A guest post from Josh Langley.
What is normal? What is it to fit in?
And who are these standardised members of society quietly making their contribution and then just as quietly slipping away into the ether?
I don’t think they exist.
While society often expects most people to be compliant, play by the rules and not make too much fuss, it’s clear most of us don’t fit that mould.
We live on the fringes, play on the sidelines and march to the unruly beat of our own handmade drum. While we may feel as though we’re never quite accepted by mainstream society the truth is, it’s good that we don’t. In fact no-one really fits in. You quietly ask anyone, no matter how ‘normal’ they seem, and even they would admit they have no idea what’s going on and feel they don’t measure up or fit in in some way.
Being normal is a myth. Being okay with who you are is the truth.
I grew up feeling very different from many other kids. I was short, wore glasses, took a long time to learn new concepts, and sat inside my head most of the time day dreaming. A dysfunctional family life didn’t help matters and I’ve since had to do a lot of soul-searching. Only recently have I started to finally be happy with who I am. It’s an ongoing process and that’s why I write my kids books. They are a letter to my younger self to let him know that he’s just fine the way he is.
Only recently have I started to finally be happy with who I am. It’s an ongoing process and that’s why I write my kids books. They are a letter to my younger self to let him know that he’s just fine the way he is.
I now take that message to young kids in primary schools throughout Western Australia where I’ve met a lot of children on the autism spectrum. I feel it’s important for them to know they are fine the way they are. I think acceptance of who you are releases the internal resistance to ‘what is’. When we reach that acceptance, whether it’s as a parent, carer or someone with autism, a certain freedom arises.
I’ve had many parents email and Facebook me to say that it’s the first time their child has read or heard something that tells them it’s OK to be who they are, not matter how different they may be.
I’ve realised that the world is made of people from a huge pea and ham soup of differences and each of one of them is ‘normal’ in their own way. Sure, different treatments and strategies help people function and thrive in our complicated society, but they’re still who they are. It’s when we accept who we are, warts, dysfunctions and all that the internal peace can arise. Then we can achieve anything, no matter the perceived limitations.
About Josh Langley
Josh Langley is the author of the ground-breaking children’s’ books, Being You is Enough and It’s Ok to Feel the Way You Do. He’s also an award-winning radio copywriter, runs his own advertising creative business, and has published 6 books. Find out more at www.joshlangley.com.au.