About Average

Digital illustration from photos: Handy, or a Handful?

Am I handy, or just a handful?

I’ve always thought of myself, without any implied value judgement, as an average person. But given my conviction that each of us is as distinctive as the proverbial snowflake, being average does not imply sameness in every way or with every one. After all, I have my distinctions, as anyone who knows me in the least can tell.

Still, in my particular milieu, those paths I’ve trod in my life’s journey as well as the matrix of my personal genetics and environmental influences, I have never tended to stand out from the crowd much. Some of that could clearly have been thanks to my preference for being a wallflower and remaining as invisible as I could manage during all of the years of my intense anxiety and self-doubt. But I really did blend in more than not, even when I felt like an emotional outsider. I’ve generally been just about smack in the middle of the majority wherever I’ve found myself in life.

Few are the superficial and visible things by which I can or could be easily singled out from a crowd. I am of approximately average height and weight, not particularly short or tall, thin or fat. I wear what I’m told are the average sizes in clothing—mostly Mediums, if not numerically average in a more specific way—and the most common size of women’s  shoes, those also in the medium width. I have brown hair; I have all of the standard, requisite limbs and appendages and other body bits in the ordinary places one would expect to find them, and a relatively symmetrical frame. I am neither notably hideous by popular standards nor a stellar beauty.

My education extended to college and a master’s degree, something not everyone has the wealth or privilege to experience, and I got pretty good grades all through, but again, nothing to put me on the map or anyone’s Specialness radar. My personal life, my daily activities, my work life: these are all unmarred by major peculiarities or notable oddments that would make me memorable to anyone who wasn’t already paying attention to me. What does all this mean? Is it unusual that I’m, uh, not unusual?

Nope. I think what it means is that each of us, unique in some ways, is utterly average in others. The world isn’t actually divided neatly into things, let alone people, able to be classified as belonging in a certain percentile as Normal or Average, above or below it, and remain in that category in all ways, for all time. Every one of us people, places, things, animals, vegetables and minerals seems to have a complex, and ever-changing, collation of classifications, each of our characteristics being at its own level, some of which levels vary over time and—

Oh, never mind. This could devolve into such a death-spiral of convoluted thinking that I might just explode into some sort of extraordinariness, if I’m not careful.

[Muffled, slightly crazed laughter]

11 thoughts on “About Average

  1. I think you are a remarkable woman with loads of extraordinariness and I am honoured to be able to ride along for the journey.
    Have a beautiful weekend dear Kath.
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

    • Stretch? Not at all. As soon as I saw the word horsemint in your link I knew it’d be a great match. Cool! Hey Presto!! You always do have interesting ideas up those sleeves of yours. 😉

    • Yes, ma’am, you are absolutely right. You, of course, happen to be extraordinary in many, many ways, not least of all in recognizing the useful subtext that expands and improves upon my scribblings. Thanks!

  2. I’m exploring your blog for the first time and I find you have created an amazing space here, with your thoughts and your art work – has to be someone extraordinary behind this!
    And I have a weakness for hands, what better to illustrate people than hands? We use them all the time, for all kinds of things, take them for granted. Only when we look closer, we see how different they are, and what they express. Great post!

    • Many thanks! Yes, hands tell us so very much. And of course, they can be a challenge to incorporate into artworks, sometimes precisely *because* there’s so much inherent information to master. Glad you enjoyed the post, all the same.

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