I don’t know when I realized that my life was, largely, a chaotic clusterfuck – and had been for some time. I probably had an inkling of it when someone was throwing a queen sized mattress at me simply because I’d reminded them to pay the stupid electric bill… I know I REALLY realized it when that point of sale system was being thrown into the floor and I was having to answer for it – even though I hadn’t been anywhere close to it – because I was the one that got left behind. If I’d never questioned it before then (and I know I had – but hadn’t seriously considered DOING anything about it), I did when I was sitting outside the jail, waiting for my then partner to get released for throwing said POS system in the floor.
I think it was then that I knew I had to get out. I knew I needed to get out of the relationship. I didn’t realize that I was going to have to get far, far away from the state too – a fact that was only driven home by multiple death threats, stalking, hacking, impersonation… enough to trigger deep-seated PTSD, refresh it, make it real again, make it RELEVANT again (maybe more than it even was the first time).
When I started trying to figure out where to go, I considered a lot of options and eventually settled on a place that is completely new to me – a place I’ve never even set foot in before. I found a real estate agent to help me look at rentals, found a property, made the necessary arrangements, and found myself in my new home in a matter of months.
I want to do things differently here – both because I’ve realized the value of “blending” into a place and finding my people – people that would miss me, or at least notice, if I don’t show up in my regular places at my regular times – but also because that whatever I became accustomed to living in – both during that horrible time, but also before (I mean I have a blog and three books’ worth of stories to tell about a very outrageous life) is not normal.
I laugh when I think of that term – like in that I think I’ve been questioning that definition since I was seventeen and my eleventh-grade math teacher asked me to define what “normal” meant when I got permission to bring my boyfriend (who lived in another county) to the Winter Formal.
I’m not sure I really know what that means now, either, except that I have about a thousand examples of what it DOESN’T mean.
And yet, anyway, here I am… seeking it out… in this new place (a location I am never going to divulge). Knowing what I want it to look like… and having a lot of it (because I worked my ass off to make it so). Doing what I have to do to come out of my shell. Realizing, the more that I talk to people who really are more “normal” than me (or, at least, who have certainly lived a more low-key life than I have), that the life I’ve been leading, all the stories I have to tell, each more outrageous than the last, makes me, rather, stand out like a sore thumb if I choose to divulge them.
But how can I not? Especially when everything I am, right now, falls right back into those narratives, those stories. I want that to change – that’s why I’m here – and that’ll happen… but it’s going to take some time.
I’ve taken some major steps to change the narrative. Major risks, really. And those have paid off. But funnily, I think those were the easy parts. Now I have to confront the demons. I have to define what it is that I want (that part I’ve already done… mostly) and then I have to shift a ton of stuff to make that a reality.
I don’t know if “normal” is here… in this place. I hope it is. I think I’m a lot closer to finding it here than I ever was anywhere else I’ve ever lived. I don’t even really know if “normal” is something that can qualify as a place, rather than a certain kind of lifestyle. Or a certain kind of mental state. Maybe it’s the way we choose to react to things. I just don’t know. I know I want to find it. But what’s more, once I find it, if I ever do, I have a feeling that keeping it will be an even bigger task.