Normal is what normal does

I was woken up earlier than usual this morning to attend to a friend’s tiny meltdown (I am not sure actually whether there is a way to gauge a meltdown as being tiny or large. Are all meltdowns considered significant to the same caliber?).

It was 1am and even though we have not really spoken or seen each other since 2008, when my phone binged with his message this morning to let me know he needs someone to talk to because he feels alone and wanting to do *some specific activity* I shall not describe, I immediately felt like I needed to hear him out, and do whatever that was necessary to make sure he will be okay, even if I was an ocean away.

There wasn’t anything particular that had happened, he just needed to vent so this meltdown would surpass. I have been there, so I know what things said to you when you go through one of these episodes feels comforting.

We talked about feeling lonely, and feeling alone, like it really is just you against the rest of the world.

He talked about feeling like an unattractive version of Don Draper from Mad Men (you know, emotionally unavailable and using sex, alcohol, and money to keep him occupied).

I told him he needed to get out of his solipsistic state and not use ‘feeling different from everyone else’ as an excuse to do terrible things, like the specific activity I did not describe, that gets people to react uncomfortably.

I think every one of us who feels a bit like a misfit does this subconsciously, lashing out knowingly in ways we know the world would not accept, and then using the world’s reaction as a reconfirmation of our own misfit-ness. I told him he needed to stop that.

He said he isn’t normal.

I said asked who is.

He said some people. Then he said some people really are and that’s the problem.

I asked what normal was.

He said being sexy, going to the gym, having good credit, and not drinking alone.

It seems my friend had stepped out of his own head, only to notice he was standing against a world that had gym membership, possibly a platinum credit card, and the norm of drinking at a bar being hit on by the super attractive kinds.

I laughed at his narrow view and told him by that by definition I was as abnormal as abnormal could get. I grew up learning two different cultures. I told him I am an abnormal Bhutanese girl by American standards, and an abnormal Americanized girl by Bhutanese standards. I told him I didn’t give a crap about it anymore.

That I am now as normal as normal appeals to me.

He laughed at me and told me he was going to be okay. He was going to step out for a late night snack at the diner around his block. I asked if he was sure he was going to be okay? He said he was, and not to worry. He thanked me and sent me a unconvincing smiley face. I was sure I did all I could do to make him feel better, but I hope he has at least realized he isn’t alone.


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