Trinkets and Armor, 2: Normal Is a Self-Defeating Trap

 

If you are visiting from Poets United or Kerry’s 55-er, and wish to delight only in the poetry, just scroll down to the end of the post, to read “Be Weird”.

 

When my brain began brewing this project, the first name that came to mind was “Reclaiming My All”. I discussed the title with friends, and we agreed it was powerful and empowering. But a few days before publishing the first prompt, I changed my mind. I am still quite fond of the phrase. I mean, it is a line from a favorite poem by a sexy, intelligent and unbelievably modest writer I know well.

But… since what I wanted was a place where we could get better at loving and nurturing and understanding who we are now, I felt (and feel) that a title that might even imply that we’re trying to hold on to the past could be dangerous.

Flexibility is a great pal to have on speed dial. And for those of us with bodies and/or minds slightly mangled (by trauma, illness, vintage-ness…), flexibility should be a best friend who never goes away. Trying to reclaim what we once had (with the tools we have now) is a dream that can promptly turn nightmare.

I said this much, perhaps in much harsher words *cough, cough*, to a friend who told me, “I hate this f*cking body. All I want is a normal life.” My explosive friend and I live with similar digestive system conditions. And if you know anything about Crohn’s Disease and other IBD, then it’s very likely that you already understand that “normal” is something that happens to somebody else.

When life changes, we must change our living. In the past, I was as rigid about my routine as Minerva McGonagall is severe about her bun. But life has been teaching me that to even have a chance in this battle called living, I must turn to Severus Snape: battling chronic illnesses “is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating…” So, guess what, my Wicked Luvs? Our behaviors and approaches must mutate too.

I fight my own many-headed monster by never forgetting that my “normal” is strange, and my strange is forever changing its face. I welcome all the faces: when my Piano Man and I must cancel a date because my body decides to house a fever that day, we change our going-out date for a naked-stay-at-home-and-veg date (Yum!); when I’m in so much pain that I can barely open my eyes, I close them and plot tales about how energy is energy is energy… until I can turn the life-sucking energy of the pain into strength-giving ink; when the pain is so bad that even the eye-closing-and-plotting trick is too much, I call a soul I love and who loves me back, and say, “I’m about to start screaming, so tell me filthy jokes. Or, let’s plot completely unrealistic strategies to get Malfoy and the Orange Infection out of Hogwarts.” Unrealistic plotting is rather therapeutic.

So, there you have it. That is how I stay afloat in normality’s seemingly insane ocean. How do you do it, my Wicked Luvs? How do you hold on to your Self when life continues changing the rules of the game without warning?

 

Here is my poetic contribution for this week’s prompt:

“Be Weird”

Normal is a trap—
be weird, unstuck
your spirit, tWiSt and stretch…
until you can live and love
without screaming
into deaf hands.

Of course, you can
break, I did
(and the self-stitching is never-ending…).

I
just love
all my pieces—
faulty flesh, weary soul…
all.

Normal is a breakable cage

…write your Self free…

 

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123 thoughts on “Trinkets and Armor, 2: Normal Is a Self-Defeating Trap

  1. At 69 years, I should be wizen and giving advice…..but on this subject, “How do you hold on to your Self”, I am clueless to the inth degree.
    As a child, I was miserable. I was the product of a very unhappy woman and a ruthlessly mean man. I was abused but it took me until I was 54 for the child who was protecting me, allowed me to remember why I hated my parents so very much. And why I had no soft spot for them anywhere in my heart. During this time, I had been abducted by some college guys and raped and tortured but couldn’t tell anyone. My relationships with men were, needless to say, one of mistrust and caution. Even typing that makes me feel dirty.
    The only good thing I got out of my first marriage was my beautiful Shelley, my daughter and best friend.
    Poor Joe, who loves me, but certainly does not understand me, has for many years been undone with my weirdness.
    I love to play, I love my grands, I love to ignore the fact that I am olde. For someone who is as structured as he is, it is hard. I can’t help it though and wish, with all my being, that he would get me. I am extremely lonely in my “abnormality”.
    Because of my trust issues, it’s hard for me to see people as being genuine. But when I have proof in my being, I am over the moon with the friendship, or just the knowing of someone trustworthy.
    So when I think of normal, I think of a setting on the dryer. It has nothing to do with me. I don’t even know what normal is.
    I look at others, or read about others, who for all the world proclaim in word and deed that they are in fact normal? I know I look like a cocker spaniel being offered a treat because I cock my head and ponder…..huh???
    I realize that all of this is the reason I have been so fiercely protective and selfish with/about my grands. So this new blending of families with Shelley and her fiance Brian and his two girls is hard.
    How do you hold on to your Self?, I don’t know. My self, was used, taken from me and replaced with mania. I am just waiting for the answer to knock on my pointed little head. (You have no idea how many therapist have just thrown their hands up because of me. You have no idea how many physicians just think I’m fat and lazy with no “reason” for being ill.) And I have no idea how to do this reality without people who care.
    I’ll figure this out because I have to or die without ever knowing what it feels like.
    I don’t usually open up and it feels like a betrayal of me….but I said I’d be honest and participate and so here I am.

