Normal — a word that holds its own interesting back story. As a girl living with a disability, growing up in sunny Southern California, all I wanted to be was “normal.” I wanted to look and walk just like my classmates. I wanted to be invisible; to blend in with those around me so no one would notice my limp or notice when I fell in the middle of the hallway (even though people often noticed this and just walked right by me). Whenever I had a choir concert, I wasn’t thinking about how we were going to sound, and I wasn’t nervous about my voice. I was nervous about having to step up onto the risers in front of an entire audience of people. I was nervous my choirmate in front of me would forget to help me up, and I’d have to stand awkwardly to the side until someone came to help me up. Then, I worried about having to get off the risers once our performance was done. When I went on a date, I wanted to be like every “normal” girl who didn’t have to worry about how she was going to tell this person that she had muscular dystrophy.
This was my definition of normal. Normal meant “like everyone else,” meaning “no disability.” As I get older, though, I realize more and more than there is no “normal.” Normal is a word society somehow created to make us all strive for something we will never attain because the wonderful truth about humanity is that we are all different. We all have our own issues and insecurities. Our families are probably all a little crazy in their own way. We’ve all overcome struggles. Being disabled just so happens to be mine.
I think I forget sometimes that I’m not the only one dealing with insecurities in the world. I forget that the beautiful, tall, perfectly proportioned girl who just walked by me in the mall probably has something she doesn’t like about herself. Women especially are bombarded with so many images of what’s considered beautiful in our society. An image that only about 1 percent will ever fit into. So straight out of the gate, we’re forced to try and overcome this perfect standard of beauty that’s placed on us. To not let it tell us we’re not worth anything because we don’t look like that ridiculous version of “normal.” So who am I to think I’m the only one dealing with some kind of insecurity?
So yeah, maybe I’m not “normal” but you know what that means? It means I’m unique. It means I’m me, and yes it means I’m different. We all are. And that … is a beautiful thing.