Hi, I’m Meaghan Shaffer and I’ve lived most of my life based on “should,” creating rules and lists and checkboxes that dictated everything, never exploring what I truly wanted, but rather always looking for the head nods from others indicating I was going in the right direction. I attempted fervently to fit into a box, to be normal, to do the next expected thing, to curate a perfect looking life.
And then my perfectly curated, normal life blew up and took my standard list of check boxes with it. In my world the explosion looked like six years of infertility riddled with loss and trauma and unfulfilled hope. And while all of those things were piercingly painful (so much so, that at one point, when someone cut me off on the highway, I fantasized about being in a car accident and breaking a bone or three, because the transfer of pain to something physical would have been so much easier to manage), nothing compared to the crisis of self I was having. I literally didn’t know how to be if I could not do this next “right” thing.
Infertility caused me to re-evaluate everything. I stopped hustling for my worth, I stopped looking for the nodding heads and took back control over this one precious life I’ve been given.
The thing is, though, my pain and fear and struggle isn’t special. We all hurt, we are all scared, and we are all recovering from something. What was your moment? What tipped your world upside-down and completely rocked your normal? Was it a loud boom that shook your soul or was it a quiet whisper you simply couldn’t ignore? Even more importantly — how are you allowing it to change you?
I’m endlessly fascinated by stories of true grit, of flying in the face of who our world tells us we should be and what we should be doing and I have so many questions… I want to unravel the baggage, bias and distance our perceptions of normal create. I want to continue to challenge the lens I’ve lived through, bolstering curiosity and discovery and exposure over judgement and ignorance. Brene Brown reminds us, it’s hard to hate up close, so let’s get close.
Dismantling Normal is me on a journey, a quest to understand, to have authentic, curious, brave and at times a little bit uncomfortable conversations – it might get awkward, brace yourself. And I hope along the way others start feeling permission to embrace the things about themselves and their lives that don’t fit into any box. Because there is no normal, that is just an illusion we created for some sense of comfort and direction. I can’t imagine I’m the only one who needs this right now, so come along with me. Let’s find out what happens when we stop being normal and start being real.
Listen to my whole story.
Listen to the brave, beautiful souls who have shared their stories.
Photo Credit: My wonderful and amazingly talented friend, Sakhon Nhek.