nelly


  1. Reminds me of Jodie Foster's movie "Nell" where her normal was far outside the world's normal. You're so right about how our own concepts of normal can interfere with being able to understand other people's perspectives.

  2. Thank you Jennifer! I love the movie Nell.