Wow. What a fantastic night. I can just scroll through all of this hurt and misery and I can understand it so much better now. I just - I had this thought yesterday and I let it slip away, didn’t go on and jot it down. But it came back to me today. To declare that I no longer believe in “ordinary.” When it comes to human beings. What is the ordinary human being??? I’ve always maintained this, said that we are all special, important, here for a reason. But for some strange reason, I’ve never really believed it when it came to myself. Not 100%. And this is coming to me after about a week or so of just realizations tumbling one after the other. But this is different. It feels different.
This idea of the “ordinary” - it’d have to be based upon what someone deems average. A standard, baseline human being. With standard experiences and accomplishments and circumstances and qualities. And we don’t belong on a scale. Cannot possibly be put upon one and compared. Of one kind, but one of a kind. That’s the human being. And by whose standards? Whose grand scale of human grading? And why should their expectations be the ones that we measure ourselves against?
No, here is no ordinary. We are all unique. We are all extraordinary. One of a kind in the midst of all humankind. That’s the nature of the thing.
It’s just weird because my whole life I’ve had this crippling fear of being ordinary, but by whose standards? It’s like a child being afraid of the monsters underneath their bed. Every night their mom or dad can turn on the light, can show them. See, there’s nothing here. And the child can believe it for the time being, feel alright about themselves. But the next night, the monsters are back. Until eventually, with time, the child comes to realize that there never were anymore monsters. And they call off their nightly search - usually without even realizing that they’ve given up on the monsters.
It’s like that. Every once in a while believing that I am enough, I am okay, we are all purposeful, that I am good. And then forgetting. Leaving myself out of the equation again. This fear of being ordinary sitting in the back of my mind. Underneath my bed. But ordinary how? By whose invisible measuring tape?
It doesn’t exist. Not for me. Not anymore.
I’m not racing against any clock. I’m not running out of time on my way to be anything that anyone (in my mind everyone) is expecting me to be. There’s no baseline. There’s no script I ought to be following. And I knew this, I did.
Tonight, I just woke up and internalized it for the first time.
Those automatic thoughts that cripple me and choke me up all stem from this fear of what I expect other people to expect of me. That I’d be considered somehow not up to snuff, or simply ordinary based on their expectations. All of them pretty much being that I am less than. I expect everyone to think that I am inferior. And when something happens that is the least bit out of line, or not according to plan, or not “ideal,” then I freeze up and I can’t function and I panic. Because I’m proving them right. I’m ordinarily insufficient. And even if it was something that seems trivial, I couldn’t ever get past that automatic feeling.
And now I know that that automatic feeling was the fear that I was failing. According to some scale I’d never seen. Some approval that I believed I needed. Some expectation I just wasn’t meeting. Because I’ve always wanted to be extraordinary, to exceed expectations. Since I was little, I’d been getting slips of paper that said I was doing just that. And somewhere along the way, it became the norm. To just exceed those expectations wherever I went. Until I got to the point where I wasn’t exactly sure what the expectations were but was still certain that I wasn’t anywhere near meeting the mark. Judging myself prematurely.
But that’s just it. I’m not proving or disproving anything. And those expectations held by that invisible hand - they just don’t exist.
The only ones that matter are my own. The bars that I set for myself. The responsibilities I accept. People will have expectations of me. But they are not my own. They don’t have to be. And they certainly don’t define me.
And it is the most freeing thing I can think of. To take myself off of that invisible scale, the one that I suppose society and anxiety created together in my mind. It means a lot of things. It means that I don’t have to panic. It means that I am not failing. It means that I no longer have to resort to escapist behaviors in order to deal. Escape from what? There’s nothing to escape from. Ordinary doesn’t exist. I’m not on some path to mediocrity. I am extraordinary because I am. Phenomenal because I breathe. A singularity on the face of the planet. And I have such a grasp on things that you cannot ever comprehend fully, because the way that I operate and view this world does not depend upon your quantification system. You can attempt to recreate my lens, but you can never have the thing itself. And because I am an individual, you cannot rate or compare me to anything or anyone else.
You cannot equate that which you cannot define. Which you cannot fully know.
And whether I’m acknowledged as such by friends and strangers and institutions or I am secretly extraordinary in a way that only I am privy to for as long as I live - it doesn’t change the truth, does it? Whether my being and perspective is praised or dismissed as I move on from here, it simply doesn’t matter. As long as I remain strong in my conviction that I have something worth offering and remember that I must be worth something due to my being here at all - well, that’s all that matters. Self-definition is the only definition that truly matters in life because it is the only definition that is wholly true. My truth guides my actions. And it is the only scale I step onto- regardless of where I am or whose company I am in.
And those who understand that, try to understand me and see me for what I am. Well then they make up all the rest.
There are no monsters underneath my bed.