Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Twice as hard. Just as normal.

Normal: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

Today I want to talk about the idea of normality. Our society has ingrained in us what a sense of normalcy should look like. Now, I consider myself to be a pretty normal person, most of the time. But what I find "normal" does not fit in society's definition of the word. 

I am an advocate for myself and for others who are just like me. I advocate for people with diabetes. I advocate for people with eating disorders. I advocate for mental health. I stand up for what I believe in at all costs. 

Yesterday at work, a co-worker asked me what it was like to always sway from what is normal. "Go to hell" is what I wanted to say, but instead I made her sit and listen to the answer I had for that question. 

As a diabetic, I have to take especially good care of my self. I have to check my blood sugar a dozen times a day in order to achieve optimal health. In order to prevent complications from diabetes in the future. In order to keep myself alive. Am I always perfect at it? Abso-fucking-lutely not. I'm human. I get things wrong. I allow myself room to make mistakes. But every time I do something beneficial to my health I don't contemplate if it is normal. It's my normal and I'm okay with that. 

NORMALLY, my blog is mostly about diabetes. But I want to throw in some talk about eating disorders today. Because talking about eating disorders makes people uncomfortable. Because talking about mental health makes people uncomfortable. Because for a very long time I was extremely uncomfortable talking about it. I was scared to be labeled and, more importantly, I was scared of not being "normal".

As a person recovering from an eating disorder, I slip up sometimes. Again, I'm not always perfect but I'm trying and that has to count for something. This post isn't really about me, though. It's about other people struggling. You're not alone. You are normal. Or maybe you aren't. And that's okay. You don't have to be normal, whatever that may mean. You just have to be the best you that you can be. You have to keep trying. You have to perpetuate truths and take a stand to end stigmas. These are some of my favorite quotes about not feeling like you have to conform to societal norms: 

"There's a notion I'd like to see buried: the ordinary person. Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person."-Alan Moore

"The normal is that which nobody quite is. If you listen to seemingly dull people very closely, you'll see that they're all mad in different and interesting ways, and are merely struggling to hide it."-Robert Anton Wilson

"Normal is how you perceive normal, not what others tell you is normal."-Sean Thomas

So there you have it, folks. Perception. It's all in how you look at it. It is subjective. So to all those people out there with eating disorders, don't feel discouraged about not being normal. You are just as normal as anyone else. You have to work twice as hard to be just as normal as someone without an eating disorder. You have to work twice as hard to be just as normal as someone with a fully functioning pancreas. In my opinion, that extra work gives me all the normalcy I need. I do it every day. It's my normal. 

Twice as hard. Just as normal.