I Am Not Normal At All
A young girl, a pandemic, and lessons learned
Aurora was a ten year old girl who didn’t feel like she fit in anywhere. Now she was loved and accepted more than she realized by more people than she could imagine. However she felt alone and very different from what she was supposed to be. She saw the popular kids in school with the fancy clothes and hair, they were tall and thin, and they had all the popular toys, phones, electronics and games, they were everything that Aurora thought was perfect and what she thought she should be as well. The problem was that she wasn’t tall and thin, she didn't have perfect hair, fancy clothes or all the cool games and toys, she didn't even have a phone.
She was average height with short curly hair, a beautiful smile with a gentle way about her. Although she saw herself as plain, fat, and ugly. Despite her insecurities she tried to make friends everyday. She would talk about the things she liked and no one was interested and as a matter of fact the cool popular kids made fun of her all the time. They teased her about her hair, her clothes and even that her earlobes were too big. They called her fat and ignored her and didn't play with her at recess or sit with her at lunch. She did care, even though she was hurt by the way they treated her, if they would just be friends with her she would have forgiven them all. But they didn't and as they got older it just got worse. It didn't matter what her family told her or what the teachers did to help it just seemed to make it worse.
It happened to be that she had a love for drawing and creating digital artwork which she had a real talent for, but the things she liked to draw and create weren't unicorns castles or rainbows. She enjoyed things that were a little darker, perhaps. She loved cryptids like Mothman and monsters, aliens and beings that were a little scary, well scary to other people she saw them as the underdogs of this world. Left out and cast aside as being different and scary, alone and misunderstood. She related with them and used that to create a world of drawing and artwork that expressed what she would love her perfect world to be.
Her family was very supportive of her talents and gave her all the time she needed to be artistic as long as it did not interfere with her schoolwork. She took special online classes to learn more about drawing and making games and videos. They took family vacations to find cryptids and had a great time doing it. They even found festivals that had everything she loved. The weird and unusual, no one there was normal as she thought normal was supposed to be which was very comforting to Aurora and on those days she really felt like she fit in and was accepted. Everyone would talk to her and she had so much fun and never wanted to leave. She wished they could all just live in the same town and all go to the same school. That would be perfect!
One glorious day, well maybe not glorious but a very unusual day there was a virus. This virus closed down the schools, it was a miracle. No more school torture, life had become very different and now there was homeschooling. Aurora was thrilled she no longer had to get dressed in an ill fitting school uniform and try to make her hair perfect. No longer did she have to sit alone at lunch and hear whispers about her from the children who made her time at school unbearable. This was her time to shine, she did great with being homeschooled and was finally comfortable not worrying if she answered something wrong and being laughed at. It was finally a relaxing atmosphere to learn in. She loved all her extra time, she drew more and more and created such amazing things. She was really coming out of her shell and was ok with who she was, for now anyway.
Now the virus wasn’t all good, it was actually pretty horrible and lots of people were sick and even died. Everything had changed and we couldn't even go roller skating anymore or shopping. Not that it was all bad she hated shopping. We could go on hikes in the woods and go camping which was great. It gave her plenty of time to look for bigfoot and the squonk. Still as lonely as people said they were in Aurora’s mind it was great not being around all those mean kids. She was also very lucky that she had a big family: her mom and dad and three older sisters and one older brother even though they would aggravate her on occasion especially her brother he was fun but so annoying at times, she was never lonely.
In time the virus was becoming a normal part of life and then there were vaccines for it. So the schools began to open back up, the stores were safer to go to and even the roller skating rink opened. Now the overwhelming fear of returning to school filled her mind. She was so happy with her new life she didn't mind wearing a mask and didn't mind not going to many places. The new school year was beginning and now she was full of dread. Her mother would always tell her, everyone is different, that's what makes everyone special. That is all well and good. She loved different things and people, she didn't love cruelty and that's exactly what those kids were just cruel. Her mother would always make excuses for them too, like you don't know what is going on with them, what if they are having a hard time and they misbehave because they are really upset. Oh please she would think, they had everything why would they ever be sad or upset.
It was time for her to begin the begging process to stay homeschooled. She had all sorts of valid points and mostly they were on point. A few were petty perhaps but it was all she could do to make her case. Long discussions were had between her parents and the decision was made to allow her to be homeschooled. Aurora couldn't have been happier and with everyone else going back to school her house was going to be so quiet and calm. This was the single best day ever, finally she never ever ever has to go back to school. What a relief and she just couldn't understand why anyone would want to go back to that place ever. She loved her teachers and loved learning with the occasional live sessions online with a few classmates that also won the lottery and got to stay home. You would've thought that in time she would be lonely and miss socializing with other kids but she didn't and she had a cousin near her age who she loved chatting with. Plus she did still have all her siblings to talk to.
