Have you ever felt like there was something wrong with you, that you were different from other people, didn’t fit in?
Today I’m going to convince you of how normal you are, compared to at least one person you know: Me.
According to popular opinion, I’m different from normal people in the following ways.
1. Sunshine on my shoulder does not make me happy. I get overheated easily.
Normal people prefer sunny days to cloudy ones, and can even become depressed without enough exposure to sunlight.
In contrast, the first and ONLY time I went to Hawaii, I kissed the ground when I finally got back to the cloudy, cooler mainland.
Indoors, it’s the opposite; I love bright lights. I’m usually the only one in any given room who doesn’t want the institutional lighting turned off.
2. Marriage, kids, a house, retirement. Yes, technically no, no and double-no.
Statistically speaking, it’s normal to dream of having any or all of the above. But I’m not normal…
Marriage always struck me as unwise before the age of 50, so I waited till then to marry. How normal is that? Given my singlehood, I didn’t get around to producing any children of my own, but I’m gifted with a wonderful stepdaughter.
Then there’s other people’s dream of owning a home. It’s not mine. Houses require upkeep, and who’s going to do that when I can barely commit to flossing my own teeth?
Retirement? That’s for people who don’t love their work. Not me.
3. Food. I’m the only person I’ve ever met who actively avoids Italian restaurants.
I’m not big on tomatoes, pasta, cheese or bread, so instead of being a kid in a candy store, when I go out for Italian I’m like a kid in an insurance agency. Not normal.
Italian and Chinese are two of the most popular ethnic cuisines in the U.S. and they are at the very bottom of my list of favorites, lagging far behind Japanese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and — well, you name it, I’d rather eat it.
A few other abnormalities to mention:
4. Fear of public speaking. This is the Number One fear of normal people.
I enjoy public speaking. It’s not that I like attention, it’s that when I’m speaking I assume no one is paying attention. I don’t believe they’re evaluating or judging me as I speak. (If I’m wrong about this, please don’t tell me.)
When I was in my high school band, the conductor once said to me after a performance, “Tina, you seem to think you’re invisible back there in the percussion section. What makes you think the audience can’t see you goofing around? You’re on the top riser and you’re tall!”
I was shocked by his words, and embarrassed to be called out like that.
I know it’s not normal, but I feel comfortably invisible even in the spotlight.
5. Fear of dying alone is another very normal concern.
If I die alone, I won’t know it. What am I missing, people?
6. Showering every day. Most Americans do this.
I hate showering. I do it as infrequently as possible, and almost never in the morning — I can’t face it in the morning.
You have to get completely undressed and soaking wet. You have to concentrate on what you’re doing, so you wash each place exactly once, not missing any. SO tedious.
I thought of the idea for my first book while I was in the shower. Who knows how many places I forgot to wash that day?
Anyway, then you have to dry off carefully and get dressed all over again, staying mentally present enough to remember to put on your deodorant before you put on your clothes.
I should have a T-shirt that says, “Bathing: A boring, time-sucking chore.”
I could go on, but I think that’s enough to prove that you’re more normal than I am. If you’re not, then we’re in this together. Yay!
The next time you feel like an outsider, remember you always have something in common with others.
Most of us fit in better than we think.