It's OK to be Normal
We haven’t spoken in a while.
We have caught glimpses of each other. I look at you when I am washing my face, applying my make up, or checking my teeth to make sure there is no parsley or thyme stuck between them.
But I never overstay my welcome. Perhaps, it’s because I am afraid of what I may find, or perhaps, what is more plausible; I already know what’s there.
Here’s the truth: your story has been told a thousand times, your life has been lived by a million others like you. You’re normal, you’re average, you’re a perfectly rounded product of the cookiecutter. No matter how hard you try to be unique and different; to have niche interests and a quirky personality, you turn around and find someone else just like you.
I was born a middle child as a result of an unexpected pregnancy with only 12 months separating me from my older sibling.
My mother was ordered to bed rest during the last few months of her pregnancy as I was pushing at her back. When I was born, people thought I was a boy because my cry was so “strong”. Imagine their disappointment at finding out that I was a girl.
When I was but a few months old, the gulf war broke out and my family had to move cities. It was a year of instability coupled with the looming terror of my father losing his job.
When the war was over, I gained another sister. My parents and relatives could not help but notice that she was developing at a much faster rate than I was.
I was three and I had not uttered a single word. I would point at things and make gestures, but I did not make a peep. My school teachers were concerned that perhaps I was attending the wrong school.
After doctor examinations, the dilemma revealed itself. My ears had been overproducing wax. I could not say a single word because I could not hear a single sound. For the first three years of my life I had been deaf to the world; blocked out and unable to communicate.
With my ear canals cleared out, I entered normalcy. I got good grades with me being top of my class or at least in the top five, made friends, and spent summers at the swimming pool. I passed the rites of passage of acne, high school celebrity crushes and discovering AIM and trolling people on the internet with a few bouts of insecurities splattered here and there.
Growing up, I traveled the world, read fantastic and terrible books, and learned a new language. I now hold a steady job with a few good acquaintances and not so clear career path or future.
I can sit here forever and swiftly list all the things I have done and all the experiences I have been through to prove how normal I am and how relatable I can be. By knowing only this about me, you can shelf me away as another 20-something millennial, end of story.
But, here’s what makes my normalcy OK:
I may seem normal, average or mediocre to you, but, I am not normal or average or mediocre to me
When I first learned the backstroke, I felt like an olympic swimmer letting myself go into the water and at the mercy of the waves. When I first got a pimple, my world was over because that led to more and more acne. When I graduated at the top of my class in highschool, I was so impressed with my accomplishments.
These are MY stories, these were MY choices and this is MY normal.
We are so obsessed with comparing ourselves to others, winning every competition and impressing people who we will never meet that we forget to impress, excite and fascinate the one person whose opinion actually matters: ME!
We can easily be overwhelmed by being one in seven-billion, how do you stand out?
I always remind myself of a quote by Rumi: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
Revel in your own ocean and swim along your own current. The ocean never worries about other drops, and neither should you.
So, next time I catch glimpses of myself in the mirror, I won’t quickly look away. Instead, I will hold my gaze and dig through what’s behind the mask. I will embrace my insecurities and jealousies, I will celebrate my brilliant imperfections and I will wander through my fantasies, because that is what makes me human.