    • Oh Oma!!! *obvious sympathy for your horrors aside* I feel so incredibly honoured that you have seen me as someone you could trust….and you will never be Alone in your Weirdness with this crazy crew waiting to play with you. 🙂 And remember…”weird” is just boring peoples word for “Unique”, they just lack the imagination to recognise greatness. Your “weirdness” IS Your “self” ;D XXX

      • I too am blessed by your thoughts and acceptance. May this new endeavor that we are on together, bring some peace, some love and some rock n roll, tee hee. Love ya sweet lady, xoxo Oma Linda

    • Oma, I’m right with Gina. Weird is our self refusing to let go of its uniqueness. Society continues to make boxes to put everyone in, and that never works. This also apply to those we love whose weird doesn’t quite match our own. Your Sweet Man might not understand all your twists and turns, but he loves you… so he takes the ride anyway (Devil Dogs enjoy living dangerously *cackles*).

      Doctors are people, too. And some of them are made of the same stuff the rest of humanity is made of. As soon as they see someone they can’t “diagnose”, they try to cure then instead of seeing them. Sometimes, the only way we can win the battle is by realizing and accepting that we’ll only have a handful of people who really know us. These people, our wee tribe, become part of what makes us stronger. The rest, well… they will always have to miss just how freaking fantastic we are.

      • Hear hear. This line really hit me hard: “My self, was used, taken from me and replaced with mania.” Whoever or whatever took your Self from you, it’s clear that you have many people surrounding you who want to help you find it again, to be used by *you* and by no one else. And to everyone who wants to take it away – they can just try, but they’ll have to get through us!! **hugs**

        • I too am blessed by your thoughts and acceptance. May this new endeavor that we are on together, bring some peace, some love and some rock n roll, tee hee. Love ya sweet lady, xoxo Oma Linda

        • Oh stars, I’m a bit of a lunatic when it comes to following threads, replies etc. So the first comment to you is Gina’s.
          Now, I don’t “know” you yet, but your words make my heart sing. Thank you for giving me that mental picture of us standing shoulder to shoulder and protection is offered for all of us. I look forward to our gettin’ to know each other. Thanks Dainy

      • In your comment there is a thread of wisdom about loving, accepting and rejoicing in our weirdness. The self wants to be true to the self. I’m there and this group “wee tribe” is just exactly what I need, but then you and the universe knew that. xoxo Oma Linda

    • Hugs Oma Linda, thank you for baring your precious soul and opening up such hurt and deep wounds, massive hugs and love for all you have endured and overcome….you are amazing and creative and magical. As for the therapists you described..my thought, you are perfect and beautiful just as you are! not to mention…. a super beautiful soul!

    • Dearest Oma, how I wish I could fill your soul with the same soothing, loving support your words have just given me.

      All my life I have both taken pride in and wept over the differentness of my Self, never understanding the who, what, or why of it – much less trying to hold onto it (kinda like that nailing Jello to a wall thing)

      But your words, “I’ll figure this out because I have to or die without ever knowing…” wrenched my innards. This, then, is why I have to fight to not give in to this current round of pain-induced darkness that incessantly lures me to just slip away. I don’t want to die without knowing so I will protect my Self, even if I don’t really know who that is.

    • Oma Linda, thank you for laying yourself bare to us. Such a brave, honest post. We have all gone to Hell and back, fighting struggles that many people don’t see or don’t understand. The fact that you are here and able to share, tells me you are a warrior. ♥️

  2. we all need a little weird in our lives and I am always drawn to the unusual and weird but in my world thats a good thing!! I love that,,,, normal is a breakable cage,, that is beautiful!

    • Laurie, finding normal is a trap when we are “of another bent”. I have Aspergian grandson who has taught me this life lesson. He has and will always be my genius, “inside, outside, upside down thinker”. And he has been allowed to revel in that label. I wish I had learned that lesson early in life. But as the saying goes, better late than never, Oma Linda

  3. Luckily, I gave up on “normal” at an early age and worked hard to be seen as “eccentric”. I have struggled over recent years with my loss of sexual appetite….not exactly loss, more physical inability( a huge issue for a long time married couple used to at least twice a day). So I am having to make a real effort at something that was as “normal” as breathing to me, but learning to enjoy the closeness for it’s own sake is helping. It seems a really minor issue compared to the difficulties faced by other…but “comparing” is one of the things that makes us feel “less worthy”, so I am stopping comparing myself and instead focusing on my “self” XXX

    • I don’t think “normal” and I have ever walked hand by hand. We mostly look at each other in total confusion, with a comment bubble hovering above our head that says, “What are you?” I suspect that’s the reason why you and have always been and will always be weird witchy sisters.

