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Mama Gump had it all figured it out. I think. In an effort to lessen the burden of Forrest being “normal” in order to be accepted to public school, she says, “What does normal mean, anyway?”
Then we all know what she did after that.
There’s that word, “normal”.
What’s normal, what isn’t. What’s this “new normal” we’re starting to fashion into a way of life. Here in Ontario, we’re coming up on 14 months of intermittent lockdowns, rolling virtual school semesters. What’s become “normal” is that things aren’t fucking “normal” at all. So, I keep making my bed every day. Every single day.
No one has visited our home since last summer. No one has come by. No one comes in. And no one BBQs or campfires, or a glass of wine. No one stops by for check in.
We planted trees last summer. Three weeks into spring, and I haven’t mustered the energy to go out back and check on them.
A friend offered me his lilac bushes for free, if I wanted to drop by and dig them up. I never went. I never went, because I feared it would be more work than was worth it.
That’s what’s becoming normal.
Normal has become wearing a mask around my wrist as I fly out the door to work. Normal has become putting the dirty masks in the waste bin to be washed later. It has become mindlessly saving memes, and flouting good advice by continuing to read through the comment sections on social media. It’s getting used to the idea that the festivals are canceled again, that the concerts won’t be proceeding as planned, that people are still getting laid off, that money is running out, that relationships are waning, and arguments are the only way to talk to one another.
I continue to make my bed, every day. With the big, oversized throw pillows and the stuffed panda, and the pillow shaped like a little tube. And I fold his pajamas and leave them on one side, and mine on the other. I pull open the shades and I turn up the Spotify. And I schedule my socials, and I drink my shake, and I run on my treadmill and I wonder if this is all that’s ever going to happen in my normal.
When the phone rings, I don’t bother to answer. What’s there to say? What’s new? Nothing. What’s happening? Nothing. I can’t have you over. And you can’t invite me.
What’s normal is the clacking of keys. And the pulsating beat of my heart, begging me to get up and take a shower. And find meaning in the day to to day, because there has to be something else out there.
Pages of novels lay in wait for my next paragraph, my next inspiring prose. Discarded knitting needles folded among the threads of forgotten yarn balls from a project I’ll never finish. Empty pages of art books, hoping to be coloured. Knowing they won’t be. Sadly adorning shelves of other incomplete projects that began in the hope of staying creatively normal. Normally, I am creative. And normally I want to write poems, and draw pictures, and paint canvasses, and read books, and plant flowers, and water seeds to become vegetables in gardens that line the pretty boxes of my back yard. Normally, I want to strap on my roller blades and helmet and skate mindlessly on our country road in the heat of the sunshine with the normalcy at my finger tips.
And normally I wouldn’t be bothered by old memories that pop up that flout better times like a slap in the face to the dreariness I feel on the daily. I see the pictures look up at me like a snarky, old pestering wound that continues to puss its former glory all over my miserable existence. I am not normally this pessimistic about life and its challenges, but the pandemic has offered me a new normal. A normal that doesn’t include campfire hot dogs with family, or roadtrips to unexplored adventures, or movie theatres, or classic musicals brightly lit on the stage ready for me to applaud loudly and cheer for the characters who allowed me to shed my own normal for theirs – even for just a few precious, precious minutes.
Yesterday, I had to will myself out of bed. I stared at the sunshine between the blinds. And I begged my inner voice to let me get up. Push me up. Allow me out of the bed, out of the mind set that buries me deep like the ocean on high tide. “Get up, Care, you can do this,” I chide myself, eventually giving into my own calls for duty. Otherwise, I could have easily slid into the covers, and buried myself into the pillows and gone to sleep for the hours I’d have preferred. Nothing about this, for me, is normal.
I make my bed every day. Every single day. I pull up the sheets, and I tuck in the duvet. And I fluff the pillows in and effort of normal. A semblance of normal. Like an old friend welcoming me back to normal. I need this normal. It’s the last of my normal.
My son moved out this week. My son, nearly eighteen, has gotten himself graduated and a healthy career, and the promise of a future he’s carved out for himself. He’s moved out. And him no longer here, no longer feels normal. Normally, I’d be fighting him to wake up, bring up his dishes. Dropping by the coffee house for a double double on his way into school. We created this normal, he and I. And now he’s creating his own.
