Currently I’m in my bedroom scrolling through the Netflix options for yet another movie to doze off to. My head is giddy from watching too much t.v. and sleeping. I thought about suggesting a game of UNO to my husband, but it’s not as much fun with just two people, and he’s also low key avoiding me because I’m still struggling with the cold he passed on to me; I’m low key avoiding him so I don’t have to drink another bowl of the ramen soup he makes me out of transference guilt.
Whenever my face unclogs from the longest cold ever I’ll feel normal and maybe a little less restless. Then I can maybe begin to face what 2020 has decided to lay before us here as a series of choices. At least that’s how I’ve chosen to frame all that’s happening.
When I think back on my childhood, I can’t quite recall at what age I started to understand what having a choice was. I remember being told at age 4 that I wasn’t allowed to watch “The X-Files” because it would give me nightmares. I remember my father telling me every single day before school to be careful of the people I chose to call friends. But I didn’t understand why things like this mattered for a very long time.
And that’s normal for children. A lot of things we are exposed to and taught at a young age don’t start to make sense to us until we’re mature. It unfolds petal by petal like a flower; eventually we get the full bloom.
Now that I consider myself a grownup from Sunday’s through Friday’s at 5 p.m. things hit me a lot harder and faster than I have time to process it. I don’t get to piece it all together anymore and decide moment by moment what things mean and how I should handle them. The outbreak of the coronavirus is no different.
I hate that we think about things so singularly. I like to think of myself as highly empathetic and comfortable with being a very small, insignificant part of the grand scheme of life. But at the same time, I’m frustrated with my need in this crisis to factor how everything affects me personally.
I’m devastated that this pandemic has wrought so much death in such a short amount of time. I’m discouraged by our response to it. I’m irritated by the jokes and the business as usual stance. I’m vexed by the panic. I’m confused by the whirlwind of theories and misinformation. I’m annoyed that any of this is somehow political. I’m angry at the selfishness of people. I’m worried about the aftermath. I’m restless about the present.
If it was possible for me to walk out on my own thoughts I would, because this would all still unfold even if I wasn’t here to witness and react to it. But that’s not possible. It’s also not possible to control how other people cope with disaster; a lot of things simply aren’t possible right now. No matter what anyone tells you it’s not possible to prepare for the worse. That’s not to say we won’t get through it, I just think being prepared for it is not a thing fam.
People are still going to travel, post the most insignificant things on social media, keep up the facade, fight over toilet paper, cut you off on the expressway, die a sad—lonely death, lose their jobs due to illness, campaign, raise their children, suffer from food insecurity, risk their lives to flee violence, have birthdays, live a life…it’s all still going to happen.
A lot of it will be fractured. And it already feels like we’re smiling through the pain. But I swear humanity will carry on until the wheels fall right the hell off. On the day the clouds burst open and God appears (if you believe in this sort of thing), you will be clocking in to your job, coffee in one hand, plastic water bottle in the next, complaints on your lips, mentally preparing for your next vacation.
I picture “the end”, as with everything else, as one big simultaneous, inevitable disaster. Simultaneous with beginnings, life, death, war, hunger, disease, aging, working our shitty jobs, showing up to our cousin’s wedding, watching devastating news on t.v., and yes, coronavirus.
I keep giving myself room to prepare for this and prepare for that. “I have time,” is what I like to tell myself. And let’s be honest, when we make it through one disaster (remember months ago when the rumors of war between the U.S. and North Korea felt like the end?) don’t we all let out a communal sigh of relief and thank the universe that its not quite gotten to the end just yet. We have more time to get our lives in order, to decide what we believe in, to do the right thing, to make the right choices. Now its become clear to me that if you are still waiting to make a choice that in itself is a choice. Exactly what cues are we waiting for? This is it. This is life. Its all happening at once and a lot of it is and has always been terrifying.
Here is my outlook. The world is not a safe place. We must create perimeters of safety for ourselves. We can’t forget to be compassionate even as we try our best to shield our vulnerabilities. We must decide what legacy we want to leave for the next generation. We must prioritize our peace of mind; shave everything down to the fine point accuracy of what’s really important. Hold only yourself accountable. Understand that dreadful people aren’t just in our nightmares. Rest in what makes you keep going despite the awful truths.
I hope as this unfolds we think more about each other as much as possible. My heart breaks for the elderly, and the very young, the folks in healthcare, the people in the poorest parts of the world, