The day was ushered in, slowly, gently, on the soothing melodies of my feathered friends. Glancing up I spotted various birds dancing among the canopy of trees above me. Streams of sunlight spilled through random spaces. I inhaled deeply, and then released a contented sigh as my eyes focused on clear water flowing lazily. Near the river’s edge my eyes caught sight of the flowers that littered the bank. Not much varied in the species, except for a plant that caught my attention. Where the others grew on the bank, it stood near the river’s flow. It looked similar to those on the bank, but it was growing beyond the normal spot for its kind.
I sat on a rock and thought about living beyond the lines of normal. The plant stood alone. As humans we are social beings and desire companionship and connection to others. Some need it more frequently than others, but despite the frequency or infrequency, at some point we all seek interaction. Problems arise when we cannot stand alone for a purpose, or a dream, or for a hope. Complications swirl around us when the need for connection and companionship causes us to be clingy or become herd like and we cannot step beyond the safe zone of the riverbanks of our lives to experience life’s flow. I have come to realize the necessity to sometimes stand alone, so our individual beauty can be better exhibited. Sometimes we need to step beyond the line of normal so we can know what we are made of and what our contribution can be.
Beyond the lines of normal lies a world that is largely unexplored. Anything that seems unusual is frowned upon and a war begins, to bring the unruly thing or person back between the acceptable, ambiguous lines of normal. The plant in the flow of the stream would certainly have had a different growing experience to those on the bank. Those who step beyond the lines of normal won’t tell a group story but an individual tale. They are the ones we find fascinating. The ones we aspire to emulate. For their story does not unfold like everyone else’s.
Obviously, living beyond the lines of normal can be lonely. It means that when everyone else is going east you may be the only person going west. We live in societies that encourage the herd mentality, and request that we meet certain requirements to be labelled successful. Though designed uniquely, we insist on conformity. We submit to compelling pressures to mimic the melodies of what a few have decided is normal because our individual song sounds different.
But beyond the lines of normal, the pressure is released, for there is now a different standard, a new standard. The rules change and the ideas of what are exceptional or prosperous changes. You now have the opportunity step beyond what you have been told and explore new areas of you. You get to use your skills differently, and demonstrate personality traits in a new manner. Yeah, beyond the lines of normal you now get a chance to explore those ideas that others said where impossible or foolish. You now get to test that aspect of your personality that never seemed acceptable to others. All of a sudden, the authentic you have space to burst forth with flare and color. The concept of being genuinely you take on new meaning when you step beyond the lines of normal.
It takes tenacity to live beyond the lines of normal. The flow of the water would have been a constant pressure that threatened to uproot the plant. There would have been shifting foundations and rocks and other debris coming its way. But the plant held on and developed a system by which it not only survived but flourished. It is so easy to stand on the sideline of life, to stand with the crowd fighting for the same nutrients. But a richer life exists beyond the lines of normal. The plant had a stronger trunk to be able to stand up to the flow of the water. Broader leaves, for it was exposed to different nutrients. Stronger roots, for it was constantly bombarded. You may face more exposure when you step beyond the lines of normal, but it also brings out the finest qualities in you. Too many give up when life gets tough and would rather slither back to the damp dark shelter of normal, forsaking the vibrancy that exist beyond those lines.
You must have a different perspective; it leads to a different vision. Those who dare to step beyond the lines of normal appreciates that there is more to life than what others around them know. They know there are other things to perceive and experience and it is theirs to have. Regardless of feelings of uncertainty, they prefer to venture out and see something different, experience something other than the dull grind of normal.
It is easy to be overlooked in a bunch; it is hard to miss that which stands apart. The world might want to force you to sing a particular note, but take a look around; humanity cannot help but stand in awe and appreciate most, those that proudly croon their own melody. Normal? Who wants that? Isn’t it time to abandon that lot? I want to dance in the richness of my unique existence, and the intoxicating freedom of authenticity that exist beyond the lines of normal.