Abnormality

What is normal? For this blog post, I shall limit the definition to physical appearance. A normal human being has two eyes, two ears, a nose, a mouth, a body, two hands and two feet. And you are normal if you can perform everything another human being can do.

So, what about those who are lacking in any of the above aspects? They could be born without a body part or have a health condition which prohibits them from functioning like any other human being.  Are they abnormal? If your answer to this question is yes, then I AM ABNORMAL.

For those who know me, I have a neurological condition which is similar to a case of cerebral palsy. Some of the symptoms I have include unsteady gait, difficulty with balancing, speech problem and involuntary movements (especially facial gestures).

I was very fortunate to grow up in a very sheltered environment where I was most shielded from the harsh stares and comments of others. But I was not spared these negative reactions when I became older and was more sensitive to other people’s perception of me.

I would be lying if I told you that I am strong enough to not feel anything when people stare or make unkind comments about my appearance. Even after dealing with this my entire life of more than four decades, I still feel the sting when people look at me strangely. It is like a stab at an old wound that never heals every time it happens.

For that reason, I totally respect Nick Vujicic on how positive he is despite his condition. I am amazed at how he has turned his abnormality into his biggest asset to tell his story and inspire people. He has transformed from being abnormal to extraordinary.

But I am no Nick Vujicic. Frankly, I am much luckier than most ‘abnormal’ people out there. At least, I am fully functional and can do many things on my own. I am thankful for that. But there are also days when I questioned God for my disability. I felt that I have been treated unfairly because I can do so much more if I were ‘normal’. I wish I could be many things that I am not. Sometimes, I watch with envy those who are ‘normal’. I am just being human.

At the end of the day, I realised that the important thing is that I picked myself up again after I fall and start the next day anew. It’s easier said than done. Sometimes, I succeed, sometimes, I don’t.

Every day is struggle for people like me. So, please be kind.

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13 Comments »

 
  • Amelia says:

    A touching first post. Glad that you have people around you that share their strength with you during trying times :) and by the way, I think your writing is abnormal too – Abnormally Amazing! 😀

    • Angie says:

      Thanks Amelia, such kind words and really glad that I’m doing this and having people like you who is supportive :)

  • Hey Angie, great first A-Z post.

    I admit I stared occasionally the first time I noticed a guy at work having these twitches. For him, it was mostly the shoulders and the neck, sometimes the eyes. I was sitting diagonally behind him and tried not to stare, but it wasn’t easy, and I thought, “At least he can’t see me staring.” Mostly, I was curious. What made him do that? What was his story? I certainly didn’t mean to offend him in any way, but I can see how a person with any sort of abnormality can take offense, or at least be hurt, by someone staring. Then I officially “met” him when we started working on a project together; he’s a great guy with a wicked sense of humour, and we’ve both changed employers since then – the same employer again. I’m going out to lunch with him tomorrow, and you know what I just realised, reading your post? I’ve never asked him what caused those twitches.

    I’d tell you not to worry about those who stare, that they don’t mean anything by it, but that’s easier said than done for those not affected by something similar. Remember: Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

    • Angie says:

      Hi Amos, yes, I do get people who stare out of curiosity and that’s fine. It’s human nature. I have met many people like that. Some even went as far as asking me outright what’s wrong with me. That’s fine with me because at least they are honest about their interest and do not form thoughts about me without getting to know me first. Interestingly, some of these people I’ve met are those I call my friends now. So, it’s really no harm being ‘curious’ about ‘abnormal’ people like me which is very similar to what you’ve experienced.

      But there are those who stare and already have a pre-perceived notion about people like me. Like, oh, she must have some sort of brain damage or something like that. I have even met people who spoke slowly (delibrately) to me just cos they thought I was retarded. Now, that’s mean. I hope to share my experiences so that more people can be aware and try to refrain themselves from jumping to conclusions when sizing up someone like me. Another friend of mine also made an interesting observation after reading this post. She said that by sharing with people about my condition upfront, it helps people who don’t know me to get past it quickly and get to know the real me; but of course I can’t go round giving everyone I meet a long lecture about my condition, hahaha. Anyway, it’s good to get such positive feedback on this post. Please share and thanks for your support. Much appreciated. :)

  • Sara says:

    Thank you for making yourself vulnerable by sharing your story. You are an inspiration simply for shedding light on something most of us have no first-hand knowledge of. I try to teach my kids and students that there is no “abnormal”, just differences. Great post!

    • Angie says:

      Thanks Sara, it’s wonderful to know that you see the ‘differences’. In fact, young children have no idea what abnormality is. These ideas are put into their heads as they grow and it is people like you that ensures the ‘right’ ideas are implanted within them. Thank you for your efforts :)

  • Anna Stewart says:

    Normal is over-rated…I don’t think it exists to be honest. Some differences are just less surface than others. I liked your first post and will hope to see more from you this month. :-)

    • Angie says:

      Thanks Anna, well, it’s the physical abnormalities that’s more prominent and perhaps call to attention too quickly (the wrong kind). Glad you liked it.

  • anna says:

    *hugs Agnes*

    Behind the screen, no one knows about your abnormality! You have a great gift with words and I’m sure when people finally meet you your talent will shine through despite appearances.

  • […] I had my first taste of jealousy when my friend got invited to birthday parties and I didn’t. That was during my teenage years. Then I graduated to being jealous of co-workers for getting promoted because they could speak well and was prettier than I was, even though I could do a better job than them with my eyes closed. But, being timid, I never had the guts to fight back because I never thought for a second that it would change the situation due to my condition (See my first post A for Abnormality dated 1 April 2014). […]

  • Kristen Dyrr says:

    This is a beautiful post! In my mind, we are all “abnormal” in one way or another. It’s just that some people hide their “abnormalities.” I mean, I’ve always been very weird. I just don’t think the way other people do. In fact, a very cruel teacher I had in fifth grade used to scream in my face, calling me a “DUMMY!!” and “RETARD!!” just because I was so quiet and different. I ended up becoming a computer and software engineer, and now a writer. And I can’t really blame those who want to hide their differences, because they would be at risk of being treated horribly if they didn’t. And those who treat others horribly sometimes have the very problems they tease others for. They are just afraid of people finding out, so they attack instead. So, it’s all sort of relative. attack causes more attacking, but sometimes love and sympathy can heal those who attack, and stop the cycle.

    Random Musings from the KristenHead — A is for ‘Almost Human’ (and Action and Androids)

  • Frenchie says:

    Reminds me of a beautiful tagline a friend put on her e-mails:

    Be kinder than necessary for everyone is fighting some kind of battle.

 

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