What is normal?

1

(The Sugar Loaf and the sea)

I went for a walk today. It was early, before the rush crowd so it was easy to hear the birds, the nice song birds. The sun was shining and I was feeling good. It brought back a really strong, beautiful memory of being with my Dad on a frosty sunny morning, out in the countryside by the edge of a big field. I was about ten. There were lots of other people around, mostly men, talking and joking and I was happy.

2

(Beautiful beach somewhere in Wexford)

We were at a coursing meet. For those of you who had a different childhood reality to mine, coursing is dog racing with real live wild hares. A hare is let out of a pen first and then two dogs run after it. The winning dog goes onto the next round and the overall winner gets a trophy. The hares either escape or die.

3

(Sand and stones on Greystones beach)

In my reality that behaviour was normal. We have all grown up with behaviours that are normal for us and our childhoods. We have also grown up with thinking that is normal for us…. Thinking like, life is hard, it’s impossible to get a job, I couldn’t succeed in that, there’s not enough time, you’re dreaming! It’s probably unlikely that my coursing memories will have a negative impact on the quality of my life, but my normal thinking might….

Think abnormal, Mairead.

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