What is ‘Normal’?

I’ve got to be honest with you.

I’m struggling to get back to ‘normal’.

Everyone else seems to be slowly emerging from the pandemic hibernation and going back to normality with so much enthusiasm, but I’m not sure what that looks like for me anymore.

I mean, define normal.

normal – /ˈnôrməl/
the usual, average, or typical state or condition.

Well, yeah….but, like, Covid, and the pandemic, and stuff, and things.

When lockdown happened it was as if we pressed the pause button on life itself, then years later we hit play, with the expectation of picking up where we left off.

Yep, everything’s normal. Nothing weird here. We’re just going back to the life we had 2 years ago even though we’ve grown and changed and we’re all different, but we’re heading back there anyways and it’s all perfectly normal


Trouble is, I can’t go back to the life I had. I’m not the same person I used to be. I’ve changed, like a whole lot.

When lockdown happened, I (like many of my creative friends) totally and utterly freaked out. But once I stopped fighting it and embraced my situation, for the first time ever my personality type actually worked in my favor. I grew in a way I never thought was possible and finally felt 100% comfortable in my own skin.

In case you didn’t know, I’m a hard-core introvert. A lot of people have this misconception that introverts hate everyone and don’t want to interact with them. That simply isn’t true. I DO want to interact with everyone, just one at a time, and definitely not in a small room all at the same time with music blaring and lights and noise and stuff. THAT is far from normal.

One thing lockdown did helped me with was self-love.

I really like me. I enjoy being in my own company. I’m very content sitting alone for hours on end. I don’t need a phone or gadget. A book is always very welcome. Being immersed in nature is even better.

Before the pandemic, I apologised to people for essentially being, well, myself. I know I’m British and saying sorry is like a national tic for us, but I would apologise to people for every-single-bloody-thing.

I’m sorry I need quiet time every day.

I’m sorry that standing around at cocktail parties having surface level conversations with total strangers is not my thing.

I’m sorry that I’d much rather sit in a peaceful and tranquil place that do shots in a club.

I’m sorry I love reading and enjoy sharing some of the interesting stuff I’ve read.

I’m sorry I have a deep awareness of human suffering and think about it constantly. 

I’m sorry I know all the words to Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby and owned his album as a child (sorry not sorry).

I didn’t want to rock the boat, so more often than not I pretended to be something I wasn’t. I didn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable, and yet all this time it seemed perfectly acceptable to me that I be ill at ease

Like, wow the fecking fo?

But you know, lockdown forced me to be with myself and figure aaaallll this shit out. And now I’m perfectly happy saying; I like me. Just the way I am. I’ve spent far too long trying to fit in, and I don’t want to do that anymore.

So now that little revelation has happened, we move on to act II:

ACT II – Scene I
Integrating back into Society (aka, normality)

Every Sunday throughout the Pandemic, I was part of a church band playing music and doing live streams for the congregation, as we weren’t allowed to hold regular services. In a pretty large building, the crew was made up of 8 people.

We did this for an entire year. 12 months later, we had our first in-person service with 50 people in the audience.

Halfway through the gig, I got up from behind the drum kit and went outside. I had a total meltdown. The flood gates opened, and I could not stop crying. I felt utterly overwhelmed and didn’t know how to process what I was experiencing.

I mean, I’m a musician. I’ve been performing in front of audiences for the past 25 years.

I’m supposed to ENJOY this sort of thing! What on earth is going on?!

I don’t know if any of you guys have ever been on one of those elimination diets, the ones where you cut out sugar or wheat or whatever. Initially it makes you feel like crap, but after a while, you feel so much better.

Then months or even years later, someone offers you an extremely sugary cake. You take one bite, and it’s nothing like you remember.

It makes you feel yucky and weird.

And that’s what I’ve been experiencing going back to ‘normal’. All the elements that were eliminated from my life came hurtling towards me like a stampede of elephants and it was utterly overwhelming.

The thing is, I DO love performing. I LOVE being on-stage with my musician friends, which is why all of this is so difficult and confusing.

Things are getting easier, slowly. I am doing more, bit by bit. I’m learning that it’s ok to let go of the past and be in the present. I need to stop trying to go back to how things were, because life is completely different in a multitude of ways. Creatively everything is pretty darn awesome for me right now, it’s just all the regular stuff I’m finding difficult to process.

