Who’s normal? Ethan Wilkins
I believe in imperfection. The ugly black mole, the bubbly wart on your toe, and the massive before prom night zit. Don’t forget the funny chipmunk laugh, the annoying way you eat food, and that unhealthy habit you can’t get rid of. I believe in these.
20 years from today, my brother Flint was born with Down syndrome. A horrible condition that worsens the heart, and makes the mind less intelligent. The disease makes the person have a thick tongue, small fingers, and a resembling face we all know. But, these features don’t matter to me; I love my brother for his humor and constant happiness he brings to my family. Why can’t others see so too?
It hurts me to see people make fun of Flint’s facial features, and childlike doings, I hate it. So, last year at the pool, when someone started to make fun of him, and hurt him, I went out on the person. It made me angry, horribly angry!
How can people say such things to Flint?
How can people judge him by looks?
What is wrong with them?
These thoughts clouded me. But, after the feat, my brother just waddled through the water to me and smiled and said,” Can I show you a trick?” I chuckled, and he continued to show me his dives and hand stands through the water. But ever since then, I kept a close eye on people who spoke to Flint. I never forgot what happened.
Flint has brought such inspiration to my life. His constant view of life, the basis of it watching movies and eating. But its ok, that’s cool. He doesn’t do much, but I know that in his head, movies are his way through the world, his haven in an Earth of hate, and misunderstandings.
How he lives life isn’t as we do, which is why he’s so inspirational. Flint doesn’t need high tech music players, or conventional ovens of the era, only a couple hundred movies to watch over and over again. We all can live by this. We don’t need perfect lives, or perfect physiques, but imperfect points of view on life.
I see now though, that Flint isn’t alone. Everyone is like him in their own way. We all have imperfections, things we want to hide from the world. Unfortunately, his is more noticeable. So why do they see Flint so horridly different from them? From normal? I find normal is not a word. It isn’t. Nothing is normal. Everything is not perfect. And, I like things that way. It makes us unique.
I never judge now by looks and imperfections. Ha! I know that these imperfections are what make us special, unique from the normal. The impossible line to cross. Flint taught me this, and I live by it. Flint isn’t normal, but he isn’t different form anybody else either. People may say he’s imperfect, I say, I know, but still, he’s flawless.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.