the new normal

Every time on Instagram that I do the thing where I apologize for not being around, for not being up to date on everyone else's pics and goings-on, one or another of The World's Most Kickass Blog Readers basically tells me to shut up. That it's not necessary. That it's my right to have and enjoy an offline life.

And I appreciate that so much. But I still feel compelled to talk a little bit (more) about why I've put out a whopping two (2) posts this entire month. Because it isn't just that I've been in a whirlwind of distraction and excitement, romantically. There've been other reasons, as well.

For one thing, there's the matter of my foot. Which is still healing. So very, very, very slowly. So slowly, in fact, that I worked myself up into a lather of worry and frustration, convinced there was something wrong. That it hadn't healed correctly, or that, for some crazy reason, I'd been misdiagnosed. I even very seriously entertained the thought that my X-ray had been mixed up at the lab with someone else's.

That kind of thinking isn't like me. I'm neither a hypochondriac nor a conspiracy theorist. I just thought that once I was cleared to start putting weight on my foot, I'd bounce back to normalcy quickly. This hasn't been the case, at all. I'm still limping, badly, and in pain.

And being an active and generally impatient person, this has been an extremely emotionally trying time for me. To not be able to run, or chase Chaucer. To not be able to go dancing or exploring or wandering around, just taking pictures. To not be able to play and jump and goof around with my amazing new boyfriend (yes, it is official, and the terminology has been approved). I became more and more depressed and withdrawn and scared, and by the time I made an appointment to see the ortho again - for which I had a nearly two week wait - I was beside myself. Truly a wreck. So the last thing I felt inclined towards was anything creative. Writing, blogging, photography - it all fell by the wayside as my thoughts were consumed with doomsday scenarios.

(Meanwhile, the boyfriend did everything in his power to console, reassure, support, distract, and generally love on me while I waited to get some answers. On my worst day, he showed up at my door with a venti macchiato in one hand and his six string in the other. It's weird to be going through one of the most trying times of my life at the same time I'm going through one of the most incredible.)

Anyway, all of that fear and wondering lasted until yesterday morning, when the ortho told me to take a big fat chill pill, because my foot is perfectly fine and healing normally. It's just that feet take longer than anywhere else on the body to heal - particularly my kind of fracture, particularly with how much I have to use it (I walk everywhere), and particularly because I have a thyroid disorder. I was so relieved I cried.

That being said, I still have a ways to go. I'm still in pain when I walk, which sucks, because not having a car, I walk everywhere. I still limp, which throws off my entire body and makes everything from my lower back to my shoulders sore. I have to concentrate on every step, which is so unnatural and annoying - like having to think about breathing. When Chaucer and I go long distances, I get so frustrated and upset with not being able to just relax and enjoy it, I'm nearly in tears by the end of the walk.

And I didn't want to blog about any of this, for fear of sounding like a whiner. Because, my god, there are people who don't have the use of ANY of their limbs. I can suck it up and deal with a limp for a few months, right? Of course I can. But if you want to know the truth, this has been one of the worst things I've ever gone through. Ever.

And uh, that's saying a lot.

In any case, what has now cleared the way for me mentally (and hopefully, creatively) is the realization and, unfortunately, the forced acceptance that for now at least, this is the new normal. Limited mobility, a limited physicality, and just feeling like a limited version of myself overall. Now that I know I'm probably facing a few more months before I'm back to 100%, it's time to stop sitting around in terror, start finding workarounds for those limitations, and work on being patient with my body.

And it's time to reconnect with my creative self.

There's something else, too. There's the fact that my life has been completely changed by the addition of another person, and all that he brings to it. And it isn't just that I spend a lot of my time with him, though I do. I still have plenty of time to myself, for writing and blogging and Instagramming and all of that fun stuff. (He understands how important that is to me, and he very much respects and encourages any and all of my creative endeavors.) It's also a matter of making the mental adjustment to a very different emotional life.

The new normal is being loved, every day. And that's...not something I'm used to.

I've spent an enormous amount of psychic energy the past few weeks trying to get over the hurdle of accepting the fact that, Yes, Ellie, you actually have found someone with whom to have a healthy, happy, and fulfilling relationship. You can stop thinking about it and stop holding your breath, waiting for shoes to drop. You can just enjoy it. 

I've been enormously self-conscious during this time, where my online presence is concerned. I've felt the weight of unseen eyes, friendly or hostile, waiting to see how my latest foray into romance plays out. Which sounds grossly self-absorbed; believe me, I know. But I mean, it's true. I have a pretty good idea of who reads my blog, and who checks in on me from time to time. And that's cool. I'm flattered to be of interest to anyone I've known, virtually or personally. It's just that the fourth wall can be a little crippling, when you're at you're most vulnerable.

And it doesn't get more vulnerable than saying, Holy shit, I am madly in love.

I am in love, which is always scary. But the good news is that someone is making it his business to give me every bit of that love back. Which means I am safe. Safe to try, and safe to fail. Safe to return to this space, and carry on my creative life. And though I know it will be difficult for me - not the least because there are some intimidating new eyes around here - it's important to me to work towards embracing that new normal, too.

So that's why I've been elsewhere lately. In a nutshell: fear.

But enough of that baloney, yeah?