Anne Temple: Who Really Wants To Be Normal Anyway?

Anne Temple
Fifty years ago I was born into this world with many physical challenges. I was born with congenital bilateral hip dysplasia, Strabismus and a rare movement disorder (familial paroxysmal choreoathetosis with Dystonia). I ended up with arthritis at a young age, which caused me to have many surgeries. I was unquestionably not normal with my body type and looks.
As a result of having many eye surgeries, my right eyelid droops down. I also have a limp on my side right when I walk. Many of my family and friends told me they couldn’t tell, yet I’ve always had people ask about my eyes or why I walk funny. I was shy growing up, feeling as if no one really liked me. My home seemed to be the hospitals. I felt so unattractive but looking back at the fourth grade, I did have two young men who liked me and, to be honest, I had my first kiss. As I look at it now, a lot of what I felt was internal but I did feel alone a lot of as a young girl. 
I want to make it clear that there were times when kids and adults were downright mean. I was teased when I was a young child. As a teenager I had issues; like when I was 15 years old. I was in the hospital. My roommate was a cheerleader and she had a few boys visit. They wanted to take a walk with her to get a sandwich. She asked if they would mind if went with them and they answered very loudly “No, she is very ugly, we don’t want her to come!” This hurt me so very much and didn’t help with my feelings of being unattractive.
I learned at a young age that laughter was better than feeling sorry for myself. Not that I didn’t go through times of depression, because I did and still do.  I have learned in these fifty years that the word “normal” means so little. After people get to know me they really don’t see the droopy eye lid, the limp on my right side and the strange movements (familial paroxysmal choreoathetosis with Dystonia). Going in and out of wheelchairs, walkers and crutches, I find ways to jump these obstacles. I was told many things like I would never walk or have children naturally. Guess what: I did all of these. As an adult I’ve had people say unkind things to me. I am learning that you can please some of the people some of the time, yet not all people all of the time. Abraham Lincoln said something like this so I’m in good company.
Even with having physical challenges, I have learned how to live and have gotten over feeling unattractive most of the time.  I do go through times of depression, feeling unattractive and going up and down with my weight.  Most of the times, though, I feel all these physical challenges, surgeries and hospital stays helped me understand myself and others better. So when I hear the word normal I think to myself “what is normal” and do I really want to be like everyone else?  It seems boring. No offense, I’m not sure if normal defines anybody because we all are unique. Who really wants to be normal anyway?
* If you are interested in finding more about these issues, please check out the links.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2011


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Aimee
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 10:13:59

    Thanks for using the time and effort to write something so interesting.


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