      No issue that affects the core of who we’ve always been is ever small. When I told people that not being able to hold the arm and body position needed to read a printed book was devastating to me, they gave me funny looks. To them, it might be something small, but to me it was the world. It was difficult to get used to audiobooks and electronic book readers, and I still miss reading a printed book until dawn (I can only manage about ten pages at the moment). At first, I tried to find different ways to get back what I lost–we spent all kinds of money in gadgets… just to find out that they didn’t really do that job. After a while, I decided to enjoy what I could… Today, I LOVE my audiobooks. In the same way, I’m certain that you will find (or have already found) new ways to enjoy the sort of intimacy you guys used to enjoy in the past. Heck, I just know that someone as creative and driving as you will find all sorts of ways…

      Comparing ourselves to other people or with younger versions of ourselves is madness. And not the good kind. So, let’s just kiss our current selves on the mouth, and dance with the feet we have.

      • First of all, I agree with Magaly and with you, Gina – comparing is never useful! But oh my, learning how to adjust to new needs of closeness and intimacy is no small matter at all! It’s what makes us human, this intimacy and closeness, and learning new things about ourselves as we grow and change is a BIG deal!

    • I’m sure that you have been made, by the physical issues, to accept a new normal. It’s hard AF. And as I used to preach to my youth groups and then later to the grands, comparison kills the self.
      You are bloody fantastic as is. I can “see” that all the way across an ocean by your loving kindness and ability to find the weirdness and french kiss it. I love ya, Oma Linda

    • In my opinion, sex is very overrated. My favorite intimacy with Mike is that of everyone in the world, he gets me most.

      And the one merit badge I have achieved is that I no longer care if anyone else understands me.

      Love you, Gina.

  4. Firstly, I am really loving the visual art/words you are creating ..brilliant, such impact and power..your words..upon dictionary words!

    Gorgeous poem ..such movement and energy..it took me into a divine dance of “yes” !!.. self stitching is a big part of it..morphing through all the many versions of yourself along the way..it is an honor to love all the flaws, they deserve to be loved too.
    My whole life I was always pointed out as weird/strange/don’t fit it/don’t belong/not normal etc….oh well..I am more than good with it…I wouldn’t have it any other way!
    I too have lived a long time with IBD/Crohn’s, a long road, not everyone understands all the massive ways it can effect a person’s body, mind, energy,quality of life/ongoing morphing versions of life . Over the years I have given them a “name change” to give them the opportunity to become something different and morph into a renewed life-force , the offer sometimes gets taken. we are a work in progress.
    Yes, normal is a ridiculous trap…I love what you wrote and it made me think of another quote I love .. Normality is a paved road, it’s comfortable to walk, but not flowers grow upon it( Van Gogh ). Here’s to all the endless flowers on our road!

    I truly love all that you have written here and shared..you are a genius-creatrix
    Hugs
    V

    • Crohn’s is a funny things. All right, not funny… more of a stinking. Fine! I will stop the Crohnnie humor, I just couldn’t stop myself. But yes, you are so right, most people think of the huge things (the mind-cracking pain, the ulcers, the possibility of cancer, the meds that never go away, the way the illness affects the rest of your body) as the really terrible parts of carrying around that disease. Too often, they can’t even imagine just how much more difficult the other stuff can be, the ones that really steal bits of our living: having to know where the nearest bathroom is at all times, not being able to eat anything new without staring at it with mistrust, having to explain to people that is not that you don’t want to eat with them but that you can’t eat that stuff without exploding, and so on… Maybe that’s the reason why the universe made us a bit weird (or, a lot weird), because it knew that we’d need all the weird we could get.

      Many hugs, my dear friend.

      • Yes to all of the above..agreed! yes, food/travel/restaurants.. which governs every day life is such an easy feat for some and a totally different reality for some of us, but it also has given me gifts of being (and having to be) flexible, creative and intuitive with food and situations and doing what is best for me(no matter who it displeases).

        It would be great if we lived closer, then we could totally not eat lunch together..ha ha (but it would be the best lunch experience ever filled with chatter, magic and stories ). thanks for the giggles.
        Yes, love that…if the universe made us weird, I will feast on more weirdness!

