What is with the word normal?

I keep hearing the word normal in contexts that leave me increasingly agitated. So, I looked it up and here is what dictionary.com has listed:


[nawr-muh l]


1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

2. serving to establish a standard.


My whole life, I’ve had it in my head that there was some ideal body, a standard of beauty, some example to serve as a beacon of normalness. This notion of *normal* is why I fostered years of shame. And as it turns out, there ain’t no such thing. I mean yes, we are bombarded with images in magazines, in movies, on TV of gorgeous folk with awesomely sculpted bodies. But this isn’t “normal.” Those people are either photoshopped or spend hours of their lives in the gym with trainers working their asses off. They aren’t bad guys for doing this, but the rest of us aren’t bad guys either cause we don’t.

For survival, the idea is that we all keep our hearts pumping at a steady rate with unobstructed blood flow to the various parts of our bodies. Apparently x # of minutes a week makes this possible along with a “healthy” diet. Hours on end in the gym is a career choice, one somehow married to a public life in Hollywood. But “normal” is something else altogether.

If what I hear regularly on the news is true, that there is an obesity epidemic, well then I’m actually closer to normal than my thinner friends. My body is what is common, and in cultures and times gone by, ideal. Good for breeding, a sign of wealth, and a whole host of other things that until film became a thing, were desirable. But even still, I say screw normal, mine, yours or anybody else’s. I don’t want to be normal. It dawned on me only recently that I have never sought to be normal in any area of my life. I have always wanted to be unique, extraordinary, special. So do I still. I want to be healthy sure, and feel good about myself. But I don’t need to look like a top model or Hollywood actor. I want to embrace my imperfections and know that we are all perfectly imperfect.

So who cares about being normal? I certainly do not. It’s an arbitrary idea, unachievable, divisive.


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