conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
Is brown hair typical? What about blonde, red, gray. Are blue eyes usual? What about hazel, green or black? Are beauty spots standard? What about big lips, small feet, pronunciation. How can we say something is ‘normal’ when there are dozens of different body types, languages, dialects? When we suffer from allergies, have different taste buds, handle spice and heat in varying degrees and are shy, confident, anxious or sad? When we all have different abilities in math, sports, languages and even memory. From hunters to taking over the planet, social constructs have been a powerful tool in our conquests as well as our taming and undoing. Social expectations led to competition, innovation, scientific discoveries, cures and architectural wonders. But social constructs of class and what is ‘normal’ or beautiful have also led to genocide, poverty , abuse, racism and inequality which riddle our history, stain our future and which are all anything but ‘normal’.
In just the last 100 years our world – our ‘normal’ – has changed over and over again. From the fall of the Romanovs to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Wall Street Crash, nuclear weapons and the war on terror to Gandhi, Mandela, Malala and then Trump and Brexit. From the Great Depression to Twitter, apartheid to landing on the moon, Chernobyl, #metoo, loving whomever you love and to the world’s first genetically edited babies – what even is ‘normal’? How come we keep fighting for these ‘normal’ ideals, preach, exclude, bully and not provide for every human simply because they don’t tick the ‘normal’ box when you – reading this – cannot define what is ‘normal’?
not representative of a type, group, or class.
If ‘normal’ cannot be defined – Every single one of us is atypical. Which makes us all typical in being unique, different, special, unusual, unexpected, abnormal.
Let’s talk about all the ways we exclude our fellow humans in every day life – with filling forms, education, fashion, language and expectations. Let’s defy all the social impediments we have put in place to facilitate notions of ‘normal’ and create a new social world which helps every ability and every human.
That’s what we have done with the SMILE project. We saw a gap in a system which meant that the Cypriot government didn’t understand the needs of it’s people and doesn’t provide equal opportunities to the communities it is supposed to support. So, we defied the ‘conventional’, we shouted from the rooftops about our kid’s rights – regardless of autism – and we imagined and created a space for them.
Celebrate your uniqueness, your neighbour’s quirks, listen to someone’s opinions which are not akin to your own. Learn about hair colours other than your own and embrace all the things that make us typically atypical. Help, allow and encourage everyone around you to be the version of themselves they already are and not the one they think they have to be.
Donating to Autism Support Famagusta supports the local autistic community directly – donate here
Tired of being up all night.
Tired of feeling helpless.
Tired of not feeling good enough.
Tired of feeling like we make no progress.
Tired of being ignored.
Tired of being excluded.
Tired of people staring.
Tired of being treated like we are different.
Tired of being to comply to society’s expectations.
Tired of being compared to ‘normal’ kids.
Tired of people not understanding.
Tired of screaming.
Tired of trying to make them keep up with society’s latest definition of ‘normal’.
Tired of being stereotyped.
Tired of people who don’t understand Autism.
Tired of people who don’t make an effort to understand Autism.
Tired of people drowning in their ignorance and prejudice.
Tired of the consequences this has on our kids.
Tired of the pity.
Tired of assumption.
Tired of not being heard.
You can be tired, but you have to never give up; you can fall, but you have to get up. Make them listen; make them see; make them aware.
We, the families, have only one wish – help us make it reality & learn one new thing about Autism.
*Want to make a difference? I know you