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Comments 74

Can I put on ‘normal’ like a coat?

I slept so badly last night, here in Australia, acutely aware that back in England, my Mum was [hopefully] being assessed by a community health care team (previous post explains HERE). I’m writing this now as I wait to hear outcomes from my cousin ‘C’, who kindly took the day off work to be there as well.

I woke up to scroll my Facebook feed, which is full of #MeToo. SO MANY WOMEN. I keep saying ‘Not you too? And you! OMG it’s nearly everyone.’

Then I see the hurricane has hit Ireland, the wildfires blaze on in California, Puerto Ricans are drinking contaminated water, and North Korea has threatened Australia for aligning with America.

For fuck’s sake, this is NOT normal. Or rather, this is NOT what I want my ‘normal’ to be. I can feel the anxiety squeezing my head and chest; I have a low-grade churning in my belly that’s been there for days now. And yes, I’m still cooking dinner, feeding the cat, helping with English homework, and making vague plans for the Xmas holidays.

But I feel pretty shit. Acutely aware of my privilege, my pretty wonderful life, my access to all the resources I need (apart from same sex marriage in Australia, if I ever wanted to do that). This throbbing in the back of my skull cannot possibly compare to the grief and stress of a Puerto Rican mother trying to keep her baby clean, or of a family who’ve lost their entire livelihood and home to fire, or been shot in Las Vegas, blown up in Somalia, buried in Mexico.

I know that.

Where’s all our ‘normals’ gone? Everything is shattering, falling, melting, drowning.

Yet for so many humans, ‘normal’ is always shit… worse than shit…

But if I keep looking at that right now, I may explode.

So I tuck my head down, and look for my ‘ordinary’ jacket; it must be round here somewhere; maybe Mum’s got it? Oh, wait, no, she’s lost it…

And so it goes on.

 

PS: I’m sorry for the negativity of this post (usually I’m pretty upbeat I believe), but I don’t know what else to do right now, plus I took a vow to be ‘bone-true’ in my tales on here. Any suggestions gratefully received xx

 

74 Comments

  1. Trace-Blogs says

    I’m generally a pessimist so I hear ya. What I tell myself is that there is always something to be grateful for, no matter how small. Try not to take the weight of the world on your shoulders, there’s nothing you can do about North Korea. The world is a mess but perhaps it’s always been a mess? The 24 hour news feed makes it impossible to be positive. As for the “first world problems”, yes in the scheme of things they seem trivial to what is going on in the world but they are problems all the same, sometimes they plague us and sometimes we can shrug them off, we all just deal with what we have been dished I guess. I am quietly hopeful that the uprising of darkness in the world is making way for light to conquer. And yes, #MeToo, I wrote about this after Taylor Swift’s court case. We have to believe change is possible. Sending hugs x

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Trace, such wise words. I really appreciate your long thoughtful comment. And yes, I too am hoping that the light is coming after all this escalating darkness… Hug accepted x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Please never apologise for being negative. I’ve heard a lot of people say “there’s always someone worse off than yourself” in the last 2 years, and they’re right BUT when you ARE going through a really shitty time and you’re feeling anxious and worried and all the things that you’re feeling, it’s hard to be all empathetic. For what it’s worth, I can’t imagine how you’re feeling right now, but I am thinking about you and hope that things get better really soon. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We cannot and should not deny how we feel. I agree with Trace, find one thing to be thankful for and multiply from there. It does the soul good!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is really hard to be upbeat, for all the reasons you cite. I will never accept the current state of the world as β€œnormal.” I just hope that enough of us have the energy, strength and endurance to find a way out of this morass and create and sustain a world of justice, equality, and respect for the earth and all of our fellow inhabitants on it. Your message speaks for so many of us.

    Liked by 3 people

    • YES YES YES Donna. But today, I’m tired, small, weak, and resigned. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be back… or maybe the day after. Thank you for connecting and supporting x

      Liked by 2 people

      • My hope is that there are enough of us that each of us can step back when we need to, to replenish our energy, restore our strength, and tend to the home fires. Others will step in until they feel the same need. Perhaps out of all this will come a new understanding of β€œcommunity.”

