A Normal Life
What is a normal life? When I try and picture one, here's what I get: a steady job, owning a house, perhaps a family, and a yearly vacation. Maybe I have hobbies or a book club. Date nights and binge sessions on the couch. Not so different from what I have now. My weekends would be spent going out as they are now with friends or visiting family, going to the movies or maybe just the mall for retail therapy. Is my life that different from what I consider 'normal'?There are days when I finish the work day, do some yoga, make dinner, watch whatever show or movie my husband and I decide on and go to sleep. Sometimes I read in bed. I have been living for those days, free of anxiety and full of routine. I love a good routine. I have moments where I imagine this was my life all the time. Days where I did not bury myself underneath my goals and just let myself exist. Days where I think only of the task at hand and then relax into a puddle of contentment. Days where I don't think "Fuck, where did the time go? I need to get my word count in."But that life is not for me. Those days are short lived. I enjoy them and value them immensely. They need to happen to remind me I am a person who needs to have a life outside of all my hopes and dreams. I am sure all artists can relate that it feels impossible to remember often. We are so focused on the life we dream of and what we want to achieve, a normal life escapes us. Escape might be the wrong word. It is more that it is not viable or tempting. Most of us don't even look in that direction. If we do, we joke about how we will never have a normal life. We can't. It isn't in our blood to so do.During the days I feel normal, I get an itch and pang of guilt. I feel guilty I didn't do anything to move forward. It tastes sour in my mouth and I make a pact with myself to do better tomorrow. I'm never angry at myself; it is more that I know this life doesn't fit me. I am unsettled and restless on normal life days. I love them but they don't leave me satisfied as days where I write a full chapter or work on my actor website or record a podcast. I end those days with a feeling of accomplishment as I am sure those who have jobs they value do when they achieve something they've been working towards. I feel I have heard my inner voice and answered the call.On paper, my life looks pretty standard right now. Normal, if you will. Writing has allowed me to be hidden in the shadows more than auditioning did. That adds even more value to the days I work towards my goals because to anyone on the outside, I work a job and go home and play on weekends. Which I do, obviously. What is not seen is the hour I use before work to write my second draft or research how to have my work published or practice my Tarot or peruse auditions with the idea I may start paying attention again soon.A normal life is something I thought I might want. When I had one, I feel into a deep depression and my anxiety consumed me. I didn't make the connection until recently: a leopard can not change its spots. I am a leopard who has spots that are stories and words. I can not trick myself into believing a life without those is anything I would want. Even on a smaller scale as I attempted in Vermont wasn't for me. I need a big fucking scale. I want as big as I can get. That's how I have always dreamt it. I pretended it wasn't necessary for me to be happy but that was foolish. I thrive in the blend of stability and the unknown. I am reminded it is admirable by my tribe who support me and continuously offer encouragement I haven't given up on any of it. I was tempted for a long time to do exactly that. But I didn't. Instead I listened to my heart and asked what it wanted. I am doing something brave and I need reminders of it. I've done something brave and as much as regret pangs me everyday, I needed to play pretend for a while to realize I want what I've always wanted: to live in this city carving out a place for myself and telling my stories any way I can.