Every now and again her parents would test the waters by asking if she missed school and the kids there. The answer was always no! Sometimes she just didn't understand her parents' need to make her socialize. Being forced to go to the cyber school activities during holidays she had fun but would never admit to it. Sometimes she even asked to go to things like the winter movie night at the cyber school. It was fun but she still wanted no parts of going back to school full time. Let's face it there really weren't any mean kids at the cyber school and if they were mean it's not like she had to deal with them everyday. So she happily studied and got good grades on purpose because she never wanted to be sent back there. Slowly Aurora began to get very used to going at her own pace and having her own schedule, going to the bathroom whenever she wanted to and even grabbing a snack if she was hungry. Life was so wonderful!
The day everything changed, was a wintery day. It had just snowed and Aurora was looking forward to sledding and throwing snowballs at her brother. As she was getting her boots coat and gloves on in a rather tedious manner. Everyone seemed so sad, how could that be, there was snow outside! She sat back in her chair and just listened to what they seemed to be whispering about. None of it made any sense to her, she didn't understand what they were saying. Choosing a lull in their conversation she asked what's wrong? The simple head tilt and the sadness in her mom's eyes as she looked at her was really concerning. Dad seemed to dismiss her question because I think he didnt know how to tell her. Aurora's brother took her outside and they played for a bit but even he seemed distracted.
Dad called them both inside and asked all the children to sit down in the living room. That was never good, usually family meetings were about grades or chores. She figured it was her sister that was in trouble since she hadn't gotten home from school yet. Aurora thought she had been in detention or something equally as bad. She knew what a horrible place school was. Then sauntering down the driveway was my sister,
who had just gotten off the late bus. She hurried through the door when she saw us all sitting down. She asked what was going on. The same thing Aurora had been trying to figure out most of the afternoon.
Well with that her dad cleared his voice as her mom stood beside him holding his arm as to prop him up somehow. He took a deep breath and said I'm not sure how to tell you this so I'm just going to tell you. Aurora was terrified now, dad was never at a loss for words. He actually spoke rather loudly most of the time, but today he was quiet and seemed upset. Mom stepped in and began to talk to us about the virus. She told us everything about how contagious it is and how sick people were getting from it. Then dad said there was a family at school that had gotten very sick and then told us that the girl whose family it was had been in my class when I had still gone to school. Aurora was very confused why they were having this conversation. She knew it was a sad situation but didn't really understand why they were talking about it. We heard about people dying on the news and how many people tested positive almost everyday.
Just then a car pulled in the driveway, my mom sat down while my dad went outside to meet the car. Mom told us we were having company for a few weeks. Aurora’s heart sank as she stared out the window and saw who was getting out of the car. A tormentor, Abigail is coming to stay at her house, she thought this is not happening, but it was. Aurora's mom said be kind to this girl. She is having a difficult time. Her mom had been sick with cancer for a few years and now she had the virus and her dad is taking care of her. We are going to let her stay with us for a while until everyone is well again. With her arms folded Aurora sat there not budging. Not saying a word even as Abigail walked into her house. Everyone else gathered around and they were being so nice to her. Did they not understand how mean she was to me for the last two years.
As Aurora looked at her she saw tears in her eyes. She almost felt bad for her but then all the memories of her calling her names and all the time she spent making her life miserable came flooding back. Nope she thought, I am not being nice to her at all. Ok her mom said lets get you settled in Abigail you are going to share a room with Aurora she has a bunk bed. What! Aurora said very loudly and with a definite tone. Dad interrupted and made sure to stand in front of Aurora with a glance that made her stop in her tracks. What a great idea he continued as he gently nudged her down the hallway to her room. Show her around and make her feel comfortable. If you need anything Abigail just let us know they said as they left the two of them sitting on the bed.
The silence was deafening and Aurora glared at Abigail as if to say you're on my turf now. Abigail didn't say a word, she just sat there looking lost, sad and alone. Trying to come up with something mean to say to Abigail to pay her back for all the times she was mean to her she blurted out, that's what happens when you don't get vaccinated. Just as the words left Aurora's mouth she knew right away that she shouldn't have said that, but it was already too late. Abigail started sobbing uncontrollably. Aurora knew she was going to be in huge trouble for that one. She didn't like how that felt being a bully and saying such a hurtful thing. She thought it would make her feel better, feel more in control but it just made her feel sad and awful inside. Aurora apologized right away then she saw her mom was standing in the doorway and heard the whole thing. Mom sent Aurora out to the kitchen to get a drink while she comforted Abigail.
