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Being Normal
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Sky Friday talks about the one thing he wanted when he was young was to be normal. Those memories, and the pain, can last a lifetime.

So true. The way it was phrased really hit home, because I can remember wanting desperately to be normal. One of the ways was food. My mother would pack salmon and wheat germ sandwiches on whole wheat bread along with an apple for lunch. Everyone around me was eating white bread PBJ and Oreos, washed down by soda pop. They made fun of my lunches--though now they would be recognized as health food.

I wore handmedowns and had long hair when everyone else had new clothes at the start of the school year and at Easter, and cute haircuts. Poodle skirts and saddle shoes. Learning to use makeup.

I was smart--really smart--and they were mostly small town pretty average, making fun of me for knowing all the answers and getting A's on all the tests. I can remember wishing I were like them; I'd have been happy with C's if that meant being included in the circle of popular girls. I asked the principal not to publish my name on the honor roll.

We were flaming liberals in a conservative New England village.

I can remember being ashamed of my crazy mother and being seen with her in public as little as possible. Mostly she knew that she said strange things (schizoid) and so she didn't leave the house much. I spent a lot of time at school and in the library.

Those scars run deep. I became who I am now as an adult by understanding and accepting that I'm different and that's OK. I enjoy being my offbeat, oddball, intelligent self, and don't worry so much any more about what people think. My friends love me and I love them back.

Though I have to admit, as I get older, I become more aware of the stereotype of the crazy old lady--and I'm sometimes careful to monitor my irreverent well-educated sense of humor, at times when I might give the impression that I'm babbling when really what I'm doing is making some obscure literary allusion.

Who, me? Babble? Only before my first cup of coffee! And also when I'm very, very tired.

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