Wednesday, June 11, 2014

through the rabbit hole: the new normal

i was in yoga class tonight and richard, one of my all-time favorite yoga teachers, made us do a sequence on our toes. and, as everyone was thinking "WHEN THE FUCK DO WE GET TO PUT OUR HEELS DOWN?!" he casually said, just think "this is the new normal." and how appropriate was it that i was wearing my alice in wonderland blackmilks in class tonight? down the rabbit hole into wonderland--that's having to get used to a new normal (or a new madness) quite quickly.

i laughed out loud when richard said this. (yeah, i totes LOL in yoga class.) and then i thought, "it really can be that easy, though, can't it?"

we get stuck in habits. in patterns. in our set ways of doing things. we forget there are other ways. we forget that we might have even had a different way at another point in our life.

then, something shifts. and suddenly, we're in a new normal. sometimes without even realizing we are there.

but, other times, we search for a new normal. we look for ways to shift. we LONG for any catalyst. and yet we still can't see a light at the end of the tunnel. we become sure there is not even an end to the tunnel. we decide we might as well die in that tunnel.

i've been in that tunnel. i've lived in that tunnel: i've been sure i was stuck in a marriage i could never get out of; i've been sure bulimia and exercise would overpower every thought for the rest of my life. i've been sure that my dark tunnels weren't tunnels, but rabbit holes that i would have to make the best of for my remaining days.

but you know what? there is always a new normal. there is always a fucking way out.

easier example? i thought i'd never adjust to living in australia. i thought i'd never understand the mobile phone plans (umm, i call them "cell phones" in america, guys!). i thought i'd never adjust to a more relaxed work-life (umm, yeah, that may have been a faster adjustment). i thought i'd never understand the slang. but now i eat brekky with mates, not worrying over whether i'll get to the office before that arvo, and i even offer to call my friends' mobile phone carriers to help sort their over-priced plans. it just happened: a new normal was created. and i live in it. and i love it. and i didn't have to MAKE it happen.

medium example? i've begun to be less reactive. i've worked a lot on understanding why i respond the way i do in various situations. i used to be super reactive: i would lash out when something upset me, regardless of the cause or who was involved. but, as i've worked around this, i've started to change. a few nights ago a friend was SUPER SNIPPY with me on the phone. and i found myself saying, "no, look, that's ok. i can easily change plans." after the call i thought "wow. a year ago i would've said, 'fuck you!' and hung up. even a few months ago i think i would've said, 'look, you're being a jackass; i'll just talk to you later.' but look at how i can calmly respond now!" i know i've worked a lot at it, but it's nice to be able to acknowledge this shift: this new normal i've been noticing myself creating and living.

harder example? i started to learn to appreciate food as fuel instead of calories. doing handel coaching with elena, i had to photo all my meals. AND LISTEN TO HER FEEDBACK about them. because of this, i had to have more conversations with my friends about how my eating habits affected them. i had to make promises to elena about my eating and exercise habits. i had to learn to take control of my choices and understand that these choices were giving me life.

every day of that was difficult and challenging in new ways. but 6 weeks after that food photo diary began, i think i've made drastic changes from where i was. i did binge and purge once recently: last week. but something i noticed about it? it was hard. not the physical act, but the emotional act. my head wasn't on board. it was like "what the fuck are you doing? why are you doing this? what is happening here?"

i talked about some of these themes with my friend lydia recently, and she said to me, "yeah, well, it's because it's not normal for you to binge and purge anymore; you've created a new way of thinking." oh. yeah. a new normal. my friend kelli has been trying to drill my body image shift into my head every time i see her. (i'm starting to hear her.)

this new normal wasn't easy to find. it isn't even easy for me to acknowledge: i still binged and purged last week--fighting the internal dialogue and self-trust i've built to do so. i was actively trying to NOT acknowledge my progress.

and i think that's one of the most important things here: we have to be able to RECOGNIZE when we have a new normal. we have to live in it--because that is where we are at that moment. we have to always be in the present. we have to stop letting our past dictate our futures.

i had a friend of a friend tell me recently that he had trust issues in relationships. when i asked why, he told me about something an ex had done. i said, "but your next partner isn't that person in that other situation. that person who hurt you isn't the same person they were then. even you aren't the same person you were in that situation. why would you let that experience color what might happen next?"

and he just looked at me in awe... or like i was crazy. i'm not sure. sometimes i confuse that look.

but either way, i'm appreciating the new normal i've been actively designing. and i'm super-appreciating all those in my life that keep helping me notice it (besides those already mentioned, KR, OCS, BP, AJS, MJR, SP... i know y'all got my back).

because "i can't go back to yesterday; i was a different person then!" ~lewis carroll, alice in wonderland

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