What did you do, her sister asked. Aurora told her what she said hoping she would side with her a little bit. She didn't and she told Aurora that not everyone can get the vaccine. That's why everyone who can take it needs to get it so we protect ourselves and other people who can't get it. This was confusing to Aurora. She didn't understand so her dad explained it in more detail. He told her that since Abigail's mom was sick for so long that she couldn't get the vaccine and somehow she came into contact with it and got very sick and now she is in the hospital. Abigail's dad still has to work and go to the hospital to check on her. SInce she cant be left alone she is staying with us for a few weeks. Be kind Aurora that's all you need to do, I know you two are very different but maybe those differences can be interesting. Getting to know her helps her feel normal here. She has been through alot of situations that aren't normal for everybody to go through.
Aurora had a new understanding of why Abigail was there and that she should be nice to her, she crept down the hallway and back to her room with a glass of water for Abigail. Her mom patted them both on the head and walked out of the room. They stared at each other, then Abigail said to Aurora I’m sorry I was so mean to you. Shocked, Aurora stuttered with her words for a bit. That's ok, she said. Honestly Aurora wasn't sure she actually meant it. That seemed way out of character for Abigail. After all Abigail was the one that used to always say why can't you just be normal. And in response Aurora always shouted I am not normal at all! But she knew she had to put those thoughts behind her or she would definitely get in trouble.
Abigail was plugging in her fancy Iphone and asked if she could have the wifi password. She guessed she had to tell her the secret password. Its Venomeatsbrains! All one word capital V. She looked at Aurora like she was a freak just like she did in school. That's different she said, Yeah it's my favorite marvel character. They sat silently for a while then Abigail looked up to examine the posters on her walls. Do you like anime too? Aurora was shocked that she even knew what anime was. Abigail said she really loved Naruto. So did Aurora and she was excited to have someone to talk about Naruto with.
They began talking and even laughing together, Abigail wasn't being mean or horrible. It was a strange few weeks. They became closer as friends and even understood each other much better than they had ever thought possible. When Abigail started looking sad Aurora would show her some of her videos the dark and sad creatures she created seem to somehow comfort Abigail like she knew exactly what they were feeling. Aurora realized that Abigail was not normal at all either.
Over time Abigail's mom started to get stronger and they said she could come home soon. She was overjoyed that she could go home. Aurora was actually kind of sad at the thought of her leaving, she was happy her mom was going to be ok. It's just that she was afraid that everything was going to go back to the way it was before. You see Aurora was even considering possibly going back to school now that she had a friend there.
The day came when Abigail was going back to her home to her family. Aurora seemed nervous about it all. What's wrong Aurora? Abigail asked. Aurora just muttered under her breath that she guessed she'd see her around. Abigail gave her a big hug and told her that she wouldn't have been able to handle any of this without her help. She often told Aurora how much she loved her drawings and that encouraged Aurora to draw and share her drawings with other people and that one day she would become famous. The idea of that thrilled Aurora, and what better place to show off her artwork then at school. They made plans to meet at lunch and Aurora and Abigail were happy to be going back to school. Where they had become best friends and even began an anti bullying campaign with the help of the teachers. They even used Aurora's artwork for the posters.
Everyone is different, that's what makes everyone special, would echo in both their ears and that's what allowed them to see each other to really see each other for who they were. Aurora knew she was different and now she also knew that everyone was really truly different too. Physically, monetarily, mentally, there were so many differences. Religions, politics, points of views, fears, wishes, dreams everyone thought differently and that was ok, it was ok to be different. It was ok not to be normal. Because there is no such thing as normal. No matter what, there is a reason for everything and that's ok. What is not ok is being mean and unkind to everything and everyone. She learned how to respect her differences as well as others. It was a revelation of sorts even though she had always been told this. She began to feel sympathy towards people, especially the ones who were so cruel to her.
Aurora looks a little deeper and gives them the benefit of the doubt. She became responsible for her own happiness and Aurora learned that it's not what is said or done to you that makes you sad or hurt, it's how you choose to accept it and react to it that causes you to be sad and hurt. Being on the outside of it all gave her the chance to take a step back and look at all her experiences and see it for what it is. People being different and trying to understand how to fit in and accept each other. She is ok with not everyone liking her or understanding her. Aurora is different and that's what makes her special. It's what makes everyone special. Whether everyone understands that or not it doesn't make her sad anymore or hurt and one day they may know how special all their differences are and how that makes them all special to each other.
So one good thing to come from this horrible virus wasn't getting out of going shopping or going to school. It was learning that there is nothing normal in life. She's not normal at all and that's ok. No one is and no situation is normal we just need to learn and be accepting, that is what this virus taught Aurora.
About the author
"Everyone is different and that is what makes everyone special." However, change through curiosity is the true mark of character. Let's explore all that is to be uncovered. Join me to look at life through as many lenses as possible.