When I first started writing and posting on this blog, the title, “A New Normal” was a reference to how my life had changed as a result of my son’s – my only child’s – suicide in 2010. I quickly realized there was no “going back to normal,” and that I had to reinvent a different, childless future for myself.
My choice of the name, “A New Normal,” happened…
Long before a known thug became president of the United States.
Long before Covid struck the planet.
Long before the climate struggle became a crisis, even an emergency that is felt now on a more widespread and daily basis.
Long before political polarization gave us the January 6th insurrection and directly threatened the democratic process and democracy itself in the country that had – until then – been the beacon of democracy in. the. world. (Even though being on that pedestal wasn’t always necessarily deserved.)
Long before women’s constitutional right to abortion was ripped from us.
Long before the recently safeguarded constitutional right to marry whomever you love was looking down the barrel of a very short gun.
And talking about guns…Long before we endured weekly, if not daily, mass shootings with the use of way too easily available assault weapons.
Long before we watched Facebook/Instagram/TikTok videos of black men being senselessly murdered by “law enforcement.”
Long before the phrase, “a new normal” became overused and even annoying.
I could go on and on. A part of me wishes I’d chosen a different title for my humble space in the blogosphere, but what I’ve discovered is that the phrase “a new normal” applies to all sorts of unwelcome changes. If we are paying attention, we realize we are being called to press the reset button, to adjust and allow our rage to awaken our Inner Activist (if she isn’t already awake!).
It’s exhausting, but necessary. Our literal individual and collective existence is on the line.
Thank you, Celenia. With a stunning economy of words, you have articulated what has been ruminating in me for some time. “New normal” is indeed an annoying term, as the evolution into an unknown reality is certainly different for everyone.
Our species tends to cling to the known, and resists nothing like it resists change. I think Watergate changed everything, and jarred us out of an historical coma, forcing us to admit that much of Americans society was a charade. It cost us our innocence, which is not altogether a bad thing. Everything changed then, and accelerated until the election of our first Black president upended everyone’s normal. The backlash was predictable, and sleeping demons came to life and created an avalanche of change that will reverberate for at least the next five generations, IMHO. So what do we do? Resist, hold kicking and screaming to the doorJambs as we are yanked into the uncertain future? Or do we use this current calamity as grist for the mill of our awakening?
For myself, that seems the best strategy. I need to practice being with what is.
Thank you for this essay. Please keep writing.
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