I scroll daily through Facebook feeds, stalling for time in between work and school-related tasks, and every time I do, I come across compelling viral articles that are just breaking about ordinary people saying interesting things about their ordinary, everyday lives. It seems that much of what we attend to these days is not so much concerned with celebrity (while still a preoccupation, this is true); but more and more stories are geared to the every day in life. We are somehow compelled to listen to the average person telling their story in intriguing ways. And we are interested in the telling of that story if it is done in such a way that champions the right of the individual to live their life in average, ordinary ways.
In other words, we are increasingly fascinated by people who are ordinary and embrace this fact articulately through the written word.
Take the story that recently went viral about Joni Edelman, the mother of five, who recently wrote an article titled “Being Thin Didn’t Make Me Happy, But Being “Fat” Does.” Edelman writes the article stating her happiness in being quite average- average as in being in line with the rest of the parenting populace in North America who have had their babies and are now living life with kids in tow (eating on the run). Her article defends her right to be overweight and happy as compare to being thin and constantly concerned with her image and the accompanying public perception. It seems that in allowing her weight to rise, Edelman gave up her preoccupation with being above-average. Gave up her obsession with being extraordinary.
In other words, she is now a woman who embraces her every-day, average ordinariness with absolute joy and acceptance.
In another story, this time written by a girl to her former male colleague and friend, the author also defends her ordinariness in an open letter. She writes about a lunch date with this guy from her summer job in which, upon sitting down at the table to eat, he immediately tells her she “looks like crap.” The author, toward the end of the viral article writes the following words:
“I don’t wear much makeup these days. I like the feel of my skin when it’s bare; I take good care of it. I like that I can rub my eyes whenever I want, and my lashes don’t get tangled when they’re not caked with mascara. My hair gets frizzy sometimes, especially when it rains. I still have mild acne and scars from years of picking, when it used to be a lot worse. My cheeks are perpetually red, and my under-eye area dark. And it’s okay.
The world can see me as I am. I am raw, I am exposed, and society can take it all in. Go ahead and assess. Maybe I’m a one out of five. In my book, I’m a 10 out of 10.”
What is all this telling us about our the average person living life out in our current western culture?
Well, maybe average is enough. And maybe even more than this, it is perfectly okay to be ordinary and embrace life as it is, how it is, for what it is. After all, average is beautiful; and it is normal, people. It is what most of us are characterized by on any given day- days that are not-so-perfect as well as days when the sun is shining and life is beautiful. And days that are everything else in between.
There is no shame in being average: average is enough.
And average is Beautiful.