Have you ever seen those encouraging little messages broadcast to society, the ones that say that some talent you have will get you ahead? Creativity, determination, willpower, thinking outside the box, all these things make you special, more employable, more successful.
I see those, and I think,”Well, I’m not really creative, nor more determined than your average person. I don’t really have great willpower (pass me the chocolate), and nothing about my thinking is special. I guess I’m just plain and normal.”
That makes me think, wait. Most people are just that – normal. Why are we pushing so hard for people to be unique special snowflakes of great importance all the time? It’s a bit insulting for anyone who recognises in themselves that they aren’t special snowflakes. They’re the normal that special is measured against.
I guess those ads are meant to appeal to the part of everyone that wants to affirm snowflakehood. The part that says ‘no, I’m not part of the crowd, I have these special qualities that most people don’t’. Reality is different, but it’s probably good for people to have that belief in themselves.
Is it a sign of my illness, then, that I don’t identify with these things? Maybe. I can identify myself as lucky, as having had many privileges over my life, but I’m not special. I’m just another person, one that a high-achiever like Nanogirl or Helen Clarke can be measured against and found special.
I’m ok with being plain and normal. I have skills and abilities, but I don’t have to be exceptional at them to be ok with what I am.