    • Victoria, it’s lovely that you have embraced yourself. It is hellacious that you are suffering. But I love your take on that as well. We are all a work in process, some must make a bigger effort than others, with greater clarity. You sound brave, strong and determined. I applaud you.
      I love your use of the Van Gogh quote. Let’s all stop and smell those flowers of “different-ness”, Oma LInda

      • Oma Linda! hugs, deep appreciation for beautiful thoughts and your powerful words..I think the same of you and all that you have shared…you are one powerful-inspiring woman! yes embracing ourselves is the true gift we give to our own soul and spirit..for if we don’t..who will? I always want to honor that sentiment in any way I can!
        yes, being a work in progress is a freedom that ignites new terrain (and new possibilities as we grow alongside ourselves) and I feel, for me..creates healing at the pace of our own souls!
        Thanks for sharing and for listening..

    • I love the idea of claiming (and in some cases reclaiming) all we are, it’s the reason I added the line to the poem. What worries me is something someone said about the line. This person spoke about using it as mantra in her attempt to recover the physical shape she had when she was 21–she’s 48. I didn’t think anything of it, at first, then other people started agreeing with her. Wanting to get in fantastic physical shape is well and all, but when this imply going from a size 12 to a size 4, I begin to worry.

      In the future, I want one of our prompts to be “Reclaiming My All”. We’ll get the chance to explain what it means to us. I just didn’t want even the idea of anyone thinking that what the group aimed was to try to recover things like innocence, failed relationships, the body we had two decades ago. Does that make sense?

    • I too wish to be normal and that I will never find, but I’m learning weird wildness is where it’s at in this new gathering of souls. Beautiful poem. Dainy I cannot comment on your blog directly, but I might pull up my wordpress so I can interact.

      • Thank you! Finding this wonderful gathering of weird souls has been a major part of my healing. It’s especially great because when weirdness is celebrated, I don’t have to match anyone else’s weirdness – it frees me to find my own!

        I realized as I wrote my poem that I was writing about finding my “normal” rather than accepting my “weirdness.” It’s so amazing how the same concept can be viewed differently depending on what’s needed – celebrating weird or redefining normal…

  5. until you can live and love
    without screaming
    into deaf hands…

    These words alone, say just about everything about how one should live and love freely.
    Thank you for sharing, Magaly. It is always a pleasure.

  6. Yikes! And yes of course it makes sense! I shall look forward to that prompt and bear this in mind – it’s such a delicate balance, isn’t it – holding on to the goodness that was and relishing the goodness that is? Hugs to the person who told you that ❤

    • I didn’t think about it when I wrote it. It never crossed my mind. To be honest, it scared me a bit when I saw it through her eyes, and then through the eyes of the crowd she attracted.

      • As much as it sucks that it can be interpreted this way, and that people hurt so much like this, that’s the beauty of sharing writing – finding out about the many ways people see things, and continuing to talk about them and help each other through writing ❤

        • We never know what our world-children will do once we send them into the reading-wild. But if we can, we should always do our best to help them do the best they can for others. And yes, by “we” I mean “me”, lol!

  7. Magaly, your question speaks to where I am right now so much it is serendipitous. I constantly accommodate my chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. By keeping my routine very slow, peaceful and simple, I can manage. Right now, the harder thing is to maintain what peacefulness, what “Self”, I can, with a family member in a severe mental health episode, who was shooting my blood pressure through the roof in her distress. She is unwilling to get help. I am trying to impose some boundaries and self-care, which is not appreciated by her at all. It is new for me not to put someone else’s needs before my own. But given my age and health, the choice is pretty clear, if I want to avoid having an actual stroke. Smiles. Holding onto mySelf, since I cant control someone else’s situation, only how I respond to it, is what I strive for. Which will work unless or until a crisis inevitably comes. What a great conversation this is, kiddo. It is very helpful.

    • It is so difficult to remind ourselves, to teach ourselves… that we can’t take care of another (we can’t even love them properly), if we don’t take care of us first. Too many people would call this selfishness, as if making sure that we are all right is something terrible… as if happiness is some sort of trespass. But really, what can we truly give another if we are screaming inside? If we find our own balance first, we will at least be standing steady when someone else’s situation hits us right in the gut. The alternative might mean a whole lot of falling.

      I hope the crisis comes to a favorable resolution soon, Sherry.

    • Sherry – I have a similar situation with an adult child who needs, and refuses professional help. I suppose the effects of my love for her on my own issues are part of the Self I am still seeking to understand. One thing for certain, I must set boundaries if I want to be well, mySelf.

    • I agree, Sherry, that this is very helpful. Struggling to stay focused with fibromyalgia and nerve damage is very difficult, and self care is a priority. No one else will take care of me, but I often feel guilty as if I should be able to rise above it. I can only rise with it! Stay with it and convert it and love myself the more for little successes and failures-proofs of life. I wish I had a piano man or woman, but I have loving memories to help remind me–and here, Magaly, so much wisdom is concentrated in your blog, poem, and this dialogue. Thank you.

