No Normal Life

I’m seventeen and I don’t know how to drive a car. Every time I see two parents talking to one another without screaming, I gaze in awe. I haven’t gone to Prom and I doubt that I will.

Sometimes I wonder how my childhood would have been if not for my mom. What would it have been like to grow up in an environment entrenched in caring as opposed to cruelty? Which friends might I have met, who might have I turned out to be, what might I have done? With only a few months left before my eighteenth birthday, every chance I have to experience an average life is slipping away.

I hope posting this isn't too politically incorrect...

I hope posting this isn’t too politically incorrect… oh, mother.

Occasionally, I worry. I know I’ll already be behind when it comes to driving. I’ll never be able to bring a boyfriend home to meet my parents – unless I want us both to get kicked out. There are doubts sprinkled in my future, disseminating like light rain drops, clouding up what could be.

But, what’s made me different is what’s made me who I am. If not for my mother, maybe I wouldn’t have ever fallen in love with literature. If not for my struggle to accept my sexuality, perhaps I wouldn’t be as passionate about making a difference for others who face discrimination. I should thank my mom for providing me with the first step and allowing me to fall in love with academia and psychology and writing.

Lately I’ve had my concerns; I’ve held thoughts that I didn’t know how to put into words. Now that I’ve submitted my college applications, what’s my next move? What can I do that will really make a difference, that will propel me forward in life and in learning?

My New Year’s Resolution includes many things – writing more every day, for example. But though I’ve already accepted who I am, what my goals are, etc. I now need to fully embrace the fact that I will live no normal life. I will have to learn to drive when I’m an adult, I’ll never know what it’s like to have two parents who can hold a conversation without hurting each other, and I may not attend Prom or bring home a boyfriend or wear skinny jeans to school.

That’s okay, though. These are all first-world problems, imposed by my own relative expectations. I’m much happier anyway, all normalcy aside.

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47 Comments

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47 responses to “No Normal Life

  1. I hope you do write more every day. And from what I read, I like who you are.

  2. Robert McCaffrey

    I wish I had half as many fans when I was seventeen! Thank god you are not normal. The normal ones peak at 18-21 because they are almost never introspective. You will make your own life and it will be good.

    • Ha, what fans? And hm, that’s interesting, I suppose that means a lot of people peak in college – we’ll see how that plays out. Thank you for your support!

  3. If it makes you feel any better I’m 22 and turning 23 next month and I still don’t have a driver’s license. I guess for me I’ve always preferred to take public transportation where I can because I love it. You learn so much from observing people. Funnily enough I worry about the same things that you do now that I’ve graduated from University, what and where now? I know I need and want a break, but after that’s over then what? From personal experience I can say that don’t worry about the future. Be open to it, embrace it and you’ll find your way. Also when you get to University you’ll discover new interests and don’t be afraid of those discoveries. I started out as an English Major and ended up as a History Major while dabbling in political science.

    I do hope you go to Prom :) And I hope you enjoy the rest of your Senior Year. I know I haven’t followed your blog for a very long time, but I’ve seen some of your posts and I can say you’re one of the most awesome teenage bloggers I’ve seen :). I hope you have a Happy New Year! Best of Luck with everything :).

    • Hm, do you live in an area with a lot of public transportation? I know that if I move to a city or a more populated area with lots of public transportation then driving won’t be a problem, but if I stay in the suburbs… hm. Also, I like your attitude – it’s great that you embrace the future and that you changed your major and still had a great college experience.

      Thank you for your kind words and I hope you have a fabulous New Year as well!

      • Well the area I live in just became a city, so I am expecting an increase in public transportation,but I won’t say there’s a lot. Not in comparison to bigger cities, but there’s enough to get by on. Also I guess I feel strongly about public transportation is because I’ve known some of the bus driver’s since I was around 15 years old and they know me well too. So that way I guess I’m biased, but you’re helping the environment as well! But you do learn a lot about people when you take public transit and it’s one of the best times to read too.

