#AtoZChallenge — Negotiating Normal

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across.

Normal. What the hell is that, anyway?


I’m not a parent (to the extent that cats don’t count), but I agree wholeheartedly with Stomperdad’s post.

First new frames (and lenses) in five years! Man I’d gotten used to crappy vision.

What the hell is normal?

When I was a kid spending weekdays at my maternal grandparents’ house, except for Wednesdays at my paternal grandparents’ house, was normal. By seventh grade, wearing glasses full time was normal. In college, queer relationships and me actually dating became normal. When I met my partner, dogs became normal, and when we got our first kitten together, cats became normal. Until the end of last year, exhaustion and existential misery was normal, but then I quit my job and now writing every day and feeling both healthier and happier has taken its place.

Part of growing up — which I am in no way done with, even though I’m turning thirty in a couple weeks — is trying to figure out what your personal normal is, and finding your equilibrium within it.

Our lives include one negotiation after another. When we negotiate, we are attempting to obtain or bring about some end by way of discussion or other means, including non-verbal communication.


Anxiety is also normal for me. It has been since… I don’t know, probably second grade, at least, but I didn’t realize or acknowledge it until college when I was so apathetic and sad about nothing particularly specific that I made an appointment with one of the school therapists. After several sessions, she suggested I consider anti-anxiety medication and gave me a referral to a therapist, which I never did anything about because I have anxiety about swallowing pills.

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Cats in the washing machine is not normal. Remove all cats prior to starting a wash.

The year after that, I started getting sinus headaches in the fall and spring, so bad that swallowing Advil one half at a time became normal. (That primed me for trying anti-anxiety meds later in life. At this point, I’ve worked my way up to actually swallowing pills whole. … Most of the time.)


It wasn’t until after college and after meeting my current partner that I went back into therapy and started questioning my normal. Asking myself, why do I think this way? And, Do I have to keep doing this?

I wish I had the kind of parents who had been able to see this in me and help me with it when I was younger. They’re good parents, and I love them, but they’re computer engineers and just not super emotional people — that’s part of why examining my feelings and what they came from didn’t come naturally.

Normal changes, that’s why no one knows really knows what it is. And Fandango is right, we negotiate our way through it daily. With our environment, with other people, even with ourselves.

What’s your normal like?