  8. oh Sherry, you are speaking to me. Here I am in the middle of a traumatic experience with my grands and daughter moving out. My fibro and arthritis are not exactly responding to meds with all the stress pulling me. I try to find a peace filled place to meditate and it “sorta” works but I must admit for years I’ve wanted the kids to move out so that I could be surrounded by peace and quiet but now that it is here……I’m going cry baby big time.
    You and I must face the fact that we cannot make others into someone we want them to be. And we are the only ones that can attend us, in crisis. Be strong and well, Oma Linda

  9. right off, I just wanted to note: your 55 Magaly is wonderful … you had noted (at Kerry’s) that perhaps it was “silly” – but you know, it’s not. It may appear “light” (which it is, for the best of reasons – as in, spirit-soul-soaring in the face of great adversity) but it really is a song – of celebration, and hope, and fierce encouragement. So yeah, it’s really amazing. Every single word, phrase and stanza.

    And for the trinkets and armor – and all you’ve shared and have been discussing with everyone else in the comments?
    It’s good stuff – and by that I mean, it’s good to share, to listen, to know that no matter what’s going on, these huge life-changing “disturbances, eruptions and interruptions” – well, they are life lessons, even for as physically/mentally/emotionally and soul-spirit crushing they are and can be. But sometimes, just being able to share and hear and know that you’re not alone REALLY helps. And what’s “normal?” The New Normal is what we make of each day – in whatever ways we can. And that HAS to be enough. Without excuses, apologies, explanations – to others, and most importantly, to ourselves.
    (and before this gets too long, I know and can relate to so much of what so many here are saying, because I have chronic pain from “invisible” injuries, as well as a host of after-effects etc. like Fibro, and Chronic Fatigue and arthritis etc. and it’s been a very long time, living with this – more than 18 years – and it takes a toll on one’s health and well being – all aspects; so learning to love oneself – the “new self” with all these “limitations” etc.? it’s all about choices, perspectives and coming to terms with what’s possible today – which can change in a heartbeat – and learning to adapt – and let go … and choosing to TRY to make something magical happen anyhow.)

    so cheers to you and your struggles to maintain some sanity in your life, and in your world – and to refuse to let it run and ruin who you are; at your core, in essence, your light can’t be extinguished – no matter what – so celebrate – let the “weird” be the new wilds …

  10. Ohhh, my… I sit with tears in my eyes (and an occasional smile, and definitely a nod or 3) reading all this, the exposing of self… like being at an autopsy of life, poking, trying to figure it out… I have
    maybe 2 friends outside of my family (& outside of my darlings I connect and selfishly covert here) outside of online, 1 friend I have seen once in 30 years, and the other snuck into my life via our love of art and bubbles (and a 6 hour drive away)… there are no dinner invites or meetings for a coffee in my life, I was never included in ‘mothers clubs’ my children not asked for play dates, I don’t know why we are ‘odd’ or ‘weird’ I don’t know how to be ‘normal’ ‘accepted’ I have this overwhelming sadness my girls may be as unhappy as I. I am blessed to have found a bunch of ‘big thinkers’, ‘wise’, ‘talented’ individual friends here, who do not judge ‘normal’ as a prerequisite of inclusion of their friendship and love…

    • I hope you had some tea or mango juice or coffee or a glass of bubbly to replenish after those tears. Would not want you sexy self to get dehydrated or something. And about normal, I’m almost sure no one knows what that is when it comes to someone else. So, it might not be all that important. Um… about the judgement. I judge you all the time. Sorry. I do. I always give you a 13 out of 10. Always.

    • One if the most difficult things occupying my mind these days is how my Self-issues have rubbed off on those I love.

      This is a really hard one ♥♥♥

    • There are a LOT of oddies and weirdos out in the big world, Shelle. If we just dont like to talk a lot, we are considered odd, or withdrawn. If we have a talent for painting or drawing, or story telling, or music, etc., well, everyone knows artists are weird, right? Perhaps all those “others” are the odd and weird ones and those of us who are beautiful inside and know it despite not having a kajillion friends, even if we are hesitant to admit it, are the normal ones. Everyone who bared their soul, or contributed in any way, to this awesome blog, is one of the normals! Or, well, maybe odd and weird is more fun. 🙂

  11. My reply’s to comments are scattered all over the thread so I would like to say I admire everyone’s bravery and soul baring and through these gathered soul sessions sparks of healing are igniting.