        One of the best ways to make your college experience awesome is to get involved. It really made a huge difference in my experience when I started to work on campus. You learn a lot about yourself and other people. And the great thing about university is there’s so many ways for everyone to get involved. So I strongly encourage that :)

        Take Care and Thank You for the well wishes too :).

        • Ah okay, I do think that there are myriad advantages to public transportation as well. Like you said, helping the environment, time to read, etc. and I suppose it only takes a little bit of time to get used to how public transportation works itself. Riding the metro in my area is always fun – maybe I’ll utilize it more often.

          You’re right – I cannot wait to get involved in college! In addition to entrenching myself in the English/Psychology/Philosophy departments at whatever school I’ll go to I can’t wait to participate in Lambda, community service, various honor societies, debate, and so many other clubs/experiences.

          Thanks for all of your advice!

  4. samssocial

    I feel like I know you more with every post you write. By far my favourite blogger.

  5. I wish you a happy life! And like Chatter Master, I like who you are :)

  6. Oh, man, do I know about the non-normal life. My ideas are a combination of two cultural backgrounds and I don’t feel I fit in anywhere, and have definitely not had the typical life experiences that you’re supposed to as propagated by the media or whatever, but I’ve come to realize that average doesn’t always mean better :P And I’m not saying that in a cocky way at all.

    I mean, on the outside looking in, of course it will feel like you’re missing out on something – and you are. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re missing out on is hugely important. Or it’s relatively unimportant in your life. Everyone has their own battles, right?

    Oh, and relax. I’m 21 (I HATE. saying that -_-) and I still haven’t got my driver’s :P I know how to drive and all, just don’t have the little plastic card. And I haven’t even been on a date. Ugh. It’s easy to look at other people’s stories and get down in the dumps, but I bet our stories will be just as epic :D

    • Yeah, now that I think about it, I think in many cases the less average an individual is the better. Combining two cultural backgrounds must give you a different perspective on a lot of issues, which adds to the variety of ideas and paradigms in general.

      Even if we were to go back and reclaim an “average” childhood we would miss out on a lot of our favorite experiences, I suppose. It’s an opportunity cost, and we should be thankful for what we’ve got. You’re right in that everyone has their own battles and that ours, while unique, are probably pretty small compared to others out there.

      At least you know how to drive! And I’ve been on a date, but not with the gender I’m romantically interested in… it is easy to feel sad comparing our lives to others, but I do believe that we will go on to do great things and that we shouldn’t waste time over-thinking it!

  7. There is so much life and love ahead of you! Stay strong and keep writing.

  8. Cathal

    I’m almost 22 and I can’t drive so don’t worry about that. ‘Normal’ is a hokey concept anway. When you ask people what they think normal is they can never give a clear explanation. It seems to be one of those words that people use without ever defining, and just assume that everyone means the same thing when they say it.

    The next thing that will happen in your life, probably, is that you will just have to wait to see how your college applications go. The thing that will propel you forward will most likely be something you never saw coming. Anywho, that’s all my sage wisdom for today haha. And you absolutely should write more every day!

    Here is a somewhat related quote from Doris Lessing: “Growing up is after all only the understanding that one’s unique and incredible experience is what everyone shares.” Reading Lessing has certainly been for me in the past year and a half what has propelled me forward, in life and in learning. And I also want to second what Lady Disdain said: there are whole vast realms of experience that we’re missing out on, but that’s just a fact of life.

    • This is true – normal, according to Google, means “The usual, average, or typical state or condition.” But what’s average for one person may be extraordinary for another, so it is all relative.

      Ah, I cannot wait for decisions to come out in spring. I feel like I should be nervous but I’m just excited, especially because it’s all out of my hands now. Thank you for your sage wisdom, I really appreciate it and look forward to reading it every time I see that you’ve posted a comment.

      I just searched for Doris Lessing on Goodreads, perhaps I should read a book written by her. Do you have any recommendations? Also, yes, with every experience we go through there are several other experiences we’re not – but that’s just how life is and we should be happy with what we’ve got (and always working hard to improve our own experiences, of course.)

