I must live under a rock because I didn’t know that Mrs. Johnny Depp came out of the closet on her alleged marital abuse. The story caught my ear when I was rushing around with the Today Show on in the background, but I stopped what I was doing and stood at the TV.
Abuse and I have a long history, and not one I prefer to recount. But the future ex-Mrs. Depp used all the right words. And while her bruised-face pictures are worth a thousand words, the authorities will question and distort everything. Although they think they can know the truth, nobody ever truly knows what goes on behind other people’s closed doors.
Whether we’re curious or get an emotional sting, we feel triggered if we can relate. And not just with celebrities, but even with social media posts. At the top of my feed the other day I saw a family picture from someone I know who never posts.
For many years prior to my divorce, our two families were very close. Then I got divorced, moved away, lost touch with them, and feel sad. The kids are almost grown up now, and the beautiful photo of their family brought a tear to my eye, which headed me down the path.
It got me thinking about normal families, people who get married because they are in love, have children, live textbook lives, in a typical happily-ever-after scenario. No abuse, no trauma, no drama.
I guess we could wonder if anyone lives a normal life, and what that really means anyway. Is what people show to the world always what’s real? Is there even such a thing as happily-ever-after? Everybody has skeletons in their closet, right? Sure. But some families are more stable and enjoy that status quo.
My family is not normal. Or typical. Or textbook status quo. But neither am I, I never have been.
I realized that when I decided to follow a month’s worth of daily blog prompts with a well-known blogging platform. As much as I tried to adhere to their assignments word for word, my words just wouldn’t come. Instead, I just wrote what felt right, even if it was technically wrong. I have a hard time following, or adhering to the norm.
The good news is that the norm is sort of in the eyes of the beholder in any given situation. People, our culture, society, the world makes up the definition of normal and then we can decide to subscribe…or not.
It’s not normal to abandon a writing assignment and still participate. But there aren’t really any rules when it comes to blogging, or for that matter even with life. We get to choose how we proceed. Sometimes our choices prove profitable, sometimes they land us in mud. It’s when we start thinking that our choices are mistakes, we’ll never get very far. It’s not easy to think of things that seem odd as normal and fine, even good, but I’m choosing that perspective now.
So my triggered revelation about my family not being like my friend’s perfect Facebook photo was big. I love my crazy family just as it is. Its not typical, it follows no standard trajectory, it subscribes to no norms. In fact, our family tree is more like a jungle, our family scrapbook is more like recycle bin. It’s been messy, difficult, often exhausting and even heart-wrenching. But instead of being sad, I’m celebrating our incredible uniqueness.
Who says unconventional is bad?
Mrs. Depp has a long road ahead of her, but she gave herself permission to reveal her own truth, and in the big picture, that’s what really matters.