Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

I no longer think about what pictures I used to see in my mind.   I know hearing words to remember an object is the only capability I have to “see” memories.  I no longer rub my eyes and try to get the darkness created by hemianopia to disappear.  My eyesight will always be missing on the left side.  Until I wake up and pain shoots through my cramped muscles or a stranger asks what happened to my leg, it is no longer a conscious thought that I limp.  The limitations I am left with are part of me.  I am not defined by my disabilities.  I am very aware they shaped me into the person I am today.

My past complications evolved me into the person I have been fortunate enough to become.  I accept this as my new normal.  Normal is a word we use to define what everyday life delivers to us.  It is normal to research information on a computer.  It is normal to travel by car.  It is normal to see green grass in the spring and feel heat in the summer.  Normal is acceptable.  Normal is fairly consistent.  Yet, never forget that normal will also evolve.  What we thought was normal for us and for society ten years ago will usually not be considered our normal today.

When we sail along pleasantly through life and are struck by a painful or even life-altering event the normal we are familiar with will be abruptly disrupted.  This creates a troubled feeling.  No one usually enjoys being taken from their routine.  These very routines define our perception of normalcy.  I will tell you an important life lesson I learned.  Normal will eventually come back to your life.  It may not be exactly the same.  Those routines may change.  You will probably change.  Nonetheless, normal will return.  You will adapt to your new normal as you gradually adapt to the changes in your life.

I hope your new, evolving normality will be accepted.  It might be a hard adjustment.  Give it time.  I would like to read a magazine and not be confused by the content because I have missed seeing the left column.  I would like my eyesight back.  I would prefer not having to be concerned again if and when I would have another seizure – my Disease of Waiting.  I want to feel various textures of clothing rubbing my left hand rather than only a rough, uncomfortable sensation as I fold clean clothes.  I would like this a lot.  Yet, I accept what I have now.  I am grateful for the normal I have adjusted to experiencing.  My senses from the past will not return.  My normal is becoming a comfortable consistency I can now depend on. “Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That is why we call it the present.” – Unknown   Yes, my normal has evolved.  Yet, as my routines have changed, I am grateful for this new normal my life has delivered to me.

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Comments on: "The Evolution of Normal" (17)

  1. You have done it again! This post came at a very appropriate time for me. The past six weeks have been bumpy..for a description please check my epilepsy blog posting at
    http://byonepilepsy.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/facing-my-mortality/

    Thank you for being who you are, and challengin each of us to be who we can be.

    • How are you doing? I will stop over to your blog soon for an update. I have been anxiously awaiting your next post. Glad to know it is up. I thought of you this summer. I was only a few states away. We will chat soon.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. It is wonderful to hear from you again!

      Tara

    • If anyone has time, I would highly encourage you to read the link By Baylis has offered. It is powerful and moving. I continue to be amazed at the courage he shows the world in discussing the medical challenges he faces with such grace.
      By, thank you for the courage you display for all of us to see. I appreciated the journey you take us on.

  2. Justin said:

    Tara, somehow you’ve managed to articulate the elusive concept of acceptance about as vividly and beautifully as I’ve ever seen it written! You are an inspiration to us all 🙂

    • Justin,

      This was such a wonderful comment to receive. I greatly appreciate it! I am glad you thought I was able to capture this elusive concept. “Normal” is something I think about often – as it is ever-changing at a noticeable speed for me!

      Thank you for taking the time to not only stop by and read this post, but also take the time to leave your thoughts. It is always greatly appreciated!

      Tara

  3. So beautiful, Tara. (Not that I’m surprised —)
    A dear friend is just discovering that what she has been experiencing lately are probably seizures — Married, three children, two dogs, living in the country (public transportation practically unheard of) —
    I’m saving this post for down the road, when I think it may be of great practical use, and even greater emotional comfort, to her.

    • Judith,

      I hope you realize how much your consistent kind words really do mean to me. Thank you! I hope your friend is adapting to the changes in her life. Please send her my way if she ever needs to vent, ask questions or….vent. 🙂 I am always here. It is a dramatic change in everyday life when seizures strike. I am here if she has any thoughts she wants to talk through. In my about page, I shared my email address. I would be happy to listen to her. I wish her -and You- the very best.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such a wonderful lady!

