This is the question Jeanette Winterson‘s mother asks of her after she reveals that she is gay.
It’s a question that probably a lot of family members silently ask themselves when ever someone they love begins living a lifestyle that, in many ways, runs counter to the ‘normal‘ expectations held out for them.
When in comparison, a respected life full of frustrated denial, would appear, on the surface, as being ‘oh so much better.’
Well if not ‘oh so much better’ then at least a thousand degree’s closer to being normal…. right?
Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. Wrong….. And…. Uh….. Once ……Again……..Wrong.
I’d say it’s a pretty normal desire to want to live your life free of prejudice and discrimination while going about the daily business of following your own personal hopes and dreams.
But if you’re not convinced by that, here are few other reasons why it’s wrong to equate normalcy with being happy.
Firstly, being normal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
After all, the term ‘being normal’ in and of itself, requires that there also be an accompanying ‘abnormal’ somewhere out there.
So as far as coining a term for happiness goes, ‘being normal’ isn’t exactly a term that leads one on to assume limitless joy. Far from it. Instead it leads one to automatically conjure up unpleasant images of it’s counterpart.
Secondly, being normal doesn’t necessarily prevent you from living a life free of frustrated denial.
Ever hear the story about the mother who longed to be studying at university but instead found herself looking after children 24 hours a day?
Now we may consider her life normal but it’s a form of normal that’s also a thousand miles away from being free of the frustration of having one’s hopes and personal needs denied.
And thirdly, really, just what is it, that we consider to be normal these days anyway?
There are people out there making their cats wear costumes and play piano’s while videoing it just so they can put it on the internet because they think it’s cute.
Now I ask you, is that normal?…………….( Well yes maybe once is OK).
I guess the point I am trying to make is, that apart from anything else, I don’t think happiness is really an equation that requires normalcy to balance out it’s other side.
Or to put it another way, happiness and normalcy are not two sides of the one coin nor opposite ends of the same sea-saw.
Happiness is simply not an either or proposition.
It is not,
Gay/Different = Unhappy…… or …….. Heterosexual/Normal = Happy
We all know that there are plenty of happy Gay folks out there and just as many miserable straight ones too.
So what would happen…..,
If we decided to make being happy…..,
Instead of trying to equate being normal with happiness?
Put quite simply,
We could reverse the equation,
In such a way,
That doing anything that makes you,
As a person happy,
Could become the predominant norm.
In which case any and all routes to happiness could be incorporated within the realms of normalcy ……..
Normal [living a life following the strict delineations of normalcy handed to you by others at all times] = Happy…..
Happy [living your life in any way that makes you happy] = Normal ……
Which equation would you rather be tied too?
- Normal has to include justice and equality (kaieteurnewsonline.com)
- Normal, Unique, & Crazy (michelewhitney.wordpress.com)
- Thoughts: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson (bonjourcass.com)
- ‘Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?’ by Jeanette Winterson (rowenadunn.wordpress.com)
- Guilty Happiness (seayoga.wordpress.com)
- All She Needs is Love (sylviagardner.wordpress.com)
- Misery is the new Happy (merakristina.wordpress.com)