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 ❤ ❤ ❤