Different is the new normal

What does it mean to be normal? What does it mean to be different? These are big questions in any discussion about autism and autism awareness.

I like what Kristin has to say on the matter (the emphasis is hers):

“Normal” is such a complicated word.

We each grow up with our own entrenched ideas of what normal is, which means, of course, there is no such thing. Yet the world loves to pretend like there is—if normal doesn’t exist, exactly, then at least there’s a perceived ideal normalcy that we should all strive for, or even pretend to have grasped….

There is no “normal”—at least not in a societal sense—and we need to stop pretending there is. We need to stop talking about it, observing the world through it, and assuming it as we report on and read the news.

Most of all, we actively need to teach our kids to identify the falacies embedded in “normal,” and see through to the other side…. We need to embrace rather than hide what makes us different. We need to prove to the world that what they see as “messed up” can be a very beautiful thing.

What I like even more is that Kristin is not talking about autism here, or any other disability for that matter. These are not questions limited to autism and autism awareness, they are questions for us as a whole.

Different, as Kristin says, is the new normal. Time to get used to it.

9 thoughts on “Different is the new normal

  1. Speaking as someone who grew up ‘normal’ – FINALLY a post I can relate to! Why is everyone so anxious to conform to societal whim? Often like any large company or government bureaucracy, NORMAL means lethargic, un-creative, repetitive, and impossibly BORING.

    Are those really the characteristics that we would wish on our worst enemies, much less our own children and friends. Good post – Keep Blogging! W.C.C.


  2. I recall wanting a bumper sticker saying “normal is over-rated” because I got so tired of hearing it when we first started this journey.


  3. A friend told me “the only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well”.


  4. I’m glad you liked my post! I love being able to see how the life I live and things I think about intersect with the lives and thoughts of others, even though to the casual observer our lives probably look very different. This is when different becomes really powerful—when we realize that being different is the thing we have in common, the thing that helps us connect and feel compassion for each other.

    You’re doing an important thing here with your blog—keep at it!


  5. @Rose,

    In college, I had a button that said, “Why be normal”, and another “I’m not strange, you are”. Same sentiment.

    (btw, I still wear a button that says “I refuse to grow up” on my jean jacket.


  6. @Kristin,

    I had wanted to call the post “Different is the new normal” and figured I should check to see if it had been used (which I was sure it had). I was very pleased to find your post with that title, it was perfect for the message I am trying to get across.

    Thanks for the kind words, and keep on blogging!


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