Normally, I’d be waking up my youngest and reminding her that she had school work to do. And normally I’d be pestering her to clean her ferret, and help with dishes and that she’d be responsible to her little stepsisters after school. But my youngest has moved to my sister’s, where there is full time family and home cooked meals, and cousins that sub in as siblings she has around the clock. She’s created her own normal.
And normally for me, when I enter into a new challenge, my discipline takes over and I’m capable of thrusting myself into a new, conquering mindset where nothing will take me over or take me down. I want the ‘w’ like Monica at a ping pong match against Mike. But there is no normal right now for me and as I stare down the barrel of this new weight loss challenge in an effort to get back to the girl I might have been, I feel lost and incapable of making it so. I can’t will myself to fully participate. I give myself the creedence to say – I had a shake. I went for a walk on the treadmill. I’m not even running anymore. I’m just walking on an incline like it’s normal. This. This is not normal. Not for me.
I’ve also given in to anxiety medication full time. Which, again, is not normal. And while the edge of panic attacks has eluded me, I am not normal by any stretch. I find no reason in painting my lips for the lipstick series I started. No wonderment in creating recipes for my careful chatting recipes Instagram. I have not found a normal that was worth the normal I’ve given up.
And so I make my bed.
Because I know, somewhere in here lies a girl locked away and trapped inside a shell she could normally break. But she’s tired and angry and frustrated and moreso, she’s just exhausted of pretending like things are normal in some sort of effort to not raise the white flag and say, this – this is not normal. I don’t feel normal. I feel blasé and out of inspiration. I feel morose most days and not even the sun seems to want to beckon me to a life I used to know or tried to devise.
What is normal, anyway, asked Mrs. Gump.
You’re right, Ms. Gump. What is it? Is it making my bed? Is it getting up from the couch. Is it daily strolls and shakes and learning to re-love everything I used to enjoy? What is normal? Besides masks and sanitizing and losing my path and causing havoc in relationships and learning to find purpose and meaning in blog posts and daily quotes. What is normal, anyway?
Cause this normal? It sucks.
I make my bed because I need something to believe in. I need something to remind me that one day, I can look back and say – through it all, I found a shred of normal. I was there, buried beneath the throw pillows and blankets and the colours of my room where I went to find even a shred of normal from a life we used to know.
I’ll keep making my bed. Every day.
This week, I’m continuing the 12 Week Biggest Loser Challenge. It’s supposed to be motivating me into eating better, letting go of the bad habits I fell into after I left the studio, and push me to rid that final thirty pounds I so desperately want to let go of to get to my ideal weight. It’s not be easy, suffice to say. And it’s taking more discipline out of me then I was prepared for. I didn’t realize what strength I had last summer when I initially elected to take over who I was. But now that it’s here, I’m finding myself really having to summon up the courage to keep pushing.
Meals this week were a lot of steak. I’m not sure when Jan I became such steak obsessors. But it was another week of making our mark on the BBQ. Likewise, though, I’ve become strangely addicted to dark chocolate covered albums, much to mine and my bellies chagrin. Shark week will do that to a girl.
On the flip side, I’ve gone back to milk and sweetner in my coffee in and effort to ditch fatty creams and bring down my calorie consumption at the all might Tim Horton’s. I have continued to faithfully enjoy a shake of greek yogurt and peanut butter every day. And while I try to do better by sauces and eating low cal dressings, I can’t help but justify the grilled chicken Caesars we do up so well at work. Next week, I’ll take a proper dive in to actually losing weight, not just maintaining the 170 I’m at right now.
But, pleased as PUNCH to see this dress fit better than last year:
As always – please join us on the Health Care page:
And as previously aforementioned in many of my blog posts, I do have one of those sites where I strip it down to my knickers to show off the journey DM me for that link.
You can collab with me on the Health Care Spotify playlist:
Also, after speaking with my Family Doctor, I am now full time with my anxiety medication. It was a decision that was not easy to make, but necessary.
I hope where ever life takes you this week, that you’ll go authentically and remember you are loved.
See you next week. xo