Life on the Outside

Life on the Outside: Getting Back to Normal When You Never Really Were

I bet I’m not the only one.

“Normal” is coming back. Here’s the problem: I never was “normal”; I never liked “normal”; I was never able to pull off “normal”. I haven’t missed it, although the way, many ways, it went missing made me angry and distraught. Returning to it is akin to a death sentence as far as I’m concerned.

I cannot make myself join in the clamor to get back to a fucked up world.

Oddly, I live my life full of gratitude. I mean FULL of gratitude. I thank Jehovah every, single day for my life, my husband, my children, the peace in my home; for coming through my trials; for learning my lessons; and even for the sometimes painful discipline I had to endure while learning my lessons.

I love life. Finally. (It took years.)

But this world that we live in, no, I do not love it. Well, that’s not actually true. I have never been in love with most man-made constructs, societies, norms. I’ve never liked cities; too busy and noisy (there’s enough of that going on right inside my own head).

I love trees and the sun and colors and smells and textures and the sounds of birds and breezes and water and all those things humans didn’t create and too often take for granted. I see them. I love them.

I’ve loved man-made things when they’ve come in the form of art. Art is beautiful, whatever it’s medium.

But now “normal” is coming back and I bet I’m not the only one dreading it.

Life off the hamster wheel has been like a vacation on the beach in Jamaica (one of my favorite things). I can breathe. I can hear. I can think. I can move, or not, at my own pace.

I grieve for those who have lost so much during all the horror that has been over the last year. Years. I’m so sorry so many have lost so much, that life has been horribly transformed, deformed, for hundreds of thousands of people. I’m grateful for not having personally suffered so much, although I did lose all of my work. I started over; well, I went back and restarted something I used to do many years ago. It doesn’t bring me joy but it brings me what I need. Thing is, I’m going to keep it, the new joyless thing that meets my needs because

I don’t want to go back to “normal.” “Normal” is cruel and dismissive and corrupt. For anyone who didn’t realize that before, somehow, I’m sure it’s crystal clear now.

But I’m a misfit. And I’ve always seen the rot that was “normal.” I’ve never trusted this system.

Maybe it’s been easy for me to see the rot, being a black woman with a black husband and black sons. I’ve seen precious little beauty or grace or kindness or peace in “normal.”

But I’m conflating many things here. Not strange considering this entry is going in a direction I never meant it to go.

I meant to talk about how I’ve never fit in. Not anywhere. I’m too liberal to be a conservative. I’m too conservative to be a liberal. I’m too straight-laced to be a free spirit. I’m too much of a free spirit to be straight-laced. I’m a creative who has never known what to create. I’ve created too many things not to be a creative. I’m too dirty-minded to be clean. I’m too clean to be perverse. I’m too social to be an introvert. I’m too much of an introvert to be an extrovert. I fall in well with every person, every group … until I don’t. People love me until they don’t like me.

THIS is my actual normal. I’ve never fit into that other “normal” and with all my heart and soul and might, I hope I never do.

This entry was supposed to be about the (unexpectedly gut-wrenching) decision to semi-retire instead of getting back on the hamster wheel. Time away from the constant hustle has made it so that going back would be like putting my own neck in the noose.

And I bet I’m not the only one.

This entry was supposed to be about finally digging deep into being a creative/not-creative-who-can’t-help-but-create. The universe has always had a strange, and wonderful, way of getting down to the nitty-gritty with me and making me get down to the nitty-gritty of the truth, whether horrible or beautiful.

So I’ll be keeping on with my own abnormal normality.

I will not go back to “normal.”



  1. Yes! People think the world will fall apart if we refuse to get back on that wheel; I think it’ll only start healing. A great post.


    1. Thank you, Sun. Yes, it most certainly won’t start falling apart. I really think some people might have begun realizing how tiring it all was. Thank you for reading!


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