One of my sisters told me that normal is healthy and good for you. My thought after she said that to me was that she must live a fucking miserable existence. My belief is that normal is relative to each person's circumstances and psychological state. This means that normal for grew-up-in-chaos is different from normal that developed-in-stability. A warring nation's normal differs from a peaceful entity's normal.
This idea that normal is only that which is healthy and good is a very limiting belief. It's indicative of a closed thought process. After I felt angry with my sister for saying it, I felt concern for her thought methods. She's an adult and can care for herself. She's intelligent, witty, and nurturing. In addition, she thinks in black and white sometimes. Normal is good. Not normal is bad. That's black-and-white thinking. What concerns me is that this type of thinking extends to other parts of life.
For instance, she also touched on this idea that, deep down, everyone knows when a situation is shameful or disrespectful for involved parties. I told her that I disagree with this thought. I said, "In fact, that's victim blaming at its finest." Seriously? You're going to tell me that someone in an abusive situation knows deep down that it's disrespectful for the abuser to abuse him/her? So then it's his/her fault because he/she does not recognize the disrespect and leave the situation? Bullshit.
Some people grow up in situations that do not deliver self-esteem. Some people must develop their own confidence through many different situations. Telling a person it's his or her fault that he or she experiences abuse merely keeps the person down. It's completely disrespectful of what got the person to that abusive situation in the first place. Yes, ultimately, it is up to the person to leave the situation. And yes, ultimately, the person may realize that deep down he or she knew the situation wasn't healthy or respectful or good. That's information to pass along when the person is ready to understand and receive that message. Laying it out across the board -- before a person develops self-awareness or self-esteem or self-respect -- that's inconsiderate of natural human processes. Would you shove a two-year-old off a swing because he/she didn't swing fast enough? [I hope you wouldn't.] Shoving "you knew better" into someone's psyche is like pushing that kid from his or her swing with, "You knew to swing faster."
It's easy for me to feel angry with my sister. It's cake for me to come up with all manner of [caustic] adjectives to describe her views. The truth is, I love that lady. I don't want her to think thoughts that limit expression. Normal one year may be different from another year's normal. That's ok. Don't tell me it's not good! If that's not good, then what the hell are we doing living our lives? Were all of our past years not good because they aren't normal by today's standards? What's the point in hating our past or criticizing it with venom? Constructive criticism and appreciation for mistakes and failures are important. Knowing bad from good is essential. That doesn't mean that everything has to fit today's concept of good or bad in order to qualify as normal.
The part that confuses me sometimes is when I extend these inside-self beliefs to the outside world. Like, normal varies. Except that normal from a social justice perspective shouldn't vary. Humans in all countries deserve respect and justice. That should be normal. [Shrug.] I don't know how to reconcile my two parts of normal.
Maybe I don't need to reconcile them. Perhaps they can rest as their own entities, both true at the same time.
Well hello there.