I’m not sure what ‘normal’ looks like, but I know most people aren’t, and that’s a good thing. We struggle. We have ups and downs. But the pressure of mainstream demands us to do more, be thinner, look younger when older. Sleep more, sleep less. Exercise. Be more successful.
By the way, what is success? More $$, bigger, better?!?
I don’t believe success is equated in such a way because it leaves out our dreams, creativity, and our lineage. We forget we have an innate, built-in, brilliant soul shouting on a constant repeat every time we dream.
As Maya Angelou writes, “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
What is normal for you is different for me, and that’s beautiful.
There’s pressure nearly every time I go on social media to fit into a very sharp and narrow way of thinking.
For instance, I’m blasted with advertisements from the mental health field offering yet another ‘master’ class for five easy-peasy steps to overcome your anger, depression, anxiety, etc.
What if a person needs their anger to overcome their hurts?
What if a person’s depression is the weight of not doing what they want to do? But the pressures of trying to be ‘normal’ presses them into a box and increases their anxiety because they aren’t f’n ‘normal’ by the standards of some patriarchal abnormality?!?!
Also, I’m tired of insurance companies charging more and demanding mental healthcare to be done quickly and efficiently. It’s like putting a rubber band around an intergenerational wound.
And then telling a person, “Sure you’re gonna keep bleeding, and yeah, more shit will get into that gaping hole. But hey, you’re only allotted ten sessions because the medical model is so outdated, it doesn’t factor in your past; let alone your ancestors, trauma, and society’s influence.”
What I know, and I’ve seen this over and over again, is to acknowledge the teeny-tiny steps of self-awareness which guide us to our normal, such as:
One of my dreams is to have society respect and financially support these creative and artistic endeavors that run wild within us.
Another one of my dreams is to let people know we are human, and humans are messy creatures. We are diverse, intelligent, creative, depressed, anxious, angry, happy, silly, musical, obsessive, self-doubting, sad, scientific, philosophical souls.
I find all this to be beautiful and the art of what is normal. Let’s set the pigeons free from their holes.
Article originally featured on Medium via New Choices.
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also the author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."