One of the biggest lies ever told is that there is a “normal”.
There is no such thing.
“Normal” is what the majority of people who are pretending with an act, agree should be the same act everyone else should uphold.
Most of the time, even these so-called “normal” people cannot uphold this act, which causes them stress that they will then escape or numb (unsuccessfully) with drugs or alcohol or shopping sprees.
Because pretending all the time is a very stressful activity.
This lie, this pretense — continues because it gives people a set of rules to abide by when they are required to spend a significant amount of time with each other and “share” limited resources.
Yet this act of “normal” has extended not only to rules people should follow when interacting with each other. There are rules of how people should pretend when in the presence of others.
Hence the term, “socially acceptable” or “socially appropriate”. (For children, use “developmentally” in lieu of “socially”)
This is an incredible notion: to have rules dictating how we should “appear” even when we are not directly in communication with another person.
I can laugh at the ignorance of the masses — “Ha! I fooled you! All it took was gaining skills in pretending, just like you are all pretending!”
Our perfection comes from our intimate awareness of who we are, how we are, and our ability to make conscious choices about this self awareness. For most of us, perfection is a work in progress and a mythological destination — a “Randy Pausch ‘Head Fake’” [By the time you can understand this letter, remember to look up his story and listen to his Last Lecture.]
I am not so foolish as to deny that my (depression) neurology plays a large role in my experience of the world and of myself — my subjective reality. To deny this is to deny that I need to pretend (maybe/probably more than my peers) when I am among people, to smile when I didn’t feel like it, to forget that I am pretending and then blaming myself for not putting up a good enough act.
So you too, must not forget that YOU ARE NOT YOUR ACT. Some days you can carry off the act effortlessly. Some days you have to work very hard to get through the end of one scene. On the good days, enjoy yourself. On the rough days, be kind to yourself.
In the meantime, you are growing, you are awakening, you are gaining a sense of self. You are learning and practicing skills to make sense of — and to thrive in — this mad, pretentious, and beautiful world.
You are lovable.
You are loved.
For you, who must remember that you are not your act.