Friday, September 12, 2014

Being Normal but not the Norm

Back a few years ago I had thought about writing a book called “The rants of an insanely normal woman.” I had come to the conclusion that despite all my idiosyncrasies I was for the most part “normal.” However, upon further introspection I realized I may be normal, but I am not the norm, and can be thoroughly grateful of that fact.

In my opinion, (which is why it's posted on this site,) society has some fairly strange ideas. I was told recently by a good friend, that “normal is just a setting on a clothes drier.” What's funny about that is when I looked at my drier AND washer, neither had a “normal” setting. The closest I could find was “Regular” on the washer! I say all of this to say, really folks, what is “normal” in today's world?

On the other hand, I think it's easier to define “norm” than “normal.” A definition I found from Princeton says: “Social norms are the behaviors and cues within a society or group. This sociological term has been defined as "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.” By stating there is no such thing as “normal” we need to accept the fact that social norms are cultural, and people who claim to be “counter culture” in America are now “the norm.” 

I really dislike politics, especially when people become sectarian about it. Notice I didn't use the word “partisan” because that would denote someone being a dyed in the wool (you fill in the party.) I am fine with people who hold strongly to their personal political and cultural leanings. I can appreciate those who are clear in their views and opinions, I believe...... everyone has a right to be wrong, including me. I've heard the word “tolerance” thrown around a great deal, and how those who don't agree with a certain viewpoint are “intolerant.” I just don't understand how someone who claims to be tolerant; vehemently so, can even conceive of calling someone “intolerant.” I mean, isn't calling someone “intolerant” being a bit intolerant yourself? Why can't we be civil and understanding about differing opinions? Why can't we politely attempt to persuade someone toward our viewpoint without resorting to name calling, and then be willing to agree to disagree when needed?

Okay, so what started all of this was an off handed question, which then morphed into an informal survey of people at work. My answer to the question, was obviously not the “norm” and I was blatantly in the minority as others were polled. Although all done in good fun and no offense committed, I was reminded of being normal, but not the norm in this situation. There are many social norms in today's world that I do not adhere to because I have personally held beliefs that dictate my thoughts and actions. One of the biggest ones for me is, just because the majority believes it, doesn't mean I should. The other.... everyone has the right to be wrong. Ya know come to think of it, after writing all of this I've decided some folks should probably be approached in the “delicate” cycle, since on my drier... there is no normal and I'm okay with that.


  1. Love it! Yes, we are normal but we don't always fit in with societal norms.

  2. You definitely hit the nail on the head. Normal is not related to societal norms. I hope I'm normal too but I base truths and values biblically so maybe that makes me normal in God's eyes and not man's.