Just Be Normal
Just be normal.
Laugh at other people’s jokes.
What if I can’t, he asked.
Try harder, they answered.
Try with everything you have.
I am trying.
Be like us.
Say hello when someone talks to you.
Hug people good-bye.
What if hugging makes my skin feel like fire?
Do it anyway. Do it, because it’s the right thing to do, no matter the heat.
Be a regular college student!
Go to pep rallies and football games.
Stop flicking your fingers/flapping your hands/rocking back and forth. It makes people nervous.
You make people nervous.
You should hide who you really are so the rest of us feel good.
Be like us. Be normal.
What does normal mean?
Sit very still during class. Don’t ask too many questions.
It’s not that loud in here, you’re just too sensitive.
I know you’re in college, but you aren’t ready for relationship yet.
Dating is a big deal. You wouldn’t understand it.
Wash your hands throughout the day.
Just don’t wash them too many times because that is weird and called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and there is medicine for that so your brain stops telling you about the germs and your skin doesn’t turn red and raw.
But don’t take the medicine because it is bad for you.
It is a quick fix.
It means you didn’t try hard enough.
But what if I need it?
Try with your whole entire self.
Why do you check the weather all the time? Why are you so afraid of thunderstorms?
It’s just in your head. You need to stop worrying so much. Anxiety isn’t real. It’s something doctors made up as an answer to everyone’s problems.
What you feel is not real.
Are you a savant? Like Rainman?
Can you play the piano? Paint masterpieces? Write symphonies?
You must be good at math. All people with autism are good at math.
I hate math.
What do you mean, you don’t play sports? How about basketball, or soccer, or even tennis?
Do you have trophies?
Trophies tell people how strong they are.
Did you make the honor roll?
The honor roll tells people how smart they are.
I am strong.
I am smart.
Don’t talk about your diagnosis. It makes people uncomfortable. Don’t talk about the doctors and the tests and the words Autism Spectrum Disorder stamped all over the paperwork.
Keep it a secret. Hide.
I don’t want to hide.
It’s better this way.
You don’t look like you have autism.
You just look like you don’t have any self-control and you are rude and loud.
I have autism.
Everyone has autism these days.
Just be normal, okay?
Keep your body still.
Lower your voice.
Eat what is served.
But what if the food all mixed up feels like bugs in my mouth?
Just try one bite. One bite never hurt anybody!
Don’t you want all the same things the rest of us want?
Be a normal kid who will grow into a normal man and get married and have more normal kids.
Be like us. Think like us. Move like us. Feel the way we do.
It’s better this way. It’s better for the rest of us. We don’t have to look deep inside ourselves and figure out all the reasons we are afraid to be different.
Our way is the best way.
But maybe, he said, my way is good too.
Show us, they said.
Okay, he said.
I don’t like the ocean but I do like to swim.
I am scared of loud noises but I love how red and blue fireworks streak across the night sky.
I may be afraid, and yet I am fearless.
I have autism.
I don’t want to hide.
After all, what is normal for a cloud is chaos to the sun.
There is no such thing as normal.
With these words, the air changes color.
April 10, 2023 @ 9:16 am
There is no such thing as normal, that’s for sure! And if there was such a thing as normal, who decides what it is? I know I’m not qualified.
April 10, 2023 @ 12:05 pm
April 10, 2023 @ 1:05 pm
“what is normal for a cloud is chaos to the sun” PERFECT. I have hated the word NORMAL for 16 years. Thank you for posting your life experiences as your words have been SCREAMING inside my head for years with no outlet.
April 23, 2023 @ 9:45 am
What do you use or do, besides blogging, to manage your stress in dealing with this type of selfish rhetoric?
April 23, 2023 @ 10:03 am
I do a lot of running! Also yoga.