Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This is My Normal

This is my normal.

In the past 21 months that I have kept a blog and have been sharing my writing with the world, I have created a book of sorts, or a series of essays in the making. These essays have explored different aspects of my life and the various roles I play. I began the blog during a tumultuous time. A tornado of sorts had been unknowingly invited into our home and it took me several months to reach the point where I could open a window and let it out to stir itself to another location. The damage it did to my home was repaired quickly and I vowed to be more careful in the future. But as with most of my decisions, I am not hasty in saying I can’t completely regret the experience. For enduring the storm taught me a great deal and when the clear skies returned, I believe I never saw a brighter blue.

The year 2011 was not my favorite, but it ended and there were some moments that I will hope to never ever forget. There were days of pure joy and days of humble acceptance of life’s changes. Although I was most ready for the ball to drop at Times Square and to usher in 2012, I know that 2011 shook me to my core and knocked me down with a stinging slap, but that the fear and the pain of that year made me stronger and wiser. That’s a bunch of cliches I realize, but there is simply no plainer way to express it.

The thing is, in the months of 2012 I have been hit with more challenges. I have been open, honest, and transparent in expressing my emotions and that has brought me some interesting attention. Some people have expressed concern for me which is lovely on one hand and disconcerting on the other. It has made me stop and ask myself whether or not writing of my feelings has changed any. Perhaps there is worry that I need help in returning to “normal”. But then I realize what is true. Circumstances may have changed, challenges may have increased, the stress in my life has been amped up to what a friend recently called a “shit ton” of degrees. But I am, at heart, the same woman I have always been. I know this is true. This is my normal. 

I am honest. I am expressive. I am happy. I get sad. I am intelligent and thoughtful, intuitive and wise. But I am silly, impulsive, weird. I am dramatic. I am fierce. I am protective. I am your best friend. I am your worst enemy. I am a force to be reckoned with. I hate arrogance. I hate dishonesty. I can tolerate almost anything except intolerance. I am strong but I do cry. I am one you can count on but I want to count on you. I am organized but my bedroom is a mess. I am a lover of all things creative, of all things that are colorful but I need order and structure and security. I’ll get that closet of mine organized again...and the bureau, and the chest where my clothes have spilled over to. We creative types get kinda messy with our work stations but I’ll dig myself out of the mess. I just need a little more time.

I love to laugh and I love to smile. I am appreciative and grateful. I am given to moments of despair but you can count on me to pick myself up in an hour, a day, a week. I get knocked down because I think too much, I care too deeply, I imagine, I worry, I fret. But I know who I am and I am always going to be okay. I just need a little more time right now to sort out all these stressful circumstances.

This is my normal.

This morning I told my Creative Writing class that we were going to do a prompt writing together. Although I’ve had them writing for nearly three weeks now, today’s prompt came with a slight twist. I told them I was going to collect this one from them, so I realized that they might have to figure out what to say or how to say what they wanted or needed to say knowing I’d be reading it. I told them there was no right or wrong way to respond to the prompt. They were to take it any way they were inclined to. Then I wrote these words on the board:

This is my normal.

I gave them ten minutes to respond. At the end of the time, as is my habit, I alerted them that we were nearing the time for a transition to another task. “Okay. Find a spot to stop and in the next minute or so, look over what you’ve read and at the bottom, again write the words, “This is my normal”.

And that’s when I saw the head shake. It was Dawson.

“No? You can’t write that?” I asked. I wondered if he’d written something completely off track or if he’d perhaps realized what he’d written was NOT his normal. Dawson simply responded, “Not yet”.

He wasn’t done. He had more to say. That’s when others in the room began to nod in agreement. “I’m not there yet”, said Nate.

It was decision time. “When do you think you’ll get there?” I asked. Jake raised his palm. “Five minutes?”

Allie answered, “Ten minutes”.

“Ten more minutes?” I asked the class. They all nodded. Knowing what it’s like, how cruel it can seem to have a teacher stop you just when you’re getting to the good stuff, I knew I had to give them that time.

“Okay. Ten more minutes”, I smiled. And they went at it again.

You see, it sometimes takes a little more time than you’d think to adequately express, to another human being, what your normal is. So I’m going to ask YOU for a little more time as you try to get your head around how to make sense of what you see in my writing and as you try to figure me out. I know all you need is a little more time to see that...

This is my normal.

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