Kathleen Stoltzfus

Featured Artist /  First Friday, July 1, 2011 / “Flights of Fancy” Exhibit

What is normal, anyway?

“Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it.” ~Tallulah Bankhead

What does normal mean? Average, run-of-the-mill, common? Or getting along, fitting in? According to Webster, it is “conforming to the standard or the common type; …regular; …approximately average.”
It seems to me that thinking and doing things the way most people do is probably the easy road – unless, you just aren’t wired that way. Then it chafes like ill-fitting shoes. But while not conforming to the standard might be a good fit for you, it sure does make a lot of the people around you darned uncomfortable. Most folks don’t much like different. They don’t know what to do with it or about it. Different doesn’t fit neatly into a box – at least not one that they have.
For awhile I figured my idiosyncrasies were just youth. And gradually came to the point where I decided it was time to “grow up” and be normal, fit in, meet expectations (you know, like getting a real coffeepot). But those shoes just didn’t fit. The sculpture with this post is one of the first that I did after I began making art again. It was soon after I moved here, real close to my family. Feeling the pressure to conform, it was my attempt to illustrate the desire to break free of both external and internal expectations and limitations, while at the same time celebrating the very things that can hold us back if we allow them.
And so I have come to the point where I can just smile* when people ask me “how do you think of these things?” – meaning my art – and think to myself, “how can you not?”.
*Although inside I cringe because, after all, who likes having to justify the way their brain works?

 

Kathleen