"Normal"? ...whatever

i know there are many people with bp who suffer
from it more than i do, and that i was born lucky
in terms of my family, and was fortunate to get
to see such an excellent specialist for my diagnosis
and the process of finding suitable meds...

but i think was also fortunate enough/ immature
enough/ whatever enough to have consciously
decided decades before i was diagnosed that
"normal", on its' best day, was wildly over-rated.

"normal" to me was high school- a place i regarded
as a concentration camp of the mind, an institution
full of stupid rules and bullies of every age and size,
seething with ignorance, petty jealousies and fear.

"normal" was what i encountered working my way
through school as a janitor, and the major
corporations i worked for before deciding
to create my own life.

above - ye olde belle curve

"normal" people started wars. "normal" people
thought being rich was a reason for living. they
didn't like anything that threatened their desperate
need for certainties. they were afraid of grappling
with serious questions about the fundamental
assumptions that propped up their world view.

they were afraid of the edge. they were afraid
of death. they were afraid of themselves, ultimately.

i remember many years ago, talking with a friend
one night on acid when he said "you know man,
you're never out of high school" and it was chilling -
in the way that only a profound revelation that
resonates in your bones can be...

above - normal tonsils

he was right. since then i've heard the same basic
premise from others but more importantly, i've
seen the proof of it over and over and over again.

and as i've learned more about my own diagnosis,
i've also learned that many of my heroes and heroines
over the years in the arts and sciences and politics
have also struggled with depression and bipolar
disorder and host of other mental illnesses while
they were creating work that touched my soul
and changed the world in ways large and small...

from them, and from friends and others along the way
over the years, i've developed what i think of
as a healthy disrespect for "normal"...

but of course, i'm "mentally ill". i'm "crazy".
i'm "manic depressive". i'm the one on medication.


below - penis/normal & not

one side effect of my bad attitude though has been
the disarming of the "normal", in the sense that
i don't give the word or the people who identify
with the power to hurt me anymore, and i certainly
don't think they are in any way "better" than i am,
in any sense of the word.

their words are just that - words, that i can listen to
without endangering myself, keeping what seems
reasonable or that resonates with me and
disregarding what doesn't.

i reject most of their attitudes and especially their
judgements about mental people out of hand.
in 99% of the occasions i encounter them,
they are out-dated, ill-informed, demi-literate
and self-serving. when most people who think
they are "normal" talk about mental illness,
their first priority is to distance the term,
the possibility from themselves...

above - stools/normal & not

we the diagnosed don't have that option.
we HAVE to face those "possibilities" and we have
to internalize them, incorporate them into our
sense of self and carry on. every day.
every night.

i think it accounts for the openness and honesty
that draws me back to this site so often. and if
today i am more upset about it than i usually allow myself to be, it's because i keep encountering people
who have been and are being effectively tormented
by "normal" people, including those like friends
and family from whom they have reason
to expect something better...

or at least that they would not make it worse.


i'm not normal. i never was normal and i've never
wanted to be normal. and if that's why i'm the one
on medication, fine.

the beat goes on...

"Normal"?  ...whatever part 2








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