Fashionably Normal

I learned how to wear Normal…found it in my closet sometime after early childhood.

Took a few tries to get it to fit, particularly during the Middle School years.
First, it was too tight & confining for someone who jumps around as much as I do, but I kept putting it on anyway. Pulling it over my head & sliding my arms in place.

As the years went on I found if I stopped moving so much, quit expressing things so openly, that Normal got to be easier and easier to don.

Each day upon rising, I’d go to the closet and survey my choices:
Sexy? Ha! Not today!
Frumpy? Maybe. Always an easy out.
Sophisticated? Hmm…Nah. To hard to maintain all day.
Intelligent? Who are we trying to fool Miss Smarty Pants?
Brooding? Girly? Tomboy?
No, no, no. Sigh…Normal it is.
“Besides,” I’d tell myself, “It’s much easier to blend in, disappear, and not stand out if you put on good old reliable Normal.”

And so I chose to wear it, and I wore it well.

Only occasionally did I venture out in a different fashion and only for a short amount of time.
You start to miss the comfort and security that Normal provides after having worn it for so long.

Sometimes, certain folks could even see right through Normal. Funny thing is, those are the people I most liked to be with even though at the time I didn’t realize they could see past what I was wearing.

Then one morning, after a few rounds of life–you know: divorces, marriages, deaths, births, vacations, surgeries, mortgages–I woke up and knew Normal had to go.

Threadbare in places and tattered at the hem I gently folded Normal, thanking this style for the safety and comfort it provided when I felt the most vulnerable & bare.

But unlike other clothes that no longer fit me, I didn’t toss Normal in the trash bin or send to good will. For you see Normal was something of my own making that I wanted to keep, like my afghans & other crafts.

Wrapped in a small bundle, stored with the other keepsakes, I know I’ll take it out someday and show the kids how silly mom looked back then; trying to wear Normal. Trying not to stand out, thinking Normal might help me to fit in.


85th Annual Writer’s Digest Honorable Mention Winner 2016 in Memoirs/Personal Essay. Selected among the ten categories out of 6,000 entries 🎖 🏆

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