      Tara

  4. “Normal” is *always* evolving, and is *always* a relative state. It can change not only in regards to time (i.e., normal 10 years ago versus normal 1 month ago versus normal yesterday…), but also in regards to location (US city “normal” is quite different than African bush “normal”), culture, chronological age (“normal” to have a full-time job at 10? 20? 30? 50? 70? 90?), and so on. Your ‘normal’ is no better than or worse than mine, or your husbands, or your friends… and the same holds true in reverse. Here’s to each of us having some fun with our own personal ‘normals’ (which hey, may not even be ‘normal’ for us tomorrow!). 🙂

    • All of your points were great, but I had never really thought of location as a defining point for normality. Great additions! Thanks for stopping by Stef. It is really great to see you here!
      I hope you have been well. I enjoy reading your “Smile Kiddo” moments.

      Tara

  5. Beautiful Post Tara.

    I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but I was born blind in my left eye, and as an aging adult am losing vision in my good/right eye. It sucks, and I find myself rubbing them to get rid of the fog at times.

    I understand how you talk about remembering things in that way. I use it to write my poetry.

    As I read your writing I am wondering if you have ever tried writing poetry? It is not that hard. It could go as…(from your post above)

    I no longer think
    about what pictures
    are used to see
    what is in the mind
    hearing words to remember
    an object, the only capability
    to “see” memories, I
    no longer rub my eyes
    trying to get darkness
    to disappear…

    I see beautiful poetry in your words 🙂

    Just an encouragement. I could see this in a chapbook and helping others, as my own grief poetry has helped someone. Even if just one…

    hugs

    Elizabeth

    • I have made attempts at writing poetry. I enjoy thinking up verses. But, my oh my, nothing this beautiful has ever come from my pen. You have a gift Elizabeth – a true gift. I feel privileged that you have shared a little bit of your gift with me here. I will come back frequently to reread these rich words you have offered us.

      A heartfelt thanks goes out to you for sharing this with me. I absolutely love it!

      Tara

      • I agree with you – somewhat. I agree that Elizabeth’s poetry is *amazingly* beautiful; but I feel the need to point out that she created it using YOUR prose.

        Perhaps you two could collaborate on some works? I think it would be a truly phenomenal partnership…

  6. I agree with Stef, we could work together once week via email if you wanted. Maybe you could dedicate one day to poetry on here. Many poets help each other, but we always give credit to the original writer, never taking credit ourselves. Its the writer/mentor/teacher way.

    I am not a brilliant writer, but I have my moments 🙂 email me anytime. elizabeth@cookappeal.com

    Just type up a few paragraphs of how you are feeling, or a thought on the kids, something you accomplish, crappy feelings about your illness, you know then we can go from there. All I did was break down the paragraph, take out ‘I’ ‘me’, make it more general, so the audience can identify. Show others in a prose sort of way. You can also turn it into couplets like my 9/11 poem. Poetry is simpler than we realize, just clean up words. 🙂

  7. Not to take up more comment space, but here is what you wrote above in couplet form…

    I no longer think
    about what pictures

    are used to see
    what is in the mind

    hearing words
    to remember an object

    the only capability
    to “see” memories

    I no longer rub my eyes
    trying to get darkness

    to disappear…

    It puts a stronger emphasis on the last word of each sentence, and drags you to the next, and we make it longer from the rest of the post. 🙂

    Hugs, and have a great day ‘keeping on keeping on’…

  8. […] few weeks ago I wrote about how our definition of normal always evolves.  This past week I was thinking about other ever-changing areas of my life.  For example, […]

  9. nelson RN said:

    “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why we call it the present.” – Thanks for the reminder. I think I needed that.

  10. […] different area of the brain in different ways.  Have patience and take time to understand how your definition of normal will evolve.  After all, prior to my experiences, I never would have believed that a simple blood clot could […]

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