On the Normalcy of Abnormalcy


In a blog post several days back, I mentioned how August marked the shift back towards a life of normalcy (normalcy defined as “Life Before the Studio”). For the first time in months, there was space (temporal and temperamental) to do such things as clean the house, buy the groceries, actually watch a movie.

Like most transitions (welcome or otherwise), this shift hasn’t happened smoothly. A lot of days were still spent fighting utterly novel fires—days broken up by brief stretches of almost surreal ordinariness.

Until finally, yesterday, while watching the clothes spinning in the wash (how many reflective thoughts are born while doing the laundry?) it occurred to me that perhaps the time had come to redefine what I meant by ordinary. These past three months, without my realizing it, I’d held on to a vision of tranquility characterized mostly by the utter absence of surprise. A day had to come, I’d tell myself wistfully, when my life could go back to its clockwork regularity. Regularity was normalcy; ordinariness meant the routine. And until I could have that stability back, whatever life I was living now was a makeshift one, a discomfiting Twilight Zone I had to endure “until things finally returned to normal.”

Until it hit me that, for better or for worse, my life now is what’s normal, that what used to pass for ordinary is now surreal, that novelty has become the singular feature of my days.

If there’s any consolation, it’s that the constant novelty is no longer as frustrating as it used to be—that the physical flexibility I developed gradually in yoga has its counterpart in an emotional capacity to adapt to change. Slowly, very slowly, I can feel my edges (or my edginess) getting smoother; on some days, I actually (surprisingly) feel the oddest sensation of peace.

Funny how the universe engineers the most elaborate schemes just to make one learn the simplest of things.

Sigh.

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