Lost: Beloved Normality
If Found, Please Return
My May-long tribute to fibromyalgia continues!
This week’s hermit crab essay has been kicking around in my mind for some time. It just seemed fitting to pop it into the rotation for Fibro Warriors.
Honestly, though, I think anyone with an invisible illness will empathize.
Normality slipped out the door when I wasn’t looking. Maybe last night? It might have been Thursday morning. Or perhaps a week ago when I went grocery shopping? I know it happened recently. At least within the past week…Month…Year…
I turned around and suddenly noticed the distinct lack in my life. I know I should have paid better attention. Watched closely when securing all of the doors and windows, potential means of egress. But I got distracted.
It’s unrealistic to expect one person to notice details around them - weighed down and overburdened with so many conflicting signals through their brain.
Normality and I did everything together:
Work long hours (even picking up extra shifts)
Sleep late in the mornings, reveling in the freedom of laziness
Accept invitations from our friends
Make spontaneous plans for physical activity (even sex)
Without Normality around, I can’t do anything.
Everyone’s noticed the change. Friends and family make endless comments on my sudden lack of energy, motivation, movement. My overwhelming misery and exhaustion defy adequate description.
All I know is my life is no longer what it once was.
And I need things back the way they were.
Normality resembles 20 years of life experiences:
Friendships gained and lost
Song lyrics, poems, and book passages
Boyfriends (the good and the bad)
Arguments, shredded letters, and broken picture frames
Failures (I’m willing to admit that no one’s perfect)
I have photos, journals, stuffed toys, and ornaments throughout the house, preserving tiny pieces of Normality. Catching sight of them moves me to tears. The memories keep slipping through my fingers. Time - and the absence - take the words.
How to describe Normality?
Friends and family know.
Normality is vibrant, vital, and visionary. A rare yet common breed.
Normality is plans, ideas, and goals. Laughter and smiles. And energy - so much energy. Energy that lasts from the first fluttering eyelid in the morning through the final whispered giggle in the evening.
Normality is schedules that remain fixed and constant.
Normality is reliable.
But Normality does not answer when called. (I’ve tried - repeatedly)
Personal Plea for Help
I took Normality for granted.
It’s difficult for me to admit that, staring at the empty rooms in my house. If I increased my care, spent less time rushing from task to task, or nurtured Normality’s flourishing enthusiasm, maybe that open door wouldn’t have proven so tempting.
But I felt so comfortable. And I never imagined my constant companion might venture beyond the safety of my presence. Or decide to seek adventures without me.
I promise to do better.
No longer will I take for granted the Normality in my life. Instead, I’ll cherish every moment of ordinary scheduling, routine errands. Standard hours of sleep will be embraced with warm acceptance - even substandard moments of rest. Mundane walks around the block will become a treasured part of my day.
I cannot hope to fill this loss on my own. I need people to search the neighborhood for my beloved Normality.
Teams should move carefully and quietly. Any quiet corner may prove the perfect hiding place, a nourishing hideout for a creature frightened away by sudden, alarming changes. Patience and understanding are the foremost qualities in this hunt.
Rash, bold, or frustrated shouting will only drive Normality further into hiding.
Anyone who returns Normality to me will have my undying gratitude. The image of the relief and joy of my expression should bring any human with functional emotions to tears.
Reuniting two lost souls is reward enough for anyone.
I will also include a reward in an unspecified amount as an added (I’m told required) incentive.