Embracing The Normal — The Balance Beam.
Who doesn’t want to be special? Everyone wants to feel like they’re meant for something greater than themselves. Normal tends to carry a negative connotation nowadays. From what I’ve been seeing lately, no one wants to be considered “normal” or “regular”. That’s something I’ve always struggled to find within myself. Since a child, I always felt that I was meant to be different than everyone else. I knew since then that I wasn’t too fond of going through the traditional path like everyone else around me. As I reached my adolescence, I started to expose myself to more of my interests and passions. It started to reach past sports. By middle school into high school, I was fully engulfed into music, streetwear and creative endeavors that fall in line with those things but I never thought I could work in those spaces. There wasn’t a lot of what I was seeing in myself being represented in my community.
My peers and I joke around a lot, but we also have meaningful conversations and this is a topic that we tend to go to often. Balance is a hard aspect of life to master. Especially at our age. I’m 24 years old. I’m in the phase of my life that’s supposed to lay the ground work for what I want to accomplish in my 30’s and so on. I also have a little sister. Having gained some insight through a couple early ups and downs of adulthood, I have to try to prepare her for she’s going to encounter when she gets older. I think that’s what added to my obsession of rising above the normal. I wanted to be above that, not only for myself, but for any of the eyes that were looking up to me and watching my next move. I have the privilege of knowing kids that are inspired by what I’m trying to do, not even by what I’ve accomplished yet. That’s very heavy for me. In those instances, you want to seem extraordinary and larger than life to those kids. That type of ambition is admirable but it’s misguided. I started to understand that’s not what the little homies or my sister wanted from me. They just wanted to see me embrace the normal. They wanted to see me embrace where we are from and make that apparent in everything that I do. The opposite of that didn’t appeal to them and that was a learning experience that really opened my eyes.
I can look back and say there were times I didn’t appreciate what I was surrounded by. You can be so focused on lofty goals and dreams that you lose sight of the beauty in family and your environment. If you look up for long enough, you’ll start to miss what’s happening to the right and the left of you and that’s what was happening to me. I was so determined to get the next check, the next success and the next accolade that I was missing interactions with people that I care about. One thing I don’t want to do is finally gain everything I’ve ever wanted and worked diligently only to realize that those things don’t mean as much to me as I hoped they would. As years go by and I continue to grow, I realize that the climb is more gratifying than planting your flag once you reach the top. This isn’t to say that accomplishments and successfully reaching your goals aren’t benchmarks in your life that shouldn’t be celebrated because they should. But fixating your vision on the end goal, while not embracing the path to get there can be something you’ll regret.
I didn’t think I could go in a different direction than everyone else. All that I saw was people being “normal”. I’ve seen that my whole life. People doing what they need to do and making an honest living but that’s not what I wanted for myself. I saw it so much that I began to despise it. I almost thought I was above it because I felt like my dreams and ambitions were higher than everyone else’s. That’s where I believe I failed. The people that I pass every day in my car or walking around my neighborhood aren’t below me because of their “normal” lives. They are actually the ones that should be celebrated. They are the ones handling business. They are the ones taking care of their families by any means. They are the backbone of the community and while that’s not the most glamorous thing to talk about, it’s really the most rewarding.