When “Normal” Is Difficult

A year has passed since we first heard of COVID-19 and we wondered if Coronavirus was connected to an alcoholic beverage. Since then, we’ve learned and adapted as humans must do in order to survive. We wear masks to protect ourselves and others. (Or we do the walk of shame when we forget and have to retrieve it from the car.) Companies function entirely online. Our kids have figured out the software needed to “go” to school every day. We shop extensively without leaving the house. We call it “the new normal,” even though nothing about this is remotely normal.

What we are all experiencing is hard.
Living in this new normal
is wearing us out.

Dear friend, even though we have all adjusted to a new way of learning and working and living doesn’t mean life is smooth. What we are all experiencing is hard. Living in this new normal is wearing us out. Mental health professionals call it “COVID fatigue.” We are tired of being careful, weary of the isolation, sick of the political spins and media bias, and frustrated with waiting for the vaccine. And the worst of it? We feel like something is wrong with us because it is still. so. very. difficult. Why is nobody else struggling?

We are. Every single one of us. Kids express their fatigue by acting out. We adults hide or medicate our feelings. We numb ourselves against the reality we face every day, hoping to forget–if only for a few minutes–that to be alive is to struggle.

You are not alone, my friend.
Not now, not ever.

The first step toward hope and into healing is admitting that normal is difficult. We need to raise our hands and say, “Yes! I’m struggling!” and talk to each other about our experiences. We don’t need to pretend we are not affected by this “unprecedented” time in our world. (How many times have you heard that phrase?) We need the support of friends and loved ones now more than ever, an ironic twist of a pandemic that forces us into isolation. But physical distances does not necessarily mean isolation. Not if we speak up.

“Tell your story. 
Shout it. Write it. 
Whisper it if you have to. 
But tell it. 
Some won’t understand it. 
Some will outright reject it. 
But many will 
thank you for it. 
And then the most
magical thing will happen. 
One by one, voices will start 
whispering, ‘Me, too.’
And your tribe will gather. 
And you will never 
feel alone again.” 
― L.R. Knost

You are not alone, my friend. Not now, not ever. Just be brave enough to whisper into the darkness. I’m there, too. And we will get through this together.

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