In high school, when I told my best friend my plans to leave home in snowy Minnesota and head somewhere warm to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, she had some harsh words for me.
“Why can’t you just be normal like everyone else and go to college here?”
Because that sounds dreadful, predictable, stagnant, cold, and nothing like who I am.
But she didn’t hear me.
Most recently, I heard the words from my mother, who does not approve of my being in a relationship with someone whose skin is a different color than mine—it's almost comical, except it's tragic, especially at this point in our lives.
“Why can’t you just be normal like everyone else and marry a white man?”
Because I did that and I was miserable and now I’m really in love and happy.
But she didn’t hear me.
I think when people say normal they actually mean typical or average, neither of which I’ve never wanted to be. For me, not-fitting-in has been a lifetime in the making and I'm not about to let that go. I’ve always been drawn to the road less traveled, the abnormal, the atypical, the eccentric, the dreamers, the artists, the visionaries, and the freaks.
I’ve been questioned and prodded about my choices and I've actually tried very hard to be normal and it never worked. I always go back to what my heart wants. Whether it’s the creaky old house I live in, the odd variety of jobs I take, the people I love, or staying home alone and painting my bedroom on Thanksgiving.
The fact is people want to feel comfortable around us and when we choose things that sort of rock their world, it makes them uncomfortable. Maybe it makes them question their own choices, or maybe it brings up their own desire to not fit in so perfectly. It really has very little do with us. To assume there is a normal way of life, and to judge others is a form of denial. It's denying the beautiful differences and freedom of choice that we have been given. It is denying love, honesty, growth, and acceptance. It is a way of disconnecting from others and leading isolated lives.
I am learning to live with my choices and love who I am. I am learning to be open to what comes to me when I ask the Universe. I am about letting go of the past and what others might want for me. I am about the artists, the writers, the dreamers, the freaks. I only wish I had started earlier.