        Liked by 3 people

        • Another big fat YES from me! As I typed my reply, I was reminded of the story about geese flying: the ones following all honk to encourage the leaders, and when they’re tired, new ones move to the front, and so it goes on… today I definitely need to slip to the back and just follow in the slipstream; I can’t even honk today.

          Liked by 3 people

  5. I don’t think there’s a woman, or girl child, on the planet who hasn’t experienced male violence in some form or another.
    The scab is being peeled off the festering wound … and that, like all the other things going on in the world, creates chaos and disruption and pain.
    As great as our anger and grief is, it also creates a space for women to know they are not alone, and that, just that, is very powerful.

    Sometimes I get saturated by mainstream media’s obsession with ‘doom and gloom’ reporting and I disconnect for a while.
    I use a visualisation of concentric circles. In the first circle is me. I shut out everything and everyone until ‘me’ is the center of my universe. Then in the next circle is Mrs WIdds and our life here on our island, the day-to-day things we need to get done, work, bread baking, etc. The third circle is friends and family.
    Once I’ve spent time in each of these circles, tending them, a little fertiliser here, a little sunshine there, a little pruning along the back fence πŸ™‚ … then, and only then do I focus on the last circle, which is the world beyond. And not all of it at once, just a slice here and there, that feeds my soul, or is a battle I’ve chosen to fight. (which is sometimes the same thing)

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I think we fell far too much pressure to be positive when our real emotions are negative. You’re right: these are scary times, and not what any of us wants to be normal. So I think it is okay to acknowledge your emotions, be gentle with yourself, and know that one way or another, we will all get through this. When I feel overwhelmed, I give myself a little breather, and then get back in the game when I feel ready. It also helps me to remember all the times in history when people must have felt that their world was collapsing around them, and yet they pulled through and things did get better. Hang in there… good will prevail one of these days! Meanwhile, we help each other cope.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Unreleased emotion can choke, so better to release it in one loud, shattering primal scream. It is a happy bonus if doing so leads the rest of us to think and reflect upon our own conditions.

    Being of a progressive and quantitative bent, I think the median human “normal” has been steadily increasing over time, albeit in fits and starts, and that it will continue to do so. That is not to deny the suffering of those on one extreme from the median (much of the planet), but here is the thing.

    It is a curious fact that I, a Jewish-raised-Atheist, grew up to a large extent on Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar. In the former, even as Tevye sings about his longing to be rich, he observes that being poor is neither “shame” nor “honor.” In the latter, Jesus sings, in response to Judas’ bitterness about the money Jesus is “wasting” on “oils,” that there will be poor always, pathetically struggling, so look at (and appreciate) the good things you’ve got. My mother-in-law was born at the very end of the Depression into a fairly well-off family, but her family would still deprive itself of little luxuries out of a kind of guilt about their status. I have always thought that was absurd, because that made their lives a little less good while making not a single other person’s life better (a net negative).

    Basically, you are already wearing your normal coat. We all are. Act where you can, especially in your own life, so long as the outcome is either net neutral or net positive.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I think yoga helps ? One of my favorite online yogis , Irina Verwer, opens one practice with a beautiful story about Arjuna , when he was at the brink of ethical and moral breakdown on the battlefield . Be a yogi, Krishna told him, by which he meant engage with life . I find sometimes multiple layers to existence , and a path of grace sometimes winds through the messiness .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes indeed! So true; I don’t want to ‘rise above’ & thereby deny all these feelings, but really feeling them is wearing me down today. Thank you for your great comment πŸ™πŸΌ

