i had a conversation recently with a co-worker about the word “normal,” in which i stated “i think that ‘normal’ is the most destructive concept ever visited upon humanity.” strong words, yes. but remember, please, i’m a scot. this is just the way we talk.
i was very high and mighty. i expostulated and expounded, thinking i knew of what i spoke, given my recent bout of self-honesty, my binge of self-allowance. oh, how righteous in my unrighteousness. i had found the way, i had seen the light, i had let myself be consumed in the conflagration of my self. heady stuff, that.
in the midst of this inferno, i’ve been exploring my boundaries. the recent photo-shoot, for one. and a spontaneous eruption of naughty work adventures. both unplanned, both incredibly liberating. both leading me further into the fire than i thought myself capable of.
but what was to come next? how much further could i go? i decided to do a little shopping. if i was to continue, which i most definitely was, i thought it best i do so armed with the proper equipment, so to speak.
i ended up with over $1,000 worth of merchandise in my cart and a mind and body exploding with possibilities. i wanted to try it all. right then. immediately. nownownownownow. i somehow managed to put many items aside, ending up with what i considered the bare minimum to continue on with my adventures. it was still a hefty chunk of change, but i looked at it as an investment.
on twitter, a friend wanted to know what i was buying. coy, i refused to say. eventually, after some prodding, i dm’ed the product page and received the response: “what’s wrong with that?”
i was a bit stunned. “nothing at all.” i replied.
“i don’t particularly like the idea of it for myself,” they said, “but i like all parts of you, and don’t want you unable to say things because you think you’ll make me uncomfortable. that wouldn’t make me a good friend.”
what an unexpected lesson on acceptance. with that, i moved a bit closer to accepting it myself.
then yesterday, following a thread of a thought, i was searching the internet, looking for a term. i wanted to know what the word was for biting due to arousal. the instinct, the compulsion to meet teeth to skin. it was pure curiosity. i’d been biting my lips a lot lately, you see, and being a word nerd of the highest order, i wanted to place it among the growing list of self-discoveries.
in my clicking and scrolling, i came across an extensive encyclopedia of sexual practices, and spent most of the night being alternately shocked, aroused and disgusted. i was fascinated.
and abashed. i realized that though i’d been talking a good game, it was all just lip service. i was disgusted by my disgust. i suddenly saw the lingering strings, the fine filaments holding me fast to ideas of right and wrong. instilled by my parents, my community, my church, my long history of shyness and wanting to be accepted and needing to please others. i saw them, and i severed them.
please, don’t misunderstand. normal can be necessary. i have no problem with its application relating to data. to math, or science, or anything that needs to be quantified or compared or defined by some threshold.
when it becomes tricky, downright destructive, is when we try to apply it to ourselves. what a unique combination of systems we are! what an intricate framework that houses the composition of self! forcing our individual forms into a predefined box only breaks off the parts of us we most need. how can we put one name to the mass, the mess that makes us? how dare we think we have to? that we should?
as long as we understand, really, truly understand that not only does it take all kinds, it takes your kind andmy kind, what isn’t normal becomes normal. and not being disturbed becomes being disturbed. in the best possible way.
and the thought rolled over me like a lover, pressing me down and setting me free: it’s amazing what can happen when we simply stop saying “i shouldn’t.”
this is important.
do what you want. do what makes you happy, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. unless, of course, they want to be hurt. that’s a different story altogether.
i never did find the term i was looking for. so, liberated, i will take the liberty of coining it myself.
caraphagia: the act of biting due to arousal. a compulsive behavior, performed upon the self or another person. can lead to odaxelagnia. which can lead to caraphagia. which can lead anywhere you want to go.