I received two books recently, both of which I was first acquainted with in Kenya. One is Africa Adorned by Angela Fisher, a collection of magnificent photographs and documentation of tribal adornment from all over Africa. The other is We Are All Weird by Seth Godin, an author to whom I have our own Jared Angaza to thank for introducing me to.
“Human beings prefer to organize in tribes, into groups of people who share a leader or culture or definition of normal“. -Godin
As I was looking through photographs of women with large coins sewn into their braids and men strapped into beaded corsets, I thought immediately of the phrase ‘definition of normal’.
How often do you look at others and feel that they are behaving in a way that you would call ‘weird’ (or something of the sort)? How often do you take a step back from that first instinct and think about how the person you are perceiving to be weird is perhaps just behaving in ways that are fulfilling the same needs in him or her that you have in yourself?
I doubt if any person on this earth isn’t familiar with that feeling. We are all brought up learning ways in which we are supposed to behave and ways in which we are not. We are all brought up with different notions of what is “normal”.
The next time you feel that initial discomfort or sense or superiority at being in the presence of someone behaving in a way that is weird to you, think of the idea that perhaps they merely have a different definition of normal.
And while you’re at it, take a little pride in the diversity of our world, and the willingness of some to break the norms of the masses. Then go break some norms yourself.
How would you behave if you were being completely honest and true to yourself?