What is “normal?” I certainly have no idea. Between ADHD, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and an autoimmune disorder, there isn’t one person in my household who could be deemed “normal.” But then, I reflect on that, and find that my family likely is normal, because there is no such thing, right? We are all unique individuals — there is no group of people who are exactly alike to serve as a control group, a definition of “normal.” Individuality negates normal. [more…]
To define normal is to use a law of averages, which means not one person is “normal.” Or, the idea of “normal” is a fictitious ideal used to place judgement.
Every time I hear the word “normal,” I cringe. I just hate it. I wish we could do away with the word altogether. When discussing ADHD, I’m careful to use the term “neurotypical,” instead of “normal.” Even then, I don’t think that’s accurate either. How do we define neurotypical? How do we define the ideal brain physiology and the ideal brain chemistry to certify an example of neurotypical? We can’t.
You see, we only use these terms, normal and neurotypical, to call out and define differences. When I talk about my kids relative to ADHD, I say that my son, Ricochet, has ADHD and my daughter, Warrior Girl, is neurotypical. As it relates to ADHD, I suppose that’s a true statement. Warrior Girl doesn’t have ADHD. But, she does have some wicked anxiety, and that’s a neurological difference, too. So, I use her as the example of “normalcy” between my children, yet she has neurological differences, as well.
Again, I come full circle back to the fact that there is no “normal.” It’s simply a word we use to quantify comparisons; it’s a baseline void of definition. It’s a word we use to say that someone is less or more. The term “average” would be much more correct.
I have heard my son say he wishes he could be “normal” at times, and it breaks my heart. We all have our weaknesses — his just happens to be ADHD and learning disabilities, like dysgraphia. We all have something we are great at too though. Ricochet is smart and funny and loves science. He’s no more normal in his gifts than in his weaknesses. Not being normal in giftedness is a positive thing, yet a lack of normalcy in ways society deems unacceptable (inattentive, impulsive, hyperactive) turns that difference somehow negative.
I struggle immensely with the idea of normalcy. I grieve that my kids don’t know how being “normal” feels, not even for one day. I get angry at the idea that their lack of “normal” is assumed to be a negative. I fight back against the idea of normalcy and relative inferiority the only way I know how: with the written word, here on this blog, in ADDitude Magazine, and on the pages of my books.
What else can be done? As Warrior Parents, we can’t fight normal, because we have no idea what it is. And, because it doesn’t exist anyway.
Normal. Meh. I prefer extraordinary anyway.