      • Cathal

        I absolutely have recommendations! The Fifth Child is a great one to start with, it’s short and very readable although the subject matter is out there. The Golden Notebook is her most famous book, the first one I read. The Memoirs of a Survivor is great too. Shikasta is one of her best but maybe not a great starting point- it’s a sort of space opera reimaginging earth’s history in terms of the interactions between three intergalactic empires. Oh, and The Good Terrorist. The first three I mentioned would be better ones to start with.

  9. Normal is abnormal. You are right..every single experience you’ve had makes you who you are in life-embrace it.. Also, we can’t choose what families we are born into…thank you for sharing..

    • Yes, as existentialist as this sounds, every little experience we’ve undergone or action we’ve taken has influenced ourselves and the world around us. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  10. Don’t worry, Thomas. You’ll be fine. I was very worried when I was your age, about how to be normal and all that jazz.
    As I grew up, I realize that being normal is not fun. Trying to fit in is not fun. I used to think people wouldn’t like me because of my weird sense of humor, loud personality and very unladylike behavior. I tried very hard to be ladylike, all calm and demure, but didn’t quite cut it. I revert back to my normal self. Lol. But, friends I met after high school made me realize that I can be as weird as an alien and yet they will love me. Believe me, high school is nothing, absolutely nothing compared to college and university. There will be people who love you for just being you. It sounds so cliche but it’s true.
    Don’t worry about not having a boyfriend. I don’t have one either and I am much older than you! Have a relationship when you feel like you have found someone of whom’s presence you thoroughly embrace. Don’t rush.
    You will, definitely, meet people who likes you because you are just being yourself. You’re unique, that’s all. Embrace it.

    x
    Rosie

    • Everyone’s comments, including yours, makes me so excited for college! I’m lucky that I’ve found a few super close friends who appreciate me for who I am (strange, book-obsessed, etc.) But I can’t wait to break out of the mold even more in college and take advantage of all the opportunities awaiting me. I’m so happy for you in that you’re done with trying to fit in and accommodate other people’s expectations. As for the boyfriend thing, you’re right, I definitely do not want to be in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship.

      Thank you so much for your advice and kind words!

  11. I’m glad you’re not normal because chances are that if you were then you won’t be the kind and very thoughtful person you are now ;) You’re cool the way you are.

  12. Just keep doing what you’re doing Thomas. These experiences make us who we are.

  13. Normalcy is a strange craving, isn’t it? One wants to be unique, stand out, be seen, be heard – yet not too much, not too loudly, and not too visibly. It seems like such a big contradiction in terms: be normal but be special. Be average, but be unique. Be accepted, but don’t be invisible. I don’t know.

    I’ve never been able to construct a formula that works for me. If you find it, will you share?

    • Perhaps you’ve never been able to construct a formula because no such formula exists – I suppose that we all want to be accepted, but to be true to ourselves as well. I do think, however, that it’s possible to be unique and fabulous without falling into invisibility or normality. It’s different for everyone, but achievable for all.

  14. You will blossom at college. And I bet those other families you see have just as many issues as yours. Going through adversity when young and having a clear view of it makes you strong and aware, and that’s good. You will create your own family as you go through life. Good luck!

  15. Pingback: The new normal is the old normal, even in publishing « Colinology

  16. Heh. I understand because I share every single concern of yours here. Though, the only difference is that my mother has become the unfortunate opposite of my father himself.

    OT though: My world changed rapidly around me and I was sitting in a shell, oblivious to everything around me. My sister, my friends, my family… everybody seems a bit bigger. And I feel small. Insecurity? Amazement? I don’t know yet and would get a better perspective only after I pass this phase. Yours was a short but effective post. A lot of memories tripped over one another; this might be the panacea to my writer’s block. Thank you!

    • Would you like to clarify what you mean about your mother becoming the unfortunate opposite of your father? I’m glad that there’s someone who understands what I’m going through.

