Today I came across a blog post by the lovely Emmy in which she talks about the difficulties she has about explaining where she is from/what exactly made her her. I couldn’t explain it either, there is only one thing I remember about growing up which is still with me in some way – wanting to feel normal.
There is not one single definition as to what makes a life normal and another one abnormal. There are definitions as to what the adjective ‘normal’ refers to but what is a normal human being? How does he/she feel? I guess many people think of themselves as different, so here is my tale.
The first time I felt different was in kindergarten when I was asked what my father’s job was and I couldn’t answer. At that time he still lived with me and mom but I had no clue as to what his job was since he spent most of his time at home but not like a stay at home parent. All I knew was that he was not really unemployed but not really employed either as he was doing stuff that wasn’t cool. Kindergarten!Me didn’t know what to make of it so I said I didn’t exactly know; the first of many such explanations. All I wanted was to be able to say, hey, my dad is a police man, a firefighter, construction worker, secretary etc. but I couldn’t because it wasn’t the truth.
I knew from an early age that my parents weren’t happily married; in fact one of my first memories is seeing my father shove my mom into a wall so hard it left a crack in it. I heard them yelling at each other too many times, mostly about money. To this day I don’t know everything but I know enough to be sure he was an ass. The rest, I really do not want to know. I have no idea why my mom didn’t divorce him sooner but once he moved out of the house I was glad. However it was another thing that said I wasn’t normal – my parents were separated whereas all my friends at school had mostly happy families with parents that were still married and living together without yelling at each other all the time. I wanted that so badly.
In 2003 I had to have surgery on my hip which meant I didn’t have to go on the class trip to France (which I was more than happy about) but it also meant I was running around on crutches for the better part of that year, having physical therapy and all sorts of stuff. Regarding medical issues one can have, my hip dysplasia is a light weight but nevertheless none of the other kids had to explain why they needed surgery. When they were on crutches, it was because they had broken a bone or sprained their ankle like normal kids/teens.
Of course this post couldn’t be complete without talking about being gay since it took me so long to accept that about myself. I have a very specific memory of thinking “Please don’t let me be gay, please, I want to be like everyone else”. I was in fifth or sixth grade by then, maybe even younger. So for the next ten years I wasn’t gay, I was trying to find boys exciting but I failed miserably. When a boy tried to kiss me (at least I think that’s what he was doing) in seventh grade, I just ran away. I had no problem flirting with him over text messages but heaven forbid we were face to face. Back then, I didn’t realise why I ran away from him, or why I didn’t feel what I was supposed to feel about the next one, in retrospect it makes sense though.
To this day I feel like the odd kid out, I frequently cannot remember German words while I know the exact right phrase in English. I watch shows that none of the people around me have watched whereas I don’t keep up with crappy reality TV like everyone else. There are things I feel like someone my age should have experience by now, like falling in love, being in a relationship, going on a date and all that stuff. I don’t have a father anymore, or a mother. I keep the biggest part of my online life secret from most people in my life except my closest friends because they don’t understand why I live online like this. I hardly ever felt normal. I still don’t. Maybe that is a lot of bullshit, lots of people have weird things going on in their lives, I am by far an exception and normalcy is overrated anyway. Just sometimes I’d like to be able to see the normal, easy road ahead of me instead of the unpaved road I usually travel on.