There is a land called Normal that draws millions of pilgrims. They all come from the farthest reaches of the earth to enter the place called Normal. None of the pilgrims know why they wish to enter the Land of Normal, but they are driven by the terror of being left out of it. Many come through hazardous terrain, cross arid deserts, and scale high mountains to reach it. Many will give up their families and friends. Quite a few numbers give up their faiths just to enter the gilded gates to the place called Normal.  They will alter their bodies and induce strange fasting rituals to be deemed worthy to enter. Everyone knows the most challenging obstacle any pilgrim wishing to enter the land of Normal is getting past The Gatekeepers.

No one knows the names of The Gatekeepers. No one has really seen them. Some think that they are terrible ghouls who sworn to protect the land of Normal. Others claim that The Gatekeepers are enlightened angels who eyes see only what is pure and good. Whether angels or demons all the travelers agree; they are feared. The Gatekeepers demand high sacrifices, changes in personal clothing, and for some to alter their bodies before admitting them.

Great jubilation greets the new citezens of the land called Normal. Much fame is given to those who have reached the land of normal. The Land called Normal  gives festivals in their honor and their names are broadcast among the pilgrims as legends of greatness. Some write books to guide future pilgrims to this miraculous place and others warn of the perils of being an outsider. They are also given a book of by-laws written by The Gatekeepers. For the land of normal is a land of rules, and if they are once violated they bring banishment to the violator.

Those who have been banished can never come again to the land of normal. They are lost and forgotten by the great place, their names become a by-word to the pilgrims. A warning to others who would come to the land of normal: do not associate with the banished. Even speaking to them can bring down judgments of shunned from The Gatekeepers. The shunned judgment is what every pilgrim fears. The thought haunts the dreams of the pilgrims by night and causes the stress of their hearts by day.

The land of normal has a dark secret. The secret is known only to a few and The Gatekeepers. Once in the citizens of normal dare not venture out of the country’s borders.  An innocent walk can carry devastating consequences. The citizens of the land of normal know the awful truth that the pilgrims never know until too late.  The Gatekeepers are not guards who keep the world out, but wardens who keep prisoners in.

To give up your individuality is to give up your freedom.

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