      Also, I would love to read the writing that this blog post inspires you to create if you so choose to share it! I know what you feel about feeling small – writing is a wonderful way to alleviate one’s insecurities and clear one’s mind. You’re welcome and thank you for reading!

      • Hmm. Unfortunate opposite. Did I say that? Yes i did. And now I have to back it up with claims and facts. Oh, the internet! I hate you for making me wake up at 6 in the morning (!). But I’ll happily oblige. :D

        Actually, my mother is a very sweet lady whom I always thought to be liberal in all sorts of ways. In my childhood. Now living with my poisonous father makes people go mad; I had to once take a long hard look at myself too where I myself was going. Unfortunately my mother has become this stubborn and closed-minded woman, from years of sarcastic comments and pennypinching. On the other hand, it made her self-reliant; she is into music now. Good for her. I don’t love her anymore, but the way she has devoted her life on me, I won’t ever abandon her (I need to say it again and again).

        Right now, I have planned to pack my bags and run away as soon as I can. I would go roam the streets of the world and then come back to my country. Would pick up my mother if I still wouln’t have picked up a boyfriend, and then we will live grudgingly together ever after!


        So here, you get bouns bits of my future plans as well! And this sudden bout of cheeriness is just the last gasps of insomnia like the intense heat one feels when in the deep recesses of hypothermia. Nothing to worry about really. Now I don’t know whether I broke the rules of blogging and made this comment almost as long as your blog itself. Oh no! But the lazy man that I am, I would just post it like it is. Sorry… else I wouldn’t be able to get it out of my drafts ever again. :/ :D

        • Aw, I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s unfortunate transformation – it’s great that you won’t abandon her and that you might come back to her in the future. Maybe as time progresses she’ll become someone you will be able to look up to and rely on and love. I do hope your plan to run away will be safe and that you’ll have support somewhere; though from your blog it seems like you know what you’re doing. It’s great that you’re developing a plan and that you’ve taken the time to think it through.

          I love comments that are as long as my original post! Reading your thoughts and your wonderful writing inspires me to write more myself.

          • Well thank you for not finding it stalkerish! And yeah, I keep nudging my mother towards divorce but she won’t budge. :( And good luck! I have abandoned books and your reviews made me want to read them again. :)

            • You’re welcome – I tried the same with my dad, maybe they’ll listen to us in the future. I’m glad that you want to read again, you should write posts about the books you read if you are so inclined. (:

  17. Being normal is overrated. :D

  18. I just stumbled upon your blog after doing some research for a post I want to do on my blog (about Shinee’s Key, no less), and you’ve thoroughly managed to sidetrack me. I’ve read some of your posts and I have to say that I’m floored by the mind of a teen in high school and loving it. I’m definitely following you here and on Goodreads, so expect some more comments.

    As for this post, let me just say that I’m over 30 and I still don’t drive because I choose not to, so don’t despair. It’s not a big deal… you’ll get there if you want to. In regards to being “normal”: I seriously dislike that word. Being normal is boring and overrated. I was once also an extremely well-read, not normal teen that loved to (and still does!) draw or listen to music or write. I had my own family issues and was, and am still, odd in my own way.

    Since I was little, I’ve gravitated towards things that were not the norm. I started reading early and often. I remember being forbidden to read Shakespeare when I was about 7, because the themes were too adult for me. That’s ok, I read other overly adult things. :) Not everyone got me but all I need is a few core people that get me and all my traits. You’ve found some people that do the same for you now and you’ll continue to. Interestingly odd people seem to seek each other out, I think.

    Anyway, sorry for leaving this dissertation in your comments. Just letting you know that you’re perfectly fine just the way you are. I’ll leave you with two quotes that I love:

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
    &
    “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” -Marilyn Monroe

    • Thank you for your support Erika! I’m glad you stumbled upon this post while doing research about Key – I look forward to reading your posts about him and the other things you write about on your blog. I agree that being normal is overrated and that such a concept is vague on its own. Being different has worked for you, so I’ll stick with it and hope it works for me as well!

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