  12. Yes! So much, Yes!!!
    ♥ ♥ ♥

    For some reason, I can never reply directly to comments, but I want to just say how moving Oma Linda’s comment was! I suspect that most of us here are “beautiful freaks” in our own ways, so you’re not alone, Oma Linda! xo

  13. Diverticulitis isn’t the same as Crohn’s but can be just as painful and debilitating. I never set out to be normal or even emulate it. Everyone I know thinks I’m weird but it doesn’t bother me. I enjoy beiong different and never wanted to march off a production line, the same as everyone else. Weird attracts weird and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Which is why I so identify with this poem, Magaly. I’m still learning to love myself
    ‘all my pieces—
    faulty flesh, weary soul…
    all’.

    • Stomach issues are so painful. All of them. And it is incredible how they affect the rest of our living, isn’t it?

      What you say about normalcy is one of the things I like most about this discussion–it’s easy to see that there is no such thing. It makes one wonder why so many people get so frustrated about it, spend so much time trying to achieve something that doesn’t really exist. Maybe if we all continue repeating that, more people would use their time and energy searching for more beneficial things.

  14. SIGH 💖 I can’t tell you how moved I am by your words, Magaly. Let me begin by saying what is normal exactly? Is it what society teaches and expects of us? Or is it what we feel in our blood and bones?

    I agree, normalcy is a trap. It’s conditioning others to surrender their uniqueness for fear they might be rejected.

    We spend our entire lives figuring out who we are .. exploring our strengths and weaknesses.. to be told to forget what makes us who we are is nothing short of cruelty. We must hold on to our strange.. our unique as securely as possible.💖

    When ridiculed by another’s view and opinion I merely smile and carry on. There is no point explaining ourselves to those who are deaf by heart. I met myself truly for the first time when I began writing poetry. It helped me appreciate who I am. 😊

    Keep being the gorgeous, unique and loving soul you are Magaly! Happiest Sunday to you! 💞☕

    • Words–especially poems and stories–are so good at showing us (and others) who we are. I, too, have learned a lot about me through poetry. If someone would’ve told me that a handful of years ago, I would’ve laughed (and not in the most polite of ways). Thank goodness for time and experience, those wonderful teachers. And for friends and coffee, too. Thank goodness for them. 🙂 💞☕

    • I totally agree with every.thing.you.wrote Sanaa. Smiling and carrying on is the best one can do for self. There are so many “talking heads” out there in the world who think “their” way is the way we should all be. And for most of us it has been that way since childhood. I’ll keep my strange. No one else wants it anyway. 🙂

      There are so many BRAVE stories here. And I bet there are a few hearts feeling a lot lighter for putting it out there. My own strange is feeling a lot lighter and I still carry it attached to my hip…or leg…or soul…wherever it sticks. Kudos to all of you, and to you Magaly, for just being you.

      • It’s so fantastic to see that our weird–even when it looks like no one else’s–has a lot of company. Some of the “talking heads”, you mentioned, might try to explain this by saying that misery love company. But… what else can we expect from people who only see themselves? It’s not that misery loves company, but that misery stops being so miserable when it finds someone to strategize with.

  15. When younger I was pretty annoyed to be different, softer than most boys as well as bullied by my elder brother still annoyed years later I stolen our mothers milk from him. But instead of remaining weak and cowed I became someone who achieved, who led and laughed. As it is knowing inside that you can.

    • Different can be a burden when a soul is still too young to know the value of such a gift. I am so glad you grew into laughter and better things. The world would miss many awesome moments if that wasn’t the case.

    • Men ‘softer than most’ are treasures for the women in their lives! My Andrew was another such, and also someone ‘who achieved, who led and laughed’. People still remark what ‘a lovely man’ he was.

      So are you, dear Robin, delighting us still with your sweet poems.

      (Andrew, in old age, being no poet, wrote fairytales for children.)

  16. Wow!!! I’m so far behind! How will I ever catch up???
    I love that you love all your breakable, imperfect pieces. This cry from your soul is absolutely the sweetest sounding song. Keep it up and here’s to everlasting days of being the master of your body. 🙂

    • Am I horrible individual because I was grinning from ear to ear while I read your words? It was a satisfied grin. A grin that said, “Yes! I, too, understand the value of names and words, of names and words we make our own.” Once we take them, once we make them part of us… no one can steal them. And that is word grinning for (even if shiny-eyed). 😀

  17. Thank you for your wonderful post lovely Magaly, said post heightening my admiration of you, you excellent person you!
    I don’t know what normal is Magaly, only knowing I’m not it, nor do I want to be. Childhood, outside of home, was difficult for me, introverted little thing that I was and inside, really still am. Years of hurt made me resilient, accept that introversion is not a mental illness but a personality type. Part of my self-acceptance grew another me, the extrovert, and this me accepted by others and I must admit I like this part of myself, which I am able to turn on and off at will. Even as the extravert me some folk give me ‘that glance’ as I guess they don’t understand my humour, little knowing that inside I am giving them that glance too thinking their ‘normal’ thought process quite odd.
    Right now, as I write this, I am the happiest introvert, the hermit, enjoying writing to you.
    Of changes, I tend to accept what is done and therefore unchangeable, never crying over spilt milk, for doing so just makes a situation worse. This doesn’t mean I don’t object, rather do so in a calm and collected manner – which tends to annoy some…
    Vive l’étrangeté!
    Anna :o]

    • One must wonder why so many intelligent psychologists fail to see that trying to change what does’t match the world’s idea of what should be is not always the answer. In fact, it rarely is. So much more could be gained by helping people find ways to accept what and who they are, and to find ways to show others that one’s peculiarity does’t necessarily represent a threat to another’s belief. It sounds so simple. Then again, the mess our world is at the moment might imply that to call it simple is ridiculous.

