Normal is the New Weird

Today in my psychology class we watched the movie Stand By Me. I’m kind of a sucker for movies about relationships – father and son relationships, brother relationships, and friendships. So Stand By Me, as a movie about four preteen friends, is kind of right up my alley.

There’s this scene in Stand By Me where cool-kid and group-leader Chris is talking to artsy intelligent-kid and narrator Gordon. Gordon asks Chris if he is weird, and Chris says “definitely” in jest. But Gordon keeps pestering him, and finally Chris says, “Yeah, but so what? Everybody’s weird.”

The delivery of this scene, like every scene in Stand By Me is perfect. And so, even though it seems like a cliche, it comes across as profound.

But I was thinking, even though this idea is kind of cliche, we never really think about its implications. If everybody is weird, then weird is normal. And if weird is normal, then everybody is normal. So it kind of makes just as much sense to say that “everybody’s normal” as it does to say “everybody’s weird.” But no one ever says that everybody’s normal.

I think we make up weird. It’s a narrative that we decide to use to self-gratify or to help our world-view. If we can label other things as weird or our own behavior as weird, it creates a gap between those things and behaviors and the “normal” world.

I knew this girl once who described herself as weird. It was something she talked about a lot. But to me, she was no more weird than the rest of the world, but I found it difficult to relate to her simply because she believed she was weird. I think sometimes we assume that the world is normal and we are weird. But it’s actually that self-talk that isolates us from others. Not our perceived weirdness.

What makes you weird/normal?

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