Abnormality

There is a very fine line between "normal" and "freak" and it's a line that you can see from one side but not the other. Misha described it like a cliff... as you approach it from the "normal" side, it looks like a horizon... and then when you fall off and look back after smashing on the rocks, it's really obvious.

The thing is, I couldn't tell you where, exactly, that line is, and I don't know that anyone else can either. I can tell you who's on what side... whether someone is down below on the rocks with me, or up above and haven't fallen off the cliff yet. But I don't know where that cliff is for a given person. Like most landscapes, it's not a straight line across.

One of the most eye-opening realizations for me recently is that I didn't fall off that cliff as early as I thought I did. It's easy to get close to the edge and not realize it's there, and think that there was some other line that you've crossed on the way. Maybe you're beyond the railing marked "Danger: do not cross." I spent most of my life between the railing and the cliff. I finally leapt over the edge and felt quite liberated for it.

In all my desire to not classify anyone for them, and to not see things in extremes, for some reason I can't shake this particular division that is so minute that you can't pick out one from the other in a crowded room, yet so obvious it impacts my interaction with other people in a very extreme way. And when I meet someone, can tell what side they're on instinctively. On a rare occasion I'm proved wrong, but for most my gut reaction is correct.

What is it in us that causes us to leap over the cliff? What is it in us that causes the people on the one side to be blind about the people on the other? And what tells me, exactly, where on that cliff someone is?

I think the difference internally between someone on one side and someone on the other is the knowledge that your thought processes are different from other people's. Sometimes that takes a change in the process and sometimes it just takes an acknowledgement. But it means that you will recognize that someone you are dealing with may not reach conclusions the same way. You will recognize that there are as many different perspectives as there are people, and be better equipped to see things from someone else's point of view.

The psychologist in me is very interested in perspective. I like to find out about how other people view the world. I'm interested in what makes someone tick. I like to know how different people view the same situation. I try to find out whether varying tastes mean that we perceive something differently or if not, why different things appeal to different people. I want to know why some people prefer reds and yellows and why I prefer blues and violets.