“If you are always trying to be normal,
you will never know how amazing you can be”
A Retrospective Post…
I remember hearing of the passing of Maya Angelou on the news, back in May 2014. As I listened to all the news correspondents recounting her life story I was reminded how extraordinary a human being she was.
I remember reading one of her many books, ‘I know Why the Caged Birds Sing’. This was truly a sad, yet powerful and inspirational story and I hope that my reflection today in some way pays homage to her.
My last blog focused on the challenges that my son is currently addressing. However, I remember sharing this quote with him around the time of Maya Angelou’s passing. It was timely for us both because he was struggling with this need to be ‘normal’ and ‘just like everyone else’. When I came across it I was so excited, I thought it was just what he needed to hear at that time. I called him and asked him to read it out loud to me. He read it out loud I asked him to repeat it, and again, and again.
You see, he believes that being ‘different’ is a bad thing – because he is not academic (we’re working on helping him to change that belief!) So I wanted him to hear himself repeating this quote so that it could begin to register in his being that ‘normal’ is not the endorsement for happiness and success, and that if he stays stuck on being ‘normal’ he will never allow himself to tap into his amazing!
As I prepared this piece I heard myself thinking, ‘the illusion of normality’, so I looked it up to see if I had coined a phrase – no such luck! What I came across instead is that this is actually a real study, dated back to 1976. The abstract begins as follows:
‘Normality is a general neurosis taught to civilised man to protect him from devastating realisations about himself. Once learned, he uses this neurosis to conceal from himself his own state of human frailty…[It] is a modern totem through which we claim kinship with the mythically unblemished and invincible ones, and cover from ourselves our own vulnerabilty in a world which is not ours and which will go on without us after we are gone…’ (Rhodes, 1976)
Read it and weep, ‘politrickers’!
Normal is an ILLUSION!!!
Say it with me, ‘I AM AMAZING!’
Rhodes, W. C. (1976). The Illusion of Normality. Behavioral Disorders, Vol 2 (Issue 2), pg’s. 122-129