From “Young Frankenstein”
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [to Igor] Now that brain that you gave me. Was it Hans Delbruck’s?
Igor: [pause, then] No.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Ah! Very good. Would you mind telling me whose brain I DID put in?
Igor: Then you won’t be angry?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: I will NOT be angry.
Igor: Abby Someone.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby Someone. Abby who?
Igor: Abby Normal.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby Normal?
Igor: I’m almost sure that was the name.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [chuckles, then] Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?
[grabs Igor and starts throttling him]
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Is that what you’re telling me?”
It is, somewhere in the fantasy world of Beaver Cleaver and black and white television, embedded in Americana that “normal” is definable. It is not that easy. Frankly, normal is defined only by what one’s surroundings are, and what one wants normal to be. My brain, thank you very much, is not normal and what a blessing that is.
So to say that someone is not “normal” is a way of, quite simply, dismissing them as less than you. Of course, I am not normal. Many of you reading this would be considered by others and even by your self not “normal” becaus eyou may be creative, or overly energetic, bouncy and hard to pin down. Like the horse Spirit or Pooh’s Tigger, others are always asking “what’s wrong with you” or “if you could only settle down”. But why?
I like being “Abby Normal”. Even then, the singing, dancing Peter Boyle (RIP) was the most lovable and admirable character in the film, I believe. (sure, there was that part about the brain/body part transplant but let’s not get off the subject here…)
I was with friends discussing this very issue yesterday and was reminded that words, no matter how intelligent the people are (or perhaps directly related to the high IQ of those using them), can carry powerful, deep-seeded blocking mechanisms. Tell someone they are not “normal” and you may lose them. Say it to me and I will laugh at you, and tell you “why in the world would I want to be “normal”?” But others will attach that to a hurtful place, one where they will regress, fight back, even shut down. Which is where talking about these types of things, the root of one’s own roadblocks, really helps me. I’ve seen it help others. It’s just a natural thing: face an overgrown root and trim it back so that the pathway is clear. Pick up some trash that’s piled up, so I can walk in that direction… remove the shrapnel so the blood flows naturally (note I did not say ‘normally’!)… set aside the rubble (or designate it a monument if you must) so that you may make room for new, and wonderful personal architecture. Do not do this? Your life will become cluttered, the pressure will mount, the doors will blow off and you will find your self in a world of self-abuse, repetitive self-medication or simple pain.
A dear friend and I discussed the issue of medication, for example, and how difficult it is to throw a diagnosis, a blanket catch all on what is happening in someone’s neuropathways, and expect it to be the answer. It’s just too complicated. A broken arm, simple. A misfiring brain with ADD symptoms or heavy mood swings, or one connected to drugs or alcohol in an addictive way, not so simple. The doctor must listen, the person must communicate, they must change, they must try new things. they must try nothing. the science is so new, so changing, so intertwined with holistic needs and organic circumstances that i agree with her in that (our opinions only) 80 per cent of the medications given to create a “normal” brain function are probably just “thrown out there” first instead of way down the line of self-discovery when the ability to understand what is happening with someone’s “feelings”, “emotions” and “thoughts” has matured to a point of cognitive enlightenment.
For example, I did not take any medication for the ‘order’ (sted ‘disorder’) they call ADD until I was in my 40’s. And it took a long time and a proactive set of doctors and discussions, to settle on what I do today to feel like my “self” and function in a manner that is akin to what feels natural to me. And I am not certain this is what i will do for ever… As I contiunually read, research and discuss ways to become my complete, unblocked self. But I must be healthy, and my body clean and coherent, and so there are other important things i do to keep the pathways clear so my brain (as abnormal as it is) can do it’s thing. I recommend three books here in these areas if they interest you, “Driven To Distraction” and “Delivered From Distraction” more of which you can find on the author’s web-site which I will link here. I recommend the books only, as they have been helpful to me and others in my family. I also recommend another i have been reading by James Hollis, “Finding meaning In The Second Half of Life” even if you are not yet in the second half of your life. Again, these are authors I have enjoyed, I am not espousing nor recommending them as doctors or individuals philosophically. That is your choice. I also like German Chocolate cake and peanut butter sandwiches at 3 am, so clearly you are on your own with anything I say.
I want to feel like myself. That is what I work towards daily and what I wish for my loved ones searching for a place to stand still, while they seek a direction in which to walk slowly. (or quickly, if that is their nature!) And I do not wish it to be alone for any of us, for isolation is the dark-side of connectivity, a nurturing and healthy stnadard of human existence. Yet the universe holds that key… a thought for another day on this journey. Where rain drops but does not fall, lest the semanticist in me see that nurturing natural occurence as something negative, rather than positive.
I leave you with one more thought from one of Hollywood’s great musical moments. Feel free to sing along to the Monster’s great debut…
(The photo attached was an attention getter; yours truly playing the bi-polar role of “Brenda Gale/Abe Drangle” in the world premiere musical “Murder on the high C’s” back in 2007; below you’lll find brenda’s “better half” and my preferred role.)