Back to… the “New” Normal?

I hear the phrase, “new normal” bandied about a lot these days.

I don’t really know what it means.

I think the idea is that whatever has happened to you or your family or even your entire country… (wink, wink, nod, nod) it is something you process and incorporate into your system and then pick up your skirts and keep going.

It makes sense for us Americans, doesn’t it?  We are the rugged individualists,  If you let yourself fall and stay down, you will just get trampled by the vast crowd of people who are rushing along with you—to all of their other endpoints… their  Normal.

As Americans, I think we have the collective  idea that if you move through something, with enough vim and verve,  you can come out the other side in one piece and just keep marching, even though your reality is that you  had both legs chopped off…  “Everything is fine here: just a flesh wound!”

Americans are completely and totally a culture of individualism and capitalism.  We are a product of the founding fathers’ (yes, they were all white dudes) morals and beliefs and the era of enlightenment in which they lived and thrived.

To be sure, it has served us well, this mind set.  I can’t think of how many times I have been told (by doctors and the general public) that if I felt bad I should just “get up and dust off my fanny and get going.” So, to this day, that is what I try to do.

I have tried and tried to find a  “new normal”.  I have tried to accept that my life is never going to be without pain or illness or chaos. I have tried to wrap my mind around this idea that my family, those who are still around, won’t have to see or experience any more of it all than I can help. This is my new normal and not theirs.  I don’t want to drag them down with me.

And yet, it seems like I always do involve them.

My husband has to pick me up, or I have to cancel this or that so I can go lie on ice packs or get knocked out so the pain doctor can try and shoot me full of nerve numbing stuff.  It doesn’t always work… but I am grateful that they try.

One new normal I refuse to accept is this idea the ER is just an extension on my house and hospitalizations are just normal and no big deal.  But the fact is, it is a big deal and I don’t want this to be my normal.  I hate it.

I hate the pain and I hate the hospital and the ER and what it does to me and my family. My children avoid me and my spouse takes very good care of all the tasks at home.  He can’t, however, be with me too much.  It is just not in his nature.  So, I have tried very hard to build a wall of protection and nonchalance about what happens to me in the hospital.  No one, except another chronically ill freak such as myself, can really fathom the time I spend, tethered to an IV with my bed alarmed and no way to even take care of my own basics.  Instead, I become needy and feel like I grasp onto people who are not mine.

I think this idea of a  “new normal” is just a cover up.. a scam.. for saying, “look, you are obviously messed up and not getting  better, so please quit talking about it and fade into the woodwork.”

On the African Savanna, where our ancestors  learned to kill or be killed, the weakest ones were left alone to either die in peace or feed the hungry locals, well, both, actually. We are herd animals.  When one is sick and then wanders off into the woods alone: other animals understand and respect that and perhaps they even respect the sickened animal that offers itself up to be eaten so that the herd can keep going.

The jackals come and that poor weak link becomes a fetid, glorious meal.

Life goes on.

The rest of the herd finds a “new normal.”

Well, let’s put is another way:

I don’t think my herd is going to shove me out the car door and leave me to the coyotes anytime soon.

However, I do see everyone that is closest to me, shifting gears so they can carry on the daily details of their lives without me.

I used to cook, a lot.  Now, when I ask my family what they would like for dinner, because I am having a good day and really want to cook, they say, “we have been feeding ourselves just fine so you don’t need to cook for us.”

Okay, strike that function off the list.

I need to find some very part time work and earn some income but my husband always tells me the stark truth.  I don’t have the capability to do that with my current level of health uncertainty. And, he is right.  For the last six months or more, I get about one good day out of every eight.  Then I try not to go crazy and go out and run around so I mess it all up for the next day.  Or, maybe I SHOULD dive headlong into that ONE day.  If it is all I get, then Mazel Tov! Blow yourself out:)

I just never know.

I have goals, and dreams and hopes for the future.  I have a belief system that tells me that there is a loving Creator G–d that understands my pain, my joy, and listens when I ramble on.

Speaking of rambling:)

I have been so remiss at finishing a blog piece these last few months that I have wondered if I would ever come back.

I have started at least three pieces, of which, this is one.

I think this one is going up but before I go I have another tangent I would like to veer  off on so please be patient!

I have been thinking of the “Holiday” season, since it is right upon us.  I am not really big on Christmas as a civilian, Hallmark holiday.  I think a lot of people find it obnoxious, whether or not they profess to be Christians.

For me, it is a bit different.  I have celebrated many a Christmas in choir and from the pulpit, and it might be hard to fathom, but since I let my little Jew self out of the closet (my family was mixed and I have been both; my sister is Jewish and my brother is just annoyed) I have found the Christmas fluffy crap even more overwhelming and insulting.

But really… they have a tiny Hanukkah section at Target.  I tell ya, we have arrived!

Back to my point…

Both holidays are about light.  Both holidays are about hope against all odds.

Both holidays are religious celebrations of varying importance to their own narratives.

Both holidays have roots that extend way back, and in the case of Judaism and Christianity–are rooted in the same origin story.

So, what does all of this tell us?  It tells us that against all odds, miracles happen.

The lights stay on long after they should have gone out.

Babies get born in the strangest of circumstances but still go on to have meaningful lives where they touch other people with all they have to offer.

You never know these things  as they are happening.  You are just in survival mode.

If the lights go out, there is no more hope left for a group of marginalized people.

If the Light of the world is not born in a stable while his people are being persecuted, there is no glorious morning and no birth of a King in the straw.

This is personal for me.

I don’t know if/when my lights are going to go out.  I do know that I am very weary of the struggle.

I also know that my primary relationships are suffering because of all this and I would take it away in an instant if I could; but I can’t.

I have learned a lot but I do not know if I have more to learn.  I can only say that if it is going to be this painful, I don’t want it.

There.  I said it.

I am not suicidal.

I believe in the light and the miracles, still.

I just feel like the candles are flickering and the work of birthing a new way of being and thinking are just far from over.

I don’t have any idea what is next.

I guess that is part of the story too, though.

After the light and the thanks and the food and the singing, how does one keep the light with them?


That’s all I’ve got for the present.

Prayer and patience and a healthy dose of the ability to shut up and listen so that maybe I can quit feeling like I am standing in a field of rocks and thorns and it is an endless maze of bruised feet, torn heart and sadness.

I can’t find my way out just now.

I miss my aunt.

I miss my Peyton.

I miss my mom and my dad and a lot of other things that have already left my life.

Will I ever be whole again in any sense of the word?

Will I find a “new normal?”

I guess I’ll just try and follow the light and assume there is a bit more oil for my lamp.