Redefining Normal

Tess Waddy

Normal – 


Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

(Oxford English Dictionary Definition)

Does “normal” have meaning anymore? Can we truly say that anything about our daily lives is “usual” or “typical” or “expected”? 

Normal, once so consistent, has now retreated, 

outcompeted by a chaotic array of disasters, both natural and not. 

Even as normal started it’s march into the shadows, 

No cavalry appeared to slow its retreat

There was no victory, and no defeat

Just a feeling of a missing piece

Something we once knew

Now vacant  


With normal gone,

A thick skin forms

A relaxed attitude towards disaster

That leaves no room for 


Or disbelief.


Each passing day blurs

Each new disaster lures more and more towards a darker place

Where shadows loom and monsters hide

But there is no surprise

No abush to be found

Because anything is expected 

When everything is unprecedented

Yet we can push the unprecedented aside


Even though waves of doubt lap against our ankles

And the whispers of denial whip the trees around our heads

Even when our bodies are so heavy,

Made of stone, limbs of lead

We march forwards,

Dragging the chains of previous generation’s mistakes

And walk towards the sunrise


No matter what happens in our busy complex lives,

The planet turns

The sun will rise

And though I – we- feel betrayed and put upon

We can rise together

As inevitable as the morning sun

And step forward into the future


A new generation

Working as one

Fighting to craft a new normal,

For the our planet, our home for now, then and forever

For our communities, friends, siblings, neighbors

Striding towards a more perfect world

Footsteps feather light

Wings spread, eyes bright

Undoing previous mistakes

And crafting a future 

The opportunity to take

A stand

And make


to create a fair, equitable, green, peaceful


where all can make, break, create, 

Their own futures

As boundless as their imaginations