      Liked by 1 person

  9. If it helps, they’re getting the fires more under control now! The main one in Sonoma County is 75% contained and mostly just smoldering anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I actually don’t find this post negative personally, I love the idea of putting on a ‘normal’ coat – but the thing is, there is no normal. I’ve had many lessons of late re breaking stereotypes – you just can’t have them. I will post on this soon I hope (along with everything else I think of posting) but I am very much FML right now as well for many different reasons, some I feel are too revealing to write about directly. Despite my FML status, I have much gratitude for my strength today and my ability to deal with all I have on – and kick arse doing it. I don’t always kick arse or have such strength, but today I have and today I do – I am very grateful dor that.
    Sending much love & light to you, my friend πŸ’« πŸ’«
    Ps. Please do enjoy your curling up with H for all of us who are lacking our own ‘H’ at the moment.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. zlotybaby says

    “Normal” is relative. Your normal is your normal whether you’re well off or very poor and anything deviating from your norm can be upsetting. There’s been some research into how people deal with horrible tragedies. After something really bad happens, let’s say you end up in a wheelchair, you’re in despair. Than there’s a readjustment period and then, for most people, their new situation becomes their norm. I’m assuming normalizing our circumstances, whatever they are, is just a coping mechanism. This isn’t to say that we can’t occasionally think about how grateful we are to be able to walk and to have all great resources of the first world but it’s just natural to sometimes get upset when things are shit in relation to our expectations. Don’t be so harsh on yourself πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well that comment was worth waiting for πŸ™πŸΌ
      Thank you for explaining that. I really DON’T want to acclimatize to all this shit stuff though, that’s the problem 😐
      But you’re right: I should be kinder to little old Me. And I’ve booked a massage for Thurs so I can do just that (another huge privilege). Thank you for engaging and commenting ❀

      Liked by 2 people

      • zlotybaby says

        I don’t know what all the shit stuff is as I started to read your blog only recently. However, if the shit stuff is something that you can’t change you’ll probably have to accept it and normalize it eventually. Eckhart Tolle says that there are three reasonable courses of action in any situation: accept, change it or leave it. I’m not sure which one is applicable to you at the moment. Whenever things seem to be spiriling out of my control and in a bad direction I repeat to myself my version of the AA mantra “Please help me accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can change and know the difference between them”. I hope it helps somehow. A massage is a good start to treating yourself well 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m reminded of a comment from many years ago, it may well have been Sir Bob Geldof talking in relation to famine appeals. Whether we have a little or a lot, we can feel overwhelmed by guilt that we have more than others or don’t have to deal with horrendous situations that others are in. He said ‘Don’t feel guilty, feel grateful’. Always stuck with me, as guilt is a negative feeling, but grateful is a positive feeling and is more likely to put us in a frame of mind to find ways to help or at least see the good. The world is such a painful place, people are so hateful; I try and deal with it by seeking out what is being/has been done for the better. Statistics that show real progress on issues such as poverty, education, sanitation, equality, the list goes on. Progress is being made. Maybe the problems seem worse as we wouldn’t have heard about many of them in our previously less-connected world. Oh, that’s not good, that means it’s always been this bad :/ Looking after our own little corner is a good place to start. No ONE person has to fix the whole world. It’s all relative. Chastising myself in front of a friend for feeling sorry for myself when there were so many in the world much worse off, and she said ‘but this isn’t about them, it’s about you’. For now, all you have to do is look after yourself and your immediate needs, whether you fly at the front or take a seat further back. I hope your upcoming 4 day hug helps you do that πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw bless, thank you! Such great advice (used to have a huge crush on Bob Geldof I admit); I made myself have a beach walk yesterday, then an early night with a god sleep, and have booked a massage for tomorrow. I do feel better, and grateful; plus the support on WordPress has been amazing. And you are part of that, THANK YOU xo

      Liked by 2 people

  13. ❀

    I love my blog for the main reason that when I'm having days like this, I can just vent it all out. Hopefully, it was therapeutic for you and that it released some of the weight of all that stress.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I share a lot of these feelings, trust me. I have a good life. After the initial stages of separation crap, things seem to have settled but I can’t help worrying about friends and even strangers going through this nightmare. I’m always thinking what I can do to help and I know I’m limited, but I’ll still do what I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Some fabulous comments here and I love the Bob Geldof reference. Feeling grateful is so much better than guilty. A wasted emotion. I’m glad you get so much support from your blog – I’m still working my way through it!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: ORANGE SKY – Diary of a Failed Marriage

