A Sense of Normalcy

As a writer, I know that there are times when words cannot explain.

They cannot describe—cannot express the story they were created to tell.

One of my former classmates conveyed in one of his recent Facebook posts that regarding moving out and starting college, he didn’t “know how to feel.”

At the sight of those words, understanding and relief speared through me. Someone voiced the words that I couldn’t:

I don’t how to feel.

I’ve lived in the same town for eighteen years. I’ve lived in the same house with the same people for fifteen years. The longest I’ve ever spent away from home was two weeks.

And now, in a matter of mere days, I’m moving—permanently—to a town that I have also known my whole life. A coat of familiarity hangs around the borders of the city, and for that I am glad. Consistency in the face of change.

But this familiar town will never be the town that has raised me.

While the three other girls I will share my suite with will hopefully become family, they will never be the other three members of my family that have lived with me for most of my life.

I have answered this same question for the past year:  are you excited?

Yes, I am. I am a trembling ball of excitement, nerves, joy, fears, relief, doubts, determination, and insecurities.

Like my high school graduation day, I have imagined move-in day my entire life. Pictured it like a movie scene, where students, parents, and siblings swerve around each other in the narrow hall while trying to handle tubs filled with personal belongings. Visualized myself standing there as my family closes the door after heartfelt goodbyes—closes the door on the life where I didn’t live on my own.

The life that I once lived.

And again, that bundle of excited nerves punches me in the gut.

It runs through my veins when I think that at this time next week, I will be on campus, preparing for the first day of class.

But then I’ll see the accumulation of dorm room items sitting in their designated area of my house, waiting for Saturday to arrive.

I’ll realize that the last month I had at home consisted of two week-long trips, and the other two weeks were spent getting ready for this imminent milestone.

It is in these times—the jump from the assortment of warring emotions to the sense of emptiness—that I don’t know how to feel.

Yes, I feel excited, nervous, terrified, relieved, doubtful, determined, and insecure.

But most of all, I feel empty at the lack of normalcy defining my current stage of life.

Empty as my room.

My former classmate pegged it when he stated that he didn’t know how to feel.

Because a lack of normalcy can knock the wind out of anybody.

It can leave you feeling so much yet feeling nothing at all.

But I know that within a week, I will forge for myself a new normal—a new sense of normal that I’ll love.

So here’s to a fresh start . . .

. . . and a fresh normal.

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