      I laughed when I read the bit about how being “calm and collected” annoys some people. Oh, do I know it. Even doctors react strange to seen calmness when their normal prescribes hysterics. It makes no sense to me. And sometimes, it makes me smirk–this reaction, too, “tends to annoy some…” 😀

    • I had to chuckle, Anna because you are me and I am you. Well, sort of. You know what I mean. I even get a kick out of deliberate calm and collected annoyance….sometimes! 🙂 I love being an “almost hermit”. And when I too, get “that glance”, I just put my hand up to my smiling mouth and feel that happy tickle inside. Heee Heeee Heee Well, you know!

    • Dear Anna, I am you too! Nice to meet another. Two others, with Judie … and I am sure there are more. I get out and about quite a bit, and might not appear to be a Hermit, but it is my natural mode and I make sure to get plenty of home-alone time in between outings. I NEED it.

  18. I like your poem very much, Magaly. Indeed we need to love all of our breakable pieces. What is ‘normal’ for one is not ‘normal’ for others. Your poem makes me realize I should be more empathetic of others, to know that what I see on the ‘outside’ is not necessarily what is going on in the inside, that we all have our battles – some more talked about, more visible, than others. I don’t personally know a person in real life who has talked about having Crohn’s though I probably DO know some people who do. I think it might be one of those things people keep silent about…. Your poem makes me think about how many hidden facets everyone has, how many ‘normals’ there are, and how they are dealt with. Indeed, we have to learn to love ALL of our pieces, learn to accept and cherish the pieces of everyone else we care about as well. You are a wise woman, Magaly. I love what you do with words! I am SO happy you share them with us!

    • Your are quite correct in deducing that Crohn’s is not something most people talk about. We live in a world that associates natural bodily functions with nastiness, and when said bodily functions are multiplied by the disease… well, the nastiness stigma grows.

      I believe that the best weapon against stigma is accurate information. I remember not being as empathetic as I could be about borderline personality disorder. Then, a good friend told me (and let me see) what it was like. I have never approach the topic or a person living with the disorder in the same way.

      Sharing what we can, in ways that don’t completely rob us of our comfort, is a really good thing.

      • I like what you said – “the best weapon against stigma is accurate information.” I really think that you are, in your own special way, doing a great service here. By opening up, you allow others to be open as well. Openness spreads. YOU have helped. I have read other posts in response and seen other people share in ways they might not have if it were not for your initial post. By using your voice, you gave others a voice. Thank you.

  19. Ah, I love how you break the myth of the normal, for it is what we make of our lives and even any deviation for what we may call normalcy (given that we can find an all-encompassing innate condition governing all bodies and selves) is rooted in our own experience of self.

    I am glad that you love all your pieces. I am trying to learn and love all my broken pieces too. It’s a never-ending travesty – a day turns into the night into the day – thus it is also a never-ending healing process. Whenever someone asks me why I haven’t sought clinical help for my mental health or why I zone out and escape from any company, it becomes difficult to tell them that I tried, and it didn’t work out, and it is for me to find my own way on, to salvage what I can, to let go what I cannot. And I get even more hurt along, more lonely, more broken, but I don’t require fixing or adding or becoming like them – I require mending all that I have got.

    Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

    • Normal wears our face… and so does Weird. The rest is just nomenclature… and choice.

      I completely understand the despair that accompanies telling people (doctors) it hurts and finding out they can’t do nothing. And worse, hearing them say that it’s nothing really, or that it’s in your head. Searching for the cure can be so sickening. It’s difficult to find balance. But we’ll search, won’t we…? 🙂

  20. Back from the Pantry, and it is lovely to read all of the supportive comments and the honest sharing here. Thank you, one and all. Today is sunny, the waves go in and out, and there is poetry to read. Today, that is Enough to fill my little cup. Have a wonderful Sunday, friends!

  21. I have spent many of my more awake moments at the times, when the pain meds and antidepressants are waning in my system, working to fit the puzzle parts of mySelf together. I have never taken antidepressants before, nor have I ever been diagnosed with Depression. These antidepressants were prescribed to help with the extreme pain and several surgeries, over the course of this summer. I believe they have been helpful when the really dark moments have come.

