“But she looks so normal”. They’re words I’ve heard a million times. Ok, probably not a million, but it would be getting close. And each and every time I hear it, it makes me want to scream and hurl things, Hulk style. Not great in polite society.
I usually just brush it off, because what do you say? How do you explain the hours of therapy Poss has put in to be perceived that way? How can you compress five years worth of work into a sentence or two?
It might seem like a throw away line, maybe even a compliment, but it actually minimises all that Poss does to get through each and every day, to succeed, to simply be her.
But if I did say something? If I did choose to open that door and try and find the words to explain? It would be maybe something like this…
Firstly, it actually doesn’t matter how ‘normal’ Poss looks. Or acts. Or sounds. She is who she is, in all her fabulousness; the good, the bad, the better. The tall, the blond, the sensory seeking, the short hair, the gymnast, the autism, the mine crafter, the joker, the smart kid.
She’s all of these things, and a million things more. Inextricably linked, smushed together, impossible to pull one without impacting the others.
But normal? Who knows. What does that mean anyway?
It’s an expectation that doesn’t really exist. Your normal is going to be different from my normal, and that will be different to your best friend, your neighbour and your sister’s normal.
Your perspective on the world is shaped by so many things, all unique to each of us. Even the day to day things that most of us experience will differ, will alter depending on who we are, who bought us up, our family and the list goes on.
And what does normal look like? What are you supposed to be looking for when people say that? Is it a particular hair cut? The way someone walks? Or talks? Surely there are so many variables of all these things, that picking just one, or even an average, would be impossible.
Someone once told me that normal is nothing but a dryer setting, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s for clothes, it’s not for people. Normal is nothing.
Now let’s agree to never say that sentence again.