When being “normal” is defined as being yourself, then what could possibly be wrong with being normal? Nothing! The reason why I choose to define being normal as being yourself is you first learn how to be your normal self; that is, the person who you really are. People in the postmodern epoch are fervently concerned with trying to be “different.” Unfortunately, their efforts to try to be different cause them to become people alien to their authentic self.
In “What White Publishers Won’t Print,” Zora Neale Hurston writes, “Difference is misreading of sameness, but it must be represented in order to be erased. The resistance to finding out that the other is the same springs out of the reluctance to admit that the same is other.” Many people’s efforts to appear to be different take them away from realizing the full power and potential of being who they really are. One shouldn’t feel compelled to attempt to be different—you’re already different when you’re born. When you try to be different, you’re really just attempting to be like everyone else; you’re striving for societal and peer acceptance, which many believe it requires doing the same things others are doing to maintain their cool pose.
Dr. Cornel West says, “Too many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth and love.” While Dr. West’s statement is profound without any modifications, I contend that it’s not only young people who “have an addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth, and loves,” but also a tremendous number of adults embrace the superficial over the substantial. Many grown 20 to 50 year old men and women are still uncomfortable being themselves, so they elect to adopt identities they feel society will adore. These identities are masked by their pronouncements that they’re “different.” They say they’re different to protect themselves from charges that they’re not being themselves. If you genuinely desire to be different, then simply be who you are—do and say what comes natural.
Being normal is not being average. Living a false image of being different is average; in fact, it’s below average.
Resist the postmodern American impulse to be who society says you have to be. It’s okay to be who you are. You will find that you will live a happier life when you make the choice to be who you really are.
Are you really able to tell someone who you really are?
There’s nothing wrong with improving yourself, but you should never deny yourself the opportunity to experience the true freedom to live life without limitations, borders and boundaries.
Be happy. Be free. Be you.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison