After not seeing each other for several years, we finally found the time, a reason and a place to get together and chat for an hour face to face.
It's funny the impressions you form of who or what your friends are as a child.
Growing up in Clifton, if a friend of yours wasn't in your neighborhood chances are you didn't know their family or their real lives unless you were related or your parents were friends and you were always at each others houses.
This friend was from the other side of town. I didn't know her life.
As far as I was concerned - her life was AWESOME!
She always had a smile on her face. She was the quiet, pretty one who was always friendly and said hello in the hallway passing between classes. She clearly had it all together.
It wasn't until we connected again on Facebook, and she started reading my blog that we learned that we had so much more in common than we ever knew. Life in our houses growing up wasn't fun and happy and sunshine and birdies singing - it was chaos! Chaos was our normal.
Who knew we shared a similar "normal" growing up. Who knew we both struggled in our lives to find a new "normal?" An acceptable normal? A normal we didn't know growing up.
Have you ever though about your normal? Or even the normal of a child who's been abused their entire life? They grow up thinking that's just the way it is. It's how everyone's life is. Isn't it?
Everyone's got a different idea of what normal is and if your normal is chaos - how the hell do you get out of THAT? You KNOW things are different in other people's houses. Who's right? What's real?
TRUTH: I don't ever want to be what society deems "normal." Society's normal becomes a new normal every day. I have enough trouble trying to break free of my own learned "normal" - and NOT be the "normal" I grew up with.
I went to a family wedding recently and joked (on the square) that our family is a freak show. Spin the wheel of freak and you don't know where you're going to land. Round and round she goes, where she stops, no one knows....
Oh, so you don't think I'm a freak or awkward??
Well.... Let me tell you, if I don't know you, when we first meet you may think I'm quiet. Trust me I am not quiet. I assure you - I am clamoring for conversation. As I am clamoring I am mentally talking myself down from the ledge of idiocy.
What to say, what to say?? Remember the movie "Dirty Dancing" the line "I carried a watermelon." Yeah, that'd be me. No clue what to say, so I say the first random thing that pops into my head from the last time I saw a person. "Sooooooo... how's your storage unit?" WHAT?? Yes, that has really happened in my life. Shortly after that, I tripped up a flight of stairs.
Yes - I'm a totally social awkward, freak. I always have to think extra long and hard before speaking. Not just think...think and rethink - should I say that? Should I really? Is it bad? Is it offensive? Will it cause controversy? Will I piss someone off? Should I just shut up, smile and nod - say nothing?
I've beaten myself up over my awkwardness for years, but it is what it is. I know where it comes from. I've seen it in action so many times. I've been embarrassed by it, I've rolled my eyes so hard I swear they would stick in the back of my head. It was a part of "normal" growing up. My brother also suffers the same effects of our "normal." The words will come out and then it's... HOLY SHIT - I REALLY just said that. Too late now...
I have grown and come farther than the learned behavior growing up, but not as far as I'd like to be. It's a daily struggle. I work hard to break the pattern. I never want to embarrass my children.
This is just a small portion of my "normal." One of the things I can discuss publicly.
We all have a "normal" that we're either overcoming, working to overcome, or accepting as a part of who we are.
"Normal" IS just a setting on the dryer.
Everyone's "normal" is different.
It's all about what we're able to deal with, and if it works (or not) in your life.
For now, go out be your own "normal".
If you have a freak flag like I do - waive it high and proud!
Do no harm <3
Thank you for reading my blog!!