Someone Else's Normal

Flickr: ume-y

Flickr: ume-y

I’ve broken the rule I’ve been told all writers are supposed to follow.

“Write everyday. It may be shit, and you may eventually edit it out, but you need to write.”

I’m not a traditional writer. I’m not penning a novel or authoring research articles. I’m a blogger, not even a professional blogger. So, it stands to reason that the rules don’t necessarily apply to me like they do to others. I’m a firm believer that a story should not be written unless it has journeyed from another universe, into the abyss of dark matter, buried itself in you soul to mature and is now bursting to get out like a fucking butterfly from its cocoon. Then, you should write.

So it’s not that I couldn’t write. Just that I had nothing to write about. Life was completely ordinary. Ordinary for me, anyway. I worked, went to roller derby practice, had a doctor’s appointment (that was not actually an ordinary appointment, but that’s another story), spent Thanksgiving with friends. All completely normal. For me.

That’s the thing. It’s my normal.

I don’t remember how old I was when I first really understood that every person I saw had a daily life, a routine completely unique to them, but for some reason I do remember the epiphany occurred in a grocery store. That makes perfect sense to me. Everyone needs groceries. It’s an equalizer of sorts. We walk into the store and we’re suddenly united in a purpose, but we leave and it’s off to completely different lives. Even in a town this size, it’s very rare I meet someone in a grocery store that I’m likely to encounter when I leave. I climb into my high-safety-rating SUV and drive off to the burbs, unloading my goods in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood with my husband and my dog.

Some people that leave that same place are not so lucky. There is a steady stream of taxis outside to escort people home that can’t afford to save up hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time to buy a car, so they end up spending more money on a taxi any time they need food and supplies for their families. Then there was the woman I saw dousing herself with Lysol. En face, It sounds hilarious, but then again she probably didn’t have anywhere to go to shower.

At home now, I’m sitting with my laptop next to my Christmas tree. I love the holidays. Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Everything sparkles and everyone joins me in my love for penguins. I won’t get to see my family this year, but they are still there and we’ll get to chat and Skype while we open gifts and watch Christmas movies.

For others, this is the worst time of year. For some, seeing ads filled with families reminds them they are alone. Others see carts full of toys pass them by and it reminds them they barely have enough to put food on the table, much less give their children everything they asked for from Santa.

I don’t want to be a downer. No one want to feel guilty because they have while others don’t. Downward comparison doesn’t help anything. So what does help? Awareness. My normal is not like your normal and your normal is not anyone else’s normal. There are seven billion normals in the world right now. The more aware of this we are, the more patient and understanding we become. We can step outside of ourselves and see the world for what it is, billions of people just trying to get by and do the best they can, one day at a time.