In a recent edition of the Guardian Book Club podcast with Jeanette Winterson, the author tells a story from her early life. On revealing that she had fallen in love with another girl Winterson was issued an ultimatum by her mother: stay and be straight or leave the house. She chose the latter, and as she walked out of the house her mother called her back. Winterson, thinking that perhaps her mother had changed her mind turned around only to be asked
"Why be happy when you can be normal?"
The interviewer John Mullan and the audience laughed spontaneously, and so did I. But later on when I was thinking over it, I realised that it's a question we are all asked and often ask ourselves. Not overtly. Not aloud. But quietly. And persistently. It's the raised eyebrow when we tell people our choices. It's that moments hesitation before we take decisions. The tone of disapproval in conversations. Why are you doing this when you could do that and be safer?