Adjectives are a common part of our daily lives. They surround us in literature, movies, and chats with friends. We see beautiful scenery, couples that share endearing love with one another, and delectable food. One could argue that adjectives are overused or thrown about carelessly. That people may even use them when there are better ways of describing things. They are a part of our vocabulary. They are essential for evoking memories from the past. They also carry us away on the wings to places that cause us to understand the person in a fashion that simple words would not do.
One such adjective would be “normal.” We use it to describe days, places, things and even people and relationships. But does the context to which the word calls forth actually exist? What is normal? We hear health professionals use it to describe weight, height, body types, sexuality, and mental conditions. If we’re called normal, we fit in. If we’re called abnormal, horrible images are conjured. This word also implies that there is a range of variations that are acceptable. It also implies that there is a societal or biological right way to be. Since no two people or situations are exactly the same, we start off with a fallacy and try to bend a word to encompass it.
This misconception allows larger groups of people to punish or marginalize those that do not fit their view. These people throw words like deviant around to describe those “different types.” This creates a mentality for us to try to fit in, to be “normal.” If we do then we are not ostracized or singled out. The disease of being normal pervades every group or construct in humanity. None are safe from its influences.
Even marginalized groups fall back to using this term. Pull up any dating app, website, or social media platform and you will see a host of people who are looking for “normal” types. Our own LGBTQ community is rife with this attitude. This is what creates the dissension among each of us. Gay guys dont want someone who is feminine or fat because it breakes they normal. It is the same with those who cast out trans men or women because they do not fit their ideal of normality. It seems we have become so obsessed with the term that we cannot accept someone for their differences. We are all guilty of it at some level.
Why do we have this ideal in the first place? It’s because we’re given it from those we put in positions of knowledge and influence. As kids, our parents took us to doctors who used the term as a way to describe that we were on track with or behind other children in our development. School counselors used it to say our grades were where they thought they should be. Media bakes it into us on a daily basis. So, we blindly accept that which we are told is acceptable without thought to challenge it. Instead we opt for the security that the narrow band of perception is the only way to be.
The same can be said for relationships. We have been forced to accept an antiquated book that implies that the only right or normal relationship is the one that involves only ONE man and ONE woman. Anything else is an abomination and abhorrent. It’s reinforced by the people around us who adopt this mindset to show the public. Truth is, many behind closed doors do not follow that codified belief. Why should we? Should a religion, that’s based on a group of people trying to control others, tell us how we should love and live our lives? I can sit here and admit that because of my upbringing, when someone says they have a polyamourous relationship or that they have two partners, I cast some kind of judgement on it not being normal. Am I happy with this sitting in judgement? No I am not and I work to change that daily.
It is mind boggling how one book that was supposedly written some 2000+ years ago can have such a strong effect on us. Especially when we can look at numbers in the U.S. and see there are a large amount of functional illiterate people. One would think there would be more weight placed on a dictionary than a book with outdated and outmoded beliefs, that very few even understand in the first place.
Would it not be better to look at things under the labels of is it safe, is it consensual, and is it legal. Granted the legal part can change, to some degrees. But if we only use normal as our primary defining characteristic we run the risk of missing out on some very important life altering events. We also can miss some amazing people. Especially since preference is oftentimes based on this same view of normality. It would be better to accept the person or relationship for its differences and see what it can teach us. Not just live with something you’re taught that has no actual basis in reality. It is time that we change our ways of thinking and what “normal” actually is?