What Is Normal?

This is a question a passenger asked me after I said ‘when we get back to normal…’

A year ago, a pandemic was about to rear its ugly head and introduce us to lockdowns, social distancing, masks, and death and uncertainty. This past week here in Texas, a winter storm showed us how vulnerable and fucked-up things are here. In both cases, survival was busted down to its barest and most-desperate moments and now that the sun is coming out, the damage may not be visible like the devastation after a hurricane or tornado. But the devastation is there, this time in people’s minds that are beyond tired as hell.

It’s experience that defines the term ‘normal’, and that’s good or bad experiences. For me, my version of ‘normal’ is going along feeling good and maybe just maybe getting some traction on my life when something comes along to kick that out from under me. It’s happened so damn many times I’m always looking for it now, which is where my anxiety attacks come from. I don’t want boring and predictable because that becomes a grind and I’m through with that. But I don’t want a daily roller coaster of crap either.

So what do I do?

Fight off those anxiety attacks as best as I can. Breathe deeply and focus on what needs to be done. And most of all, keep a hold of my traction despite every damn attempt to kick it out from under me. Because it’s not a person trying to do this because if it was I’d probably kick their damn asses to hell and back. It’s just shit happening and not having the perfectly-right resources to deal with it. But I don’t have to be an incompetent state power-company official or corrupt and incompetent politician and deal with shit in a dumb-ass way. I can learn from this shit once and for all and honestly, the biggest thing that used to hold me back- what people might think of me, is gone.

So in response to the question what is normal I will say this:

It’s what you make of your life. It’s you taking control where you think you don’t have any. It’s standing up to people when you need to. It’s believing in yourself when you haven’t believed in yourself enough in the past. Most of all, it’s putting shit and pain in the past and not letting yourself, or anyone else, grill you about what you’ve done and the decisions you’ve made.

The normal I want is feeling like I can stand strong against any shit that comes at me and not cowering in fear and unshed tears. It’s not so much that I want a break from the shit, but I want to embrace any opportunity that comes my way and not feel like I don’t deserve it. We all deserve good things and should embrace them when they come. And if anyone tries to piss on that, fuck them all to Hell.

I think the problem we are having is that we’re thinking that the bad that we can’t see coming is what is normal. It’s not bullshit to shift your thinking to the positive and instead of the negative because negative thinking just feeds you shit-thoughts and feelings. Positive thought is not denying things. It’s believing in something good when you’re feeling bad. This is something I’m working to tell myself more often and it’s starting to work in small steps.

If you want to ask yourself what’s normal, ask yourself instead what do you want in life? How do you want to feel?

Most of all, believe even when it’s hard, and fight like hell against anyone or anything that wants to kick your damn feet out from under you. I know we can all get up when we land on our asses, but if we don’t have to be on the ground in the first place, don’t let anyone or anything put you there. Make that your ‘normal’.

Today’s album: ‘Brave and Crazy’ by Melissa Etheridge, 1989 (this is a correction from the original post as to the correct year this album originally came out)

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