Day 7 – passing for normal

This post has a theme song, so go ahead, click on the link and play it in the background while you read. I’ll wait…

John Mayer – Gravity

Today, as I’m dragging ass as a consequence of indulging in ONE beer last night (Oh, Protospace I love you, but your lovely beer does not love me!) and I’m particularly aware of the limits my physical reality are pushing down on me (i.e. I feel like crap) I figure it’s as good a time as any to come clean on my slug-girl secret life.

@ajproc said in a tweet a few weeks ago about no longer trying to fit a square peg life in a round hole world (apologies Art, that is likely a very loose paraphrase). Something in that stuck with me, and I’ve been thinking a lot about my tendency to pass for normal. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ta da! first time ever I’ve publicly referred to my particular flavour of fucked up health) is funny that way – so long as I’m not burnt out exhausted and overstimulated, when I’m out and about there’s no real visible indications of my disability (gack, I hate that word – shall we use fuckedupitude instead?).

But the truth is, I’ve got a heaping pile of fuckedupitude I’ve got to deal with on a daily basis – and being as dealing with that, and dealing with maybe getting to be less fucked up, or building a better life within my fuckedupitudeness is a good portion of what’s going on in this 100 day project, I may as well be out with it.

I’m not normal, my life isn’t normal (there could of course be a hearty debate about what constitutes “normal” but I’m not going there right now). When I first started with samba (and was on an upswing with my health) I thought: here’s a whole circle of people who don’t know me, don’t know my history, don’t know I’ve been ill – here’s my chance to have a social sphere where my fuckedupitudeness (gosh I’m really starting to enjoy that word) doesn’t have any sway. Well I hit a humdinger of a relapse after that, and my friends at samba have seen me at my worst, and seen me through some bloody awful crises. A mixed bag of humiliation for the failure to pass as normal, and deep gratitude for the people who showed an incredible amount of class and compassion when I needed it.

And here I am again on the upswing (and terrified of the downfall – I’m sure you’ll get to read more on that later, ’cause it’s definitely in the top three of my Big Issues right now) and again opening up to another whole sphere of people who don’t know my history, don’t know what I’m dealing with Every Frickin’ Day and just see me in those times when I’m well rested (and absolutely bouncy with joy about being out and amongst such phenomenal people!).

But people are starting to catch on, l think my twitter peeps are starting to notice I make about 1 event for every 10 they attend. That simple question “what do you do?” becomes a loaded one, and I’m stuck trying to explain that this otherwise extracurricular stuff is My Big Thing, the rest of my days and energy are filled up with life management, napping, and trying to move a writing career forward (at 5hrs a week instead of 40hrs).

But thanks to @ajproc‘s little tweet, I too am abandoning efforts to cram my square peg life into anything other than what it is. I’m not going to bother trying to pass for normal.

Gravity is indeed working against me, it often gets me down. This half-speed slug-girl life ain’t like yours, but I’m making a pretty decent go of what I’ve got.

“Twice as much ain’t twice as good, and won’t sustain like one-half could. It’s wanting more that’s gonna send me to my knees.”

6 thoughts on “Day 7 – passing for normal

  1. Mostly at work, I spend time trying to pass for:

    coming from a different place but fairly normal for that place in such a way that I can gradually open up about myself.

    It doesn’t work very well.



  2. Most of the people that I know live very boring and mundane lives. They work, they save money and every once in a while they piss away a Friday night eating chicken wings and drinking beer with the closest of their friends, if they’re lucky enough to have any that have time to share it with them. These are the people that say that Calgary lacks culture, that the people aren’t as friendly here as somewhere else and that if you don’t like the weather you just have to wait twenty minutes.

    You’re more involved in living a good social life than those people.


  3. Hugs, Val. Fitting into a pre-determined mould is overrated.

    This post is very, very fitting for me today. Trying to find my own shape.

    Best of luck to us both :)


  4. 100 days, posting from where I’m at. Which isn’t meditative, but has a value of its own.

    Today I’m doped up with a headcold and rolling in and out of bed. This is a kind of stuck that feels fine, emotionally. Waiting. Waiting and feeling like I’m on a more basic level of my existance. Considering sleep at every turn, aware of my energy, keeping one goal in mind, if any, putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve always found physical illness to be a relief after depression. It sounds heartless and self-absorbed to say, but I’ve even found grief to be a relief in contrast to depression.

    The stuck I have trouble with is waiting for a better chance to live my life, to risk, to do. My thoughts racing and sniping (monkey mind.) Of being tired of myself.

    Valerie, I can’t drink either. When I’m up long enough I’m not terrified of my downfall – it’s not real. But when I’m down, or clawing my way up, I dread all my future downs. I wish you much up, health, and sun!


  5. Hmmm… maybe appearing normal isn’t something to aspire to. I think the word you’re looking for is not “normal” but “average”. And who wants to be that?

    I think I’m normal, but compared to the population at large, I’m certainly not average. Something about being a gay, married, professional artist, 70s sci-fi worshiper, occasional author, planning on moving to Mexico precludes that.


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