Normal’s Overrated

My great friend gave me the tee shirt I’m wearing in the new photo.

On OKCupid as part of their personality quiz you’re asked if you’d rather be normal or weird. I clicked off normal. I didn’t get anywhere on that dating website and later found out it’s mostly only for hook-ups.

Yet I still think coveting normalcy is a trap as a response to getting a diagnosis. The truth is we’re free to live our lives. We can fight discrimination against individuals living with a mental illness.

It’s time to throw off this cloak that covers people in the idea that the diagnosis of schizophrenia is a big bad evil. The diagnosis is a valid term for a medical condition.

The quicker a person realizes they can have a full and robust life the better off they’ll be. Buying into the myth that the diagnosis is a label and a stigma is the one true way to stay trapped.

In one way normal IS overrated: what passes for normal in society is not normal. Hate, violence, anger, and racism are not normal.

There has to be a better way. A friend tells me he’s confident that the arc of history and the progress of our government will right themselves. I’m skeptical that any kind of change will come soon if at all.

I’m not keen to judge people and as a rule I want to abstain from this. In this regard I do think normal’s overrated.

I’m reminded of the children’s picture book Swimmy where the fish was different and banded together the other fish to swim together proudly.

Like the song “Different Colors” that’s played on the radio now I think it’s time to celebrate each other.

Celebrating ourselves in recovery is the way to go.

In this season of celebration I say: it’s time to celebrate ourselves as living works of art.

It’s time to be proud of who we are even if we don’t see ourselves reflected in media accounts.


Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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