(Response Essay to my Normal is Weird post)
I’ve already introduced all of you to the concept that normal is weird, because to be weird in this daily world has become the equivalent to being normal. Now I wish to expand on that. Sometimes being normal by the more dictionary definition of it is now the oddity. I wouldn’t say I’m normal by older standards. I still share traits that match up to today’s norm of weird from having a stuffed animal collection and binge watching anime series on Netflix or Crunchyroll rather than Stranger Things or Game of Thrones, but it’s also very clear that just because you are today’s definition of unique doesn’t mean you’ll fit in with other “unique” individuals. In fact, I’d argue that because we’ve become so obsessed with being this weird standard of different as normal, it makes it harder and harder to latch on to any form of connection or normalcy. See people often associated conformity with a negative connotation. Being conformed to a societal view of normal is today’s version of selling out on yourself or being a follower, but at the same time, I’d argue that why is that so wrong?
Today more and more people are identifying themselves as introverts and borderline agoraphobic, and yet, people can connect on that basis. It doesn’t make it easy, but don’t mistake any form of conformity as a weakness, an oppressive concept on your right to be different. Because in doing so, it’s now become up to these so-called non-conformists to connect without connecting. See, sometimes conform is simply that, adaptation, and that’s not an unhealthy thing. You don’t want to lose yourself in conforming, but don’t be so afraid of conforming that you hide what makes you beautiful. It’s like a twisted cycle. Susie likes to bake, but she doesn’t want to be identified as a baker lest she be put in a set bubble. Yet, in doing so, she misses out on the advantages of at least interacting with that bubble. People tell us not to be ashamed of who we truly are but then, say don’t follow the crowd as though these two things are automatically connected. You can follow a crowd and still be proud of yourself.
I don’t identify well with people my age, because I feel constantly rejected when I do, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to connect to them at all. Yes, it’s often disappointing when they follow the pattern I expect, but I’ve also found that talking to some of the people I’d expect to reject my mindset has led to friendships I’d never trade and wouldn’t have gained without the courage to risk “conforming”. Conforming can be negative. It can be giving up yourself to place on a mask to fit in, but conforming can also mean opening your mind to a world you’d otherwise be too scared to touch in your current “weird as normal” lifestyle. The only way we can grow is to listen, absorb, change, and learn. There are things I felt back as a child that I’ve since learned aren’t cookie-cutter set in stone. There’s things I’ve learned in the last year that aren’t what my mindset thought was accurate a year ago, but the only way I came to that conclusion was to open my mind to these truths that if I stayed stuck in my current state would’ve been placed aside for my own stubborn “truths”.
So, don’t be so afraid of the word “conform”. Don’t be so afraid to fit a societal definition of normal that isn’t equating normal to self-identifying ourselves as unique. Yes, we are unique. Yes, we have self-assigned identities as well as societal assigned identities, but guess what? Who ever said you needed to be only one? No one can fit in just one identity. That’s not how our biology works. We are built to adapt into our current situation, and you can do that without losing yourself in trying so desperately to conform. Rather than thinking of it as a constantly switching mask, try to think of it as a constantly switching wardrobe. Try to think of it as becoming you at your most confident in each role because guess what? You can be your most confident form in each identity without selling yourself out in the process. The facet of a mother differs than that of a wife or a daughter but that doesn’t mean she has to lose the traits that make up her in those role shifts. Be you as the most confident in each part of you. Stop being so afraid to conform that you isolate yourself in your uniqueness because while there will never be another one quite like you, no one expects you to thrive in that alone. If you’re a mathlete, find the other mathletes. If you’re a music junkie, find those who also get that spiritual high off an indie album or an oldie-but-a-goodie. Be you, be unique and amazing, but continue that trend in growing it in number. If you think you’re alone in it, try putting it out there. Not every time will you find a winner in the circle you are surrounded by, but more likely than not, you will eventually. So yes, normal is still weird, but at the same time, it’s okay to be the societal definition of normal, too.