you & me

I’ve Strayed So Far From Normal.

“But I’ve strayed so far from normal now, I’ll never find my way back. And the truth is, I no longer want to.” ~ Alyson Noel

We aim for perfection and normalcy. Society doesn’t like it when we stray. We fight our aging bodies and stuff them into pre-programmed models of perfection — Botox at 26 and tummy tucks at 42. Our sagging breasts are altered to perky, plump and pretty; because we are expected to.

However, behind closed doors, we sob because the number on the scale doesn’t fix what we try to hide.

We hate our bodies, but pretend otherwise.

We crimp our eyelashes and add lip color and force a generic swallowed smile. We hope our tighter-than-tight jeans will suck away the pain, instead it cuts deeply. Our inner critical voices cheer with the barf of norm. It is relentless.

We avoid the me, the you and I, staring at us in the mirror.

We know, on some inner level, the race towards normal is exhausting and oppressive. Nevertheless, we are bombarded with, Do more! Be more! And buy more!

We doubt who we are.

We try relationships; some are okay and some are not. We lie to each other because that’s the way we get through; betrayal is a common attitude. We brag and buy and bargain. We boast how much better we are to stay on top; meanwhile, misery sucks us further into an insecure rut.

We listen to political leaders, teachers and preachers telling us, this is the only way! Just say, Namaste and pray! Or sip this elixir because your constitution of earth, wind and fire are fucked.

Flip the page of the virtual screen and there are blogs that give us 10 tips to look hot. We need to stop and question such presumptuous credibility. It is aimed against our heart.

It hurts our soul.

It decays the enamel of trusting ourselves. We become robots, and withdraw into a tailspin of dismay.

We say, we are fine! Even though we are not.

When we recognize that we no longer want to be suffocated inside a plastic non-biodegradable shell of pretending, we shout, “Shut the fuck-up! This is not who I want to be!”

And without a fanfare, we begin to step into the beauty of accepting our true self. We start to see each other for what and who we are. And how everything doesn’t have to be happy-happy or even slightly perfect.

Normal is a narrow passageway; what happens on all sides can’t be avoided and it’s part of a complex, beautiful mess of our delightful unique self.

Our list of imperfections are celebrated by the beauty emanating from within. We even acknowledge our not-so-pretty truthfulness of how fucking tired it can be, and we stop and have a cup of tea. We are thankful for the days we didn’t lose the kids. Or readily surrender to our jammies and strut around in fuzzy socks. We sigh deeply into knowing it’s going to be okay.

We learn to stop comparing our self and to live within our means. We rejoice with each other’s intelligent creativity.

Each day, we strive to find five minutes of quiet and really listen to what is deep inside. This moment of self-nurturing is a necessary elixir of self-love; it is packaged with a respect of being genuine. There isn’t a meme or an easy fix. And life gets messy and hard and it is also incredibly beautiful. The mountaintop experience of always being happy contradicts our natural ebb and flow.

I’m done and tired of being categorized into something I am not.

I’ll take abnormal for it has fluidity of infinity. I choose not to be subjugated into an ordinary paradigm.

Therefore, I declare I am not normal.

I can’t be or do it all. I give myself permission to live outside of a ferreted box of what society deems phenomenal.


Carolyn Riker
Carolyn Riker, M.A., LMHC, is a counselor, teacher, writer and poet. She currently writes for several online journals such as Women’s Spiritual Poetry blog and formerly Elephant Journal. A collection of her work is on her blog, Magic of Stardust and Words. Her poetry and prose have been featured in three books. Between sips of coffee and navigating life via the stars and moon, Carolyn leads journal-writing workshops and has a private counseling practice. Additionally, she’s in the process of completing her first collection of poetry and prose, available in the fall of 2016. Followed with a bit of magic, there's a children’s book too.
Carolyn Riker
Carolyn Riker

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