I am in the process of writing a book on the perspectives of those with mental illness, and how, to them, they are normal. What exactly is normal? Well, that’s subjective, now isn’t it? My normal is severe bipolar disorder and Asperger’s. What’s yours?
To start off on a good note, I am me. To be more specific, I am a girl of eighteen years and I have Aspergers autism, which means I have trouble socializing, have repetitive behaviors, and have intense interests in a few narrow subjects. I do not think it is a disability, no matter what people say. One person I know put it like this: “It’s not a disability. It’s a different ability.” That’s how I view it! Sure I have trouble talking to people, and I’m uncomfortable with touching, and I can’t eat some foods because of how they feel in my mouth (it’s a texture thing), and loads of other things, but this is the way God made me.
I knew that he had made me unique from everybody else long before I knew I had Aspergers. He made everybody unique. It’s the one thing everybody has in common! There are tall people, short people, people of different colors and creeds and backgrounds. There’s so much diversity! But if that’s such a good thing, why do we all try to melt into the crowd? It doesn’t matter which crowd. We just want to fit in. At least somewhere! And sometimes, if we don’t fit in somewhere, or feel like we don’t, we force away our own uniqueness, our gifts and talents, and fit ourselves into a niche that we weren’t really made for. The scary thing is some people succeed at that!
Years ago, my dad had a friend who put together a puzzle that was a mirror or chrome, something to that effect. Each puzzle piece was exactly the same color, exactly the same shape (except for the edges), each piece created exactly the same. How boring is that? How excruciating would it be to put that puzzle together? I mean, there was just one color. I don’t know about you, but the sameness would have got to me.
Sometimes I think humanity is like a puzzle and each person represents a single piece. Now that piece can be a rainbow of colors, or just one or two. It can be a two pronged puzzle piece or it can have ten! In the Message Bible, Genesis 1: 27 says that God made us in his image, and to reflect his nature. While we are separate, we show certain sides of God, but together, with all our differences, all of our puzzle pieces with all the different shapes and colors and sizes, we reflect God more fully as he truly is!
I’ll be honest here. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to fit into the ‘normal’ stereotype. To have girlfriends and go to the mall and shop ‘til I drop and care about fashion and….that’s when I laugh. I just can’t imagine me ever being into that. I am one of the rare girls who doesn’t give a hoot about fashion. I love who I am and I don’t want to be anybody else!
Now don’t get me wrong, fashion and being ‘normal’, shopping and having best girlfriends are just fine! It just is not me. If you are the type that hangs out at the mall every day, then don’t let me stop you. Go and do it if that’s what you like. Love who you are! I mean, why shouldn’t you? God made you that way!
Don’t try to be a piece of the mirror puzzle. Be you! God made you you for a reason! You reflect a part of God that no one else reflects! Be happy about that! Love who you are and let that set you free! And remember this: God values you and loves you just the way you are. So you should too.
I mean, how boring would it be if we were all created alike? What if we all had the same personality, same likes, same dislikes, same EVERYTHING? I can’t even imagine that. There’d really be no need for conversations, would there? I mean, everybody else would agree with you on everything. That’s just so dull. Good thing we’re not all created alike, eh? 🙂