I live in a neighborhood that’s transforming: small houses are being torn down and replaced by bigger ones, second stories are added onto single level homes, and in at least one case, a giant new house was built out from a home reduced to a porch and a front room. Even though these new structures are designed to fit in with the neighborhood, slowly but surely, they’re changing the character of the neighborhood. What’s considered an “average” or “normal” home is now larger and more expensive.
I’ve had an anxious week–one where my fears keep popping to the surface. They debilitate me. I worry I’ll never get anything done because how could I when everything has the potential to go so horribly wrong.
Weeks like this make me wonder if I should do more to try to address my issues. The questions I ask myself are ones I’ve often heard used to gauge mental health: “Is the anxiety disrupting my normal routine? Am I having problems performing normal activities?”
And thinking about these questions makes me even more upset. Because, yes, this week the fears have disrupted my normal activities, but what I consider normal has been shaped by years of anxiety.
Normal for me is carrying hand sanitizer everywhere I go. Normal for me is being afraid to put myself out there for fear of rejection. Normal for me is wanting so much to be safe that the possibility of risk distresses me.
Transformation happens slowly. One giant house at a time. One new fear that burrows into my brain and promises to terrorize me at inconvenient moments.
Normal is a moving target. And sometimes I wish I could get back to a better normal, but I’m not sure how far back I would have to go. So maybe it’s better think of rebuilding. Gentrifying my mind. Because even though it has its problems, its quirky character holds promise.