Thanks to a global pandemic, I’ve recently come to the realization that I’m much more of an introverted homebody than I considered myself to be. I was completely fine to stay home for two weeks and even after two years, my enthusiasm to comply with social distancing never faltered. On the contrary, as society began opening up more and I noticed my veil of a recluse excuse was becoming much thinner, I started to panic. I wasn’t ready. Rather than hoping for a return to normalcy, I felt an urgency to take the hard-earned lessons of Covid and apply them to create a new normal. So, after years of thinking about it, procrastinating and putting off, I reached out to a therapist to help me navigate the re-entry stage.
As I recall, the only thing I said during our first meeting together was, “I don’t really have anything to talk about” over and over on a loop until the hour ended and I closed with: “Good God, I’m sweating. Is everyone like this during their first session?”
To which she replied with something along the lines of, “Oh shit, yeah.” And I knew, despite the intensity of my first date jitters, I had found a good match.
In the months since, I have religiously held our appointments even on the days it seemed I had nothing to talk about. It turns out I can always find something to say. I’ve often put the needs of my family ahead of my own, and perhaps even used motherhood as an excuse to avoid addressing the aspects of myself in need of healing. Providing myself with a safe space to voice my concerns, thoughts and emotions has been deeply- you guessed it- therapeutic.
I feel calmer and more grounded even in the midst of collective turmoil beyond my control. I feel stronger about how to effectively use my voice and wiser about when it’s unnecessary to engage. I feel capable of trusting myself and proud to have committed to my own continual growth. Choosing to invest in myself and my own well-being has provided me with tools to navigate far more than post-Covid re-entry. Every other Wednesday I’m reminded that whether I’m out in the world or hiding in my house, I can always find home right where I am- within myself.
Ellie Norris is a mother of two from Collierville, Tennessee. She writes to empower, entertain and inspire creativity through authentically relatable stories of motherhood and identity. Follow @ellienorris.writer on Instagram for more of her work.