How about you? Have you found it difficult to get back to normal? Or was it easy-peesy-lemon-squeezy? And if you have any handy hints or tips they would be very much appreciated ❤ ❤ ❤


Whatever You Do, DON’T Look at ME!!

‘Hi-ya! My name’s Katie and…well, yeah…I’m a musician and I play music. Well, instruments, errr you know, with other people….sometimes on my own though. It’s like reeeeaaally fun. I guess I’m good. Hahaha.    *Cue Awkward Silence*. Yeah. That’s me’.

The above is a classic example of what happens when I am asked to introduce myself to a group of people who know nothing about me.

Introducing oneself to others seems simple enough, right? Apparently, not for me. Every, single, time I have been asked to do this, I forgot everything. Literally.

Like, my name, what I do, the English language. That kind of thing.

My intension is always to come across like a normal human being. But struggling to string words into some sort of a coherent sentence, combined with my rather agitated and sweaty state, more than likely leads people to the conclusion that I am a right weirdo.


It is fair to say that I’d rather do ANYTHING than talk to a group of people, sitting there silently with their beady eyes fixed on —-> ME <—-. I’d rather tussle with a grizzly bear, or swim the channel, ride my bicycle aaaallll the way to England (and back again), listen to Chris de Burgh’s Lady in Red on repeat all day long….ok, I think that last one was perhaps a step too far, but you get the general idea.

I have been on this Earth for *cough* *cough* years and have never figured out exactly WHY any situation that involves me being the centre of attention makes me so uncomfortable.

And btw, I’m not talking about being a little nervous. I’m talking full-on fear.

Let me clarify; I’m totally fine in social settings with a group of friends. I love being on stage performing with others and adore my role as a side musician. I also enjoy meeting new people and having really interesting conversations.

I used to perform regularly as a solo artist but now feel more comfortable playing ‘background music’ kinda gigs (I wrote a blog post about it a little while ago).

For whatever reason, the moment I am the one in the spotlight and everyone in the room is looking at me silently…it’s game over.

As mentioned in other posts, I’m a Libra. Trust me when I tell you, I think about this kind of thing, A LOT. You know those *really* annoying toddlers, tugging at their poor parent’s clothing, incessantly asking the same banal question over and over and over again (WHY? WHY? WHY? BUT…..WHY?)

That’s basically my brain. An annoyingly curious creature that won’t let anything go until there is an acceptable explanation, answer or solution.

Thankfully for my own sanity, I recently had a rather interesting conversation with a musician friend that may well shed light on why I feel the way I do.

He and I were talking about this very topic. I was as honest with him as I’m being with you now, and he confessed that he related to a lot of what I was saying.

After some time going back and forth with ideas and opinions, he said something that really resonated with me.

“I think the reason we don’t like being the centre of attention, is because growing up it was never a good thing”.

Holy crap! That’s *exactly* why I feel the way I do. 

When I was 11 years old, I moved to a new school, and from that day onwards I can’t think of a single moment where being the centre of attention was ever a good thing. Not one single time. If I was at the front of the class, it was because I was in trouble. There were multiple times I was made to stand in front of everyone by my teacher and mocked for my work. I am dyslexic and seriously struggled with both reading and writing to the point that I could barely do either when I left school at 15. My teachers weren’t the slightest bit interested in my creative talent, which in their eyes held little value in the real world. They would share their opinions of me with the rest of the class on a regular basis and expected me to amount to very little.

For the most part, school was certainly not about thriving, but surviving. I kept my head down and wanted to get through each day without getting picked on. Noone wanted to hear me play music or do anything creative for that matter. Imagine putting a fish on land and expecting them to run, and then telling them they are useless because they can’t do anything useful on land. But put them in the water and they thrive. My last day of school was one of the happiest days of my life. Finally, I was free to work towards my dream job of being an itinerant musician.

And fortunately for me, my life is pretty awesome, and I turned out ok 🙂

I’ve no idea if I’ll ever be able to stand up in front of a group of people and introduce myself without getting all sweaty and tongue-tied, but at least I have some sort of idea as to where this irrational fear may well have come from.

I don’t harbor any resentment towards those teachers. I actually feel very sorry for them. I can’t begin to imagine not having the capacity to be either kind or compassionate. These two qualities are at the core of my being, and I don’t want to be anything other than kind.

The things that happen to you as a child shape and mold you into the person you become, but the wonderful thing about being an adult is that you finally have choices, and you can be whoever the heck you want to be.

❤ ❤ ❤