What is Normal?

Whose Definition is it any way?

By Sara Jane

Many years ago, as a teenager, my parents ran a small hotel in Torquay, Devon.

During June, we had a small groups come to stay of Nuns and ladies who were “Mentally Handicapped” (the old terminology).

Even then I remember thinking who is the one with the handicap, they were taken care of, they were kept safe and were encouraged to go out and experience – seemed like a great life to me and I felt that those of us that went out to work were the ones with the greatest handicap.

Fast forward to 2000 and the terminology had changed to “Learning Disability/Difficulty”.

I started volunteering for Poole Council as a Shared Carer/Befriender with adults with learning disabilities and remember having a conversation with one of my ladies about my teenage experience and thoughts.

Although her initial reaction to the old terminology wasn’t good, by the time I had finished sharing my feelings of the time, she was more relaxed and smiled, understanding what I was saying.

We all have things we are good at and those things we struggle with.

Who is anyone to judge another if they struggle with technology or can’t paint or play a musical instrument.

We are not all here to be surgeons, architects, maestros, firemen, racing drivers, ballet dancers and the list could go on & on.

What is your normal is not someone else’s normal; we all have our own normal; that which is normal for us.

There are many people that society labels as not normal but they have their own strengths, some of them are far more capable in some areas than people who have studied for years. They have an innate ability that enables them to do things without training.

Some of the most brilliant people have no common sense, they would struggle to boil an egg but that is overlooked because of their brilliance.

I struggled at school, back then I felt useless, no good at anything because most of the time what was highlighted was what I couldn’t do, the things I struggled with, rather than those things that I was good at.

The more we concentrate on what children and adults can do, the more confident they become and the more each will be able to do.

So what if you can’t paint or dance or play an instrument, so what if you struggle with complicated maths or learning languages.

Find what you enjoy, be true to your gifts, that is your normal.

Copyright © Sara Jane 2017

Marinya