As a poor kid growing up, all I wanted was to be normal. I wanted to have a nice house with indoor plumbing. I wanted nice clothes. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be what I perceived to be normal. This was not to be. I have always been anything but normal. I am happy to admit that at this point in my life.
In elementary school, I excelled. I thank all of my teachers for giving me confidence and for recognizing that the not-normal-kid in the classroom did have a brain. I consistently scored the highest and performed academically better than others. It felt wonderful, not to be normal. As I entered middle school, I was still a scrawny, not normal, kid who tried not to draw attention to myself. I still excelled academically. But, I also began to be a leader in clubs and in other activities. My mind and my work ethic were certainly the only things that were going to save me, as I was still anything but normal!
In high school, I got a job. I got a car. I continued to do very well in school. I also got a boyfriend. I had friends who wanted to sit by me at lunch. I had great success with my peers. When senior year came, I had been part of the homecoming queen court, prom queen court, was voted Most Likely to Succeed, and yes, also voted Best Body. I was president of both the French and Spanish Clubs. Things were looking up. I still was not normal.
I went to college. I loved it. I had found my niche. I loved to debate. I loved to learn. I wanted to be a Spanish teacher. I did just that. As a teacher, for 16 years, I met so many wonderful students who also, like me, simply wanted to be accepted and normal. I made it my goal to make all of those not-normal kids feel accepted and special.
I became the President of the Association (teachers’ union) while I was a teacher. I was a voice for all of the teachers in my school. I became active at the state level. I soon was chosen by my UniServ Director (my current position with ISTA) to participate in the intern program. I absolutely loved it. I had gotten my Master’s degree, I had married and had 2 great children. I was still not normal. I successfully completed the intern program and got my first job with the Indiana State Teachers Association in Jasper, Indiana. I have now worked in 35 different school corporations. I serve as the voice for over 2,000 members. My next goals are to get a PhD. and to run for State Representative. I have loved politics for years. I am still not normal.
I met with my wonderful friends from Spencer Pride. They accepted me as a member of the Board of Directors. I continue to meet wonderful, not normal, people in my role with Spencer Pride. We are achieving wonderful things for people of all ages, races, sexual preference, and more through Spencer Pride.
So, I ask again…What is normal? Who wants to be normal? Even those people who set the expectations for what is considered normal are not normal themselves. We are all flawed, imperfect, and working to be the best we can be in our own circumstances. If I had an opportunity to go through life as a normal person, I would NEVER do it! I invite every person to not be normal. Do not let anyone dull your sparkle.
Normal is nothing more than a perception.
Normal is boring.
Hats off to the not-normal people who make the world go around!