When I was in high school we had a hammock in our living room in Cape Cod to take in the views of the bay. Back then I never quite knew what to do with my gypsy mama and her outlandish ways, although I appreciate them more and more. I struggled with my mom’s flavor for sometime, however much of her flare lives on in me. Her creativity as an artist and her sense of style can be witnessed in my homage to leopard print and love of nude paintings.
I spent most of my life in resistance, trying to be “normal” only to discover that there’s no such thing as normal and the ones that look normal aren’t normal at all. In truth, I never did normal well, but for some reason when I got married in my early twenties I jumped in with both feet and tried to pull it off. I thought I would improve and double down on my previous efforts and be so normal that my dad would appear in my life. What’s changed has been learning to love myself.
I failed in my attempt at having perfectly coiffed, normal children that looked church ready. My kids dyed their hair green with Kool-Aid. Secretly, I loved their creativity and love it even more today, because they’re smart enough to avoid the idea of “normality” and instead fashion their life, their way.
I didn’t figure that out for myself for a long time, because of all the “shoulds” in my head that played out in things like trying to make the perfect birthday cakes for my kids until they asked if they could get their cakes from the grocery store! I tried to put my cute little mini me in dresses and bows, but she would have nothing of it and hit a stage where she refused to wear dresses and hated the Laura Ashleyesque floral curtains I made for her room.
Don’t get me wrong; although I looked normal I wasn’t all that good. I wasn’t a virgin when I married. I almost became a stripper in the absence of any real guidance in my life and from the cake story it’s obvious that I didn’t know how to cook or clean when I first married. It’s questionable whether or not I know how to clean now, because I avoid it so much. :)
My attempts at normal infiltrated every area of my life, even the way I grieved. Although I may have looked like I had it altogether, it breaks my heart to think about what I put myself through. Even the wonton red dress I bought as an act of defiance after my first husband died was more like a tea party dress than what I wanted it to be. I wanted to scream and thrash and rip my clothes and paint myself red with the blood I felt seeping from every crevice of my body, but instead I put on “normal.”
Now I am certain that I don’t want to be normal and it’s a good thing, because that ship has sailed. Instead I’ll take the artists, the misfits, the readers and learner and free thinkers. The “normal” box is just too damn small and too great a burden to carry.
If you’re tired of attempting normal too and want to get untamed, check out my coaching resources and my upcoming book, Uprising, The Happiness Shift, A 40 Day Guide to Shift Out of Fear Into Redonkulous Joy!
Photo credit: Lisa McCord Photography