    Although I fully understand how unreliable internet self-diagnosis is, I stumbled upon something very interesting called “Walking Depression”. If the online theories are anywhere close to correct, this could be another a puzzle piece I need to stitch into Self . Once the horrors of hospitals and physical therapy are over, I’ll give it more thought.

    **next surgery is scheduled for Thursday, the 26th. ♥

    • I wish, I wish, I wish… that the recovery process after the next surgery is not as tough as this one has proved to be. I hope the meds do their work and the pain subside some. And then completely. More than anything, I hope these surgeries correct what they are meant to correct, and that you can find yourself back in a place that allows you the freedom you want and need.

      **my fingers (and all other cross(able) things) are crossed for Thursday**

  22. You know you don’t have to tell me twice to be weird! I break out in hives if I have to do normal over 4 hours. 😀

    I am not really the most flexible of people and I am prone to peevishness over plan changes. It helps if I have a Plan B (and C and D) ready as back up. It isn’t always fun to plan that way, but I find I’m a lot more ready to pivot when I have to should something unexpected come up.

    • I’ve heard they have a tea for that. You might have to get a lot of it. Normal hives are very potent. 😀

      This might be one of the best ideas I’ve heard, when it comes to battling chaos (if we must). If we have plans to back up our main plan, then we’ll always be in control. Things might take a bit longer to put together, but not losing our minds if they go wrong makes the extra time worth our trouble.

  23. Your poem is wonderful, Magaly. And the fact that it brought so many inner hidden thoughts and feelings into the light makes it even more special because that light (and love it gathers) is like natural medicine. Awesome!

  24. Luckily, I am very flexible, so when life throws me a whammy… well, at first I cry and die a little on the inside. Sometimes I wallow for a few days, but then I realize that I have to keep going. If I just stop, I’ll only hurt myself more. I certainly don’t want anymore problems, so I learn to adjust even though everyday might be a struggle. I’m stubborn like that, and I’m damned glad. My stubbornness has saved me. Chronic pain is torture, depression and anxiety are hell, not being able to breathe has become a normal irritant, but sometimes it can turn scary. These are my daily struggles, that I mostly bully myself into moving through each day. When the darkness starts pulling me down, I turn to my art and paint something beautiful out of life’s ugliness.

    • I think you and I approach life’s whammies in very similar ways. We do our grumbling and fist shaking and even a bit of screaming if we must… and then, we keep on keeping on. Stubbornness can be such a superpower.

  25. Normal is probably over-rated, I wouldn’t know, our Abnormal has been OUR Normal for so long. Maintaining flexibility, adaptation and improvising has served me well… and a wicked sense of humor is crucial!

  26. Normal is a breakable cage

    Exactly, Magaly! One is not to be confined into a limited space struggling to make life pleasant. One has to be free with a breakout when necessary, all the time!

    Hank

  27. Oh Dear – just lost my comment! Gr-r-r-r. Here’s the abridged version. Smiles.

    A fascinating and edifying post. For me (even as a child) it is my oft-contentious relationship with sleep, that is my whammy. For many years, as a working Mom, the days after a night of insomnia were absolute slogs. Now – though it is less intrusive and laborious – it is still a force to be reckoned with. I too, believe in strategical acceptance. Music channel 434 (in Vancouver, soft classical infused with nature sounds) is my go-to place when slumber will not come (even as exhaustion grows) . I may not doze off, but I drift. And it helps. Listening to music at 4 a.m. may not be normal but the alternative is the stuff of madness.

    Great narrative and awesome post!

    • Insomnia is a vampire. Made more terrible because it can so often be caused by the same body/mind that needs the sleep. I’m glad you’ve found a good way to rest (even if the sleep dances around you every now and again). I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to take care of children, of work, and of myself if I couldn’t sleep. The stuff of madness, indeed.

  28. You re amazing! I send you strength!
    And for the poem: “Be weird, it’s easier” became my mantra in high school when I realized I could not conform and needed to break free. Of course it was 1968, and the whole country of youth seemed to be doing the same. TThese days more effort may be needed, but it’s equally necessary. I find your poem inviting, especially loving ALL the pieces!

    • Isn’t it fascinating, how even in our separate weirdness we can find commonalities to bring us closer to one another? Sometimes I wonder why the world is the way it is. Why we can’t just look at each other and see the sameness behind different faces and behaviors and needs. Everything would be so much better, if we could only see…

      Love the mantra.

  29. Wow! I think I must send the link to this post to a couple of friends who are experiencing similar long-term conditions (albeit I am sure everyone’s experience has its own unique details). Thank you Magaly, you are a constant inspiration with your dazzling words.

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