[ 3 min read ]
Diary of an artist, Monday, July 15, 2019
Woke up 5:15 am
A “normal” life doesn’t exist to me. Neither does a “normal” family. They don’t exist to me because I dismissed the distinction between “normal” and “sick” as flawed. I no longer believe in such pathologies.
A pathology is a departure or deviation from a normal condition. The questions which almost nobody asks is “Who and based on what decides what is and what isn’t a normal condition?” and “What if we replaced the word ‘normal’ (which usually implies that things which are not normal are sick, invalid, not to be trusted, inferior), with the word ‘common’ or ‘usual’? What if instead of talking about a normal condition we talked about a common or usual condition? About the most common thing, and the way less common things?”
I think it would help a lot of those of us who doubt their sanity (normalcy) just because they decide to do things their way (not the way the majority does them).
I guess I accept the idea that there are pathologies as far as our bodies work. There is a certain way it all happens and when something doesn’t happen the way it is supposed to happen then we can speak of a pathology. A human being usually has two legs and two arms. Being born without arms and legs (or without fully formed arms and legs, as that’s the case usually) is a pathology. Although I can imagine a theory that nothing is a pathology. When something happens a certain way but it is not the way it usually happens (it happens only to a tiny fraction of us) it is just as “normal” (or “weird”) as the rest.
The thing is to be able to say that something is a pathology (a sick condition) we must first agree on what isn’t sick (i.e. on what is normal). We usually take for granted that what we agreed on as a culture makes sense and is the right way to look at or approach things. What if it is not? What if we questioned this agreement?
We agreed that having two parents is a normal condition and having only one parent isn’t. We agreed that, when you come from a middle class family (especially when you come from a middle class family), having a college education is is a normal condition and not having it isn’t. We agreed that having just one marriage in our lifetime is is a normal condition and having multiple marriages isn’t. We agreed that having just one career in our lifetime is a normal condition and changing careers (especially more than once) isn’t. We agreed that striving for a cozy middle class life in the suburbs is a normal condition and taking risk, chasing some “unrealistic” dream, struggling, isn’t. We agreed that retiring in our late 60s is a normal condition and not retiring in our late 60s isn’t. We agreed that treating work as something which is unpleasant and something everybody could do without is a normal condition and loving work isn’t. We agreed that having ambition in life is a normal condition and not having ambition isn’t. We agreed that having friends and so called social life is a normal condition and not having them isn’t. And so on and so forth.
What if all of this is bullshit?
Thus I never hope or wait for things to go back to “normal”. Because to me everything is neither normal, nor sick. I choose not to label the events of my life and whatever happens in my family as “normal” or “weird” (sick).
Thus I am no longer disappointed when things seem not “normal” in my life or in my family. Of course, I could continue to tell myself (like the vast majority of people) that things like “normal” life and “normal” family exist (continue to believe in this flawed concept) and feel the things they feel. The anxiety that something might break in my life or my family. And the shock and disappointment whenever something which doesn’t qualify as “normal” happens in our lives or family.
Music for this writing session: Max Richter (on spotify)