This is a question that I have been pondering a lot over the last few months. Where is the manual that sets out the parameters of normalcy? Who determines what those parameters are and how to live within them? Do I really want to be normal? Is it ok to be my version of normal?
I have come to the conclusion through my own ponderings and through talking with counselors and friends that everyone’s normal is slightly different. We all have different experiences. We all make different choices. We all deal with situations and circumstances with our own flavour. Our previous experiences give us different outlooks on the world and can have an effect on our tolerance for and ability to cope with the new experiences that come into our lives.
So, here’s my normal.
I am the proud fur mom to 2 dogs (Rogue and Gunner), 2 cats (Arygon and Goose), and 3 rabbits (Maverick, Dazzle, and Luna) at the time of this writing. Cause here’s another norm for me. I never know when someone new is going to be being welcomed into our home. I deal with more poop and fur on a daily basis than I ever thought possible. Fur is my accessory and my food garnish. And yet, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
I am the wife of a very handsome, retired soldier who copes with the traumas of his career through riding motorcycles, playing violent video games, using exceptionally dark humour, and snuggling with the fur babies. He is an incredible cook and takes great delight in preparing food that both tastes and looks amazing. Some days are completely trigger free and we can almost forget the trauma ever happened and some days the triggers come thick and fast. But every day he loves me more than I could possibly imagine.
I am a survivor of and warrior against childhood sexual assault. I’ve often wondered what my normal would have looked like without that trauma in my life. I’ve tried desperately to become “normal”. I’m learning day by day to create my own version of normal and through my research and gaining understanding of the effects of trauma, I am realizing and accepting that I am “trauma normal” and that is ok.
If you read the about me section, you will already know that vulnerability is my superpower and that as I am vulnerable, my secondary superpower kicks into gear. The ability to offer a safe space for others to be vulnerable. This blog, “In the Trenches” is one of the spaces in which I am choosing to use my superpower. As this blog unfolds, I will show you more of who I am. Of who we are. It will be authentic. Real. Raw. My family is on the front lines every day dancing our way through the myriad of challenges that arise as a result of trauma. Fighting the stigma of mental illness, sexual assault, and military injuries. Caring for each other and our family, chosen family, and friends with every ounce of our beings. This is our normal.
Dance. Fight. Care.