When reading the title of this blog you are probably wondering what the heck this is going to be about. You are well justified in this curiosity. During the early stages of the deterioration of my vision, I was in a constant search for “normalcy”. The questioning of “why me” and “why can’t I just be normal like everyone else” circled in my head, throwing me into a tornado of negativity. This quest for “normalcy” led me to begin questioning what is normal?
The answer to the question what is normal is one that would probably be answered differently by every single person. Is the smart kid in the class that goes home and performs science experiments for fun normal? Is the homeless man that sits for hours with a jar just hoping that someone will drop a few dollars in it normal? Is the guy that is a cross dresser normal? Is the guy in the wheelchair that has no use of his legs from a spinal cord injury normal? My answer to all of these questions is probably yes, so long as these people are comfortable in their own shoes.
Let’s look at the struggle for “normalcy” that I experienced. During the grade school years, everyone just wants to be “normal”. In reality, they are not seeking “normalcy”, they are seeking to be like everyone else because they have insecurities that others will pick on them and make fun of them if they are different. I was one of these individuals just seeking to be like everyone else. I thought of myself in the same way others thought of me. It wasn’t normal that I held the book up to my face . It wasn’t normal for me to use a monocular in the class room to attempt to see the chalkboard. It wasn’t normal to sit two feet in front of a big screen TV and it wasn’t normal that I couldn’t drive like everyone else. In my head I wasn’t “normal” and because of it I was the target of all the jokes, hazing and pranks. This really sucked and it definitely contributed to the downward spiral that made me contemplate whether life was worth living.
There became a point in this very low period of my life that I had a revolutionary moment that changed me. I finally realized that I will never be like everyone else and being legally blind was normal for me. This change in perception of what is “normal” is also the foundation of my CDifferentwithAaron mission. In my mind, I am “normal” and I want everyone else to “C” themselves different and be comfortable with who they are as well as be comfortable interacting with others in society that may be perceived as different.
Now, the reason this blog is named “Living in a Bubble” is because I live in a world where everyone else sees just like me. In my mind, I am normal like everyone else. The good thing about this mindset is that it eliminates the ability to make excuses and throw a pity party. Ideas such as,“They can see so its easier for them” or “Others should feel bad for me because I was given a crappy situation,” are thrown out the window. I am normal just like everyone else. I may need some accommodations and adaptations to complete some tasks but the end result is the same. “Normal,” is a perception not a status.
My challenge to each of you reading this blog is to throw out the "why can't I be like that person?" or "If I didn't have this debilitating condition I would be able to do so much more." These questions just wastes your time. I used to flood my brain with these type of thoughts and questions and all I was doing was filling my head with garbage. The reality is, "You are who you are," and questioning this or feeling bad about it only leads to depressive and self defeating thoughts. I challenge you to look at your world different. Think of yourself just like everyone else If you have chronic back pain just tell yourself that everyone else also is battling through the same chronic back pain. This way you have no reason to throw a pity party or not push yourself to your potential every single day. If you are paralyzed from the waste down, use the adaptive equipment and accommodations you have learned to accomplish the same tasks that everyone does. I understand that not everyone has a spinal cord injury or an amputated leg but using this as the primary determinant to what you can accomplish is exactly what defines disability. Rather, if you look at yourself as being in the same situation as everyone else in this world, you will continue to push yourself and strive to be the best YOU can be each and everyday.
If you have to put yourself in a bubble and be a "bubble boy" like me that is totally fine. Whatever helps you to reach your own given potential is all that matters. You are only abnormal if you let what others say make you believe that you are abnormal. BE YOURSELF, NOT WHAT OTHERS WANT YOU TO BE!