“Getting back to normal.”

This is phrase that has been uttered often during the pandemic. The idea is that things will go back to the way they were before the pandemic but in order to do that, we have to believe that none of us were changed by it. I would imagine this is false for most of us. Work norms have changed, family dynamics, racial awareness, priorities…and a generation of children who are and will be dealing with the lingering effects of increased anxiety and depression due to the pandemic.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this phrase and what “normal” actually means, not just in relation to the pandemic but how we, as a society, view normalcy. We have narrowly defined ideas about how people are supposed to exist in this world… how we’re supposed to earn a living, what we’re supposed to value, how we look and behave, our gender or racial identities, how our bodies move, etc. Any deviation from this is seen as there being something wrong with us and so we learn to hide those parts of us.

But what if we were to let go of the idea of “normal”? What could our lives, and the greater world, look like? What if those of us who deviate from normal (and I believe all of us do in some way or another) stopped thinking there was something wrong with us? My kids often use the word “weird” to describe people that don’t fit into norms and I always correct them by replacing that word with “different.” We usually place a value judgment on difference as being bad but what if we stopped doing that and just saw difference for what it was? Just…different.

I have so missed intentional gatherings with larger groups of women. They’ve been a source of inspiration, connection and can facilitate healing. Let’s gather together to share our stories of normal at Raw Storytelling for Women, an event I haven’t hosted since before the pandemic. I am teaming up with my friends at Cura Collective, who will be sponsoring the event at their space, and donating all the proceeds to Refuge Artisan Initiative.

Raw Storytelling events are a safe space for truthtelling. It isn’t about performance or being a good speaker. You will be celebrated (literally) for having the courage to show up and speak your truth. You can help us by holding space for other women by listening and whether or not you speak is entirely up to you. To register, visit the link below for more details and to donate to the Refuge Artisan Initiative.

Register for Raw Storytelling