  17. It’s truly beyond words what has been going on in the world lately and all we see is devastation and hardship.
    We share so much in common and I just returned from Germany recently. My mom got admitted into the hospital while I was there and should undergo an assessment as well when it comes to her diabetes. I talked to her yesterday (briefly before work) and she followed me through the day and into my sleep last night, so I’m the right with and understand. Hang in there and know that you are not alone.
    Hugs πŸ¦‹πŸ’™

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rhapsody πŸ™πŸΌ
      I had indeed been reading your blog & thinking ‘there’s another daughter dealing with not such an easy situation with her Mum…’ πŸ™πŸΌ
      And yes, the world is in a bit of a mess 😫
      I guess we just practice being grateful & compassionate, while trying to stand up for what we know is Right (esp Mother Nature), while also taking care of ourselves? πŸ™πŸΌβ€
      Am getting a massage today- can’t wait 😊
      Thank you for reading & commenting πŸ™πŸΌβ€

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a powerful comment and message my friend . I totally agree, one day at a time and best wishes to you as well. It’s not always easy, but luckily not all days are that tough and there is rays of light out there. πŸ˜‰
        Sending much love your way and thank you for stopping by. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Having lived for the last 50+ hrs without power, water, internet etc, no idea what was happening outside our little home it became ‘normal’ to not know, to have to boil water on a tiny calorie gas stove to make a drink, to not having hot food, to wash with a ‘cat lick’ etc. Today I brought baby wipes and hand gel which I forgot, tonight our power came back on πŸ™‚ Now we are back to our usual ‘normal’. I think what I am trying to say is that what is ‘normal’ changes and we adapt, we survive. The longer it becomes normal the more we adapt but adapt we must and adapt we do. If we have nothing that is our normal, if we have everything that is our normal, if life is a struggle, that is our normal, if life is easy that is our normal….whatever it is we survive, we do what we need to do because it’s all we can do. I’m glad my life isn’t always tough but sometimes I wonder if I am any happier than the man I met years ago who proudly showed me his pen of guinea pigs and his hand made garden tools, he had so little but was immensely proud and happy, I’m not sure I can look at anything I have and feel that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an amazing & insightful comment, thank you so much. I think it’s mainly the constant state of anxiety that I don’t want to become my new ‘normal’; I just feel that I’m worried all the time about issues big & small, global & local. It’s very draining, yet relative to so many millions of folk, I am extremely lucky… I do greatly appreciate your wisdom, thank you πŸ™πŸΌ

      Like

      • A digital and news detox works wonders. Turn it all off, drop out and take a break from it. It will still be there when you come back to it (sadly)but you won’t be quite as overwhelmed as when it’s in your face all the time. There’s also the idea that we should only focus on what we can actually change in some way, the rest is outside our control. If we all do what we can individually, collectively we make a difference, the sum being greater than the parts. Make your new normal the one where you concentrate on where you can help make a difference, trust that others are doing what they can about the rest in their own ways.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I didn’t find this negative. I just read about a small piece of your life that you have shared with honesty, that’s why I’m here. Being mindful is not easy and sometimes our little spaces are flooded with too much. To be held is just what you need, be still breath and move on. I have chosen to live in NZ my aging family are all in England, I hear you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for understanding & commenting; being so far away now feels like a huge challenge, and Mum is not very well supported at home, so I’m worried… but sharing it here and getting such good feedback really helps. Thank you for reading : )

      Like

  20. I do not think any apology is needed for being negative but I know why you did, I often find myself apologizing for shit that I should not apologize for.
    Anyway, sorry I am behind on your blog, I am slowly catching up but my real life adventures have taken precedence. I hope everything is going okay and things are a little brighter and sunnier in your world right now!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jad- I think I just wanted to apologize for being a bit of a downer… but it’s just the world isn’t it? Things are looking up a bit for Mum in the short term, I’m happy to report. And I’m glad your real life has been so adventurous πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ’ͺ🏼πŸ”₯❀

      Liked by 1 person

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