It’s okay to be you

It’s so hard to fit in these days, isn’t it? Not just for kids but for adults as well. Now more than ever, we are scoping out Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and every other social media platform, and comparing ourselves to everyone else. For kids, it’s who has the latest techy device, for teens it’s who has the most drama and the best room/car/boyfriend/biggest friend list/makeup… the list goes on. For adults it’s who has the most successful career, the nicest home (straight out of a magazine), the children who’ve excelled the most. It’s a constant comparison game.

When I was in school I never wanted to let others know that I was visually impaired (Side trip… my cousin hates that term so he uses the word “blindish.” Anyway, back to the main road…) I did what ever I had to do to fit in and not let it be known that I was ‘blindish’. If that meant being on a team that always lost, at least I didn’t have to admit I couldn’t see the volley ball. If I got in trouble for constantly being late to class, it was better than confessing that I had difficulty finding the classroom. If someone waved at me from across the hall and I didn’t see them, I preferred they saw me as a snob than admit I didn’t see them.

Reading this now, it seems so ridiculous to think I preferred to be all the wrong things so long as I didn’t have to be me. I never was a part of blind schools or camps or support groups growing up. We all thought that it was best to live life as “normal” as possible. The school wanted my parents to put me in special classes for more challenged students. My parents didn’t think I should have to do that since my challenges were not with learning. I had enough vision then to read large print until later in high school, so that’s what I used. Obviously after lugging around those huge books, people were bound to notice I had a vision problem. Then as I got to where I couldn’t read print anymore, I had to leave the classroom to go have another teacher who helped students read me my papers and text books. So of course, it became an issue of “hey, how come she gets to leave?” every time I had to leave the room.

Once I got out of high school, I vowed I was never letting people know about my blindness again. I never felt ok with who I was or how I was. I just wanted to be “normal”. What does that even look like? We all have our “normal.” It might be normal for me to go grocery shopping once a week, but you go once a month… whose normal? It might be normal for you to go out to lunch with friends twice a week but I go once every other month, who is normal? My parents had two kids but my husband’s parents had four, who’s normal?

Normal is what is “your” normal. That might be wearing jeans and a T-shirt every single day or it might be wearing a suit every single day. Your normal could be putting on your glasses to see where you are going or grabbing your white cane to see where you are going. Your normal could be taking your kids to school everyday or it could be spoon feeding your child who is a quadriplegic. You see, everyone has a normal. It’s okay to be your kind of normal. It’s okay for me to be my kind of normal. God made each of us in His image. Genesis chapter 1 and verse 27 says, “so God created man in His own image…” He designed each of us in HIS image. We wouldn’t dare tell an artist such as Pablo Picasso that his work wasn’t normal. We would never tell a writer such as Ernest Hemingway that his work wasn’t normal. In fact, it’s the “out of the box” viewpoints of these men that made them so very legendary. They didn’t see the world in a “normal” way and that is what made them so brilliant. Friends, it’s ok to be your brand of normal. It’s ok for your kids to shine in all of their special qualities that make them… them. Embrace the “normalness” of your life so that it can BE normal for the rest of your life. God created all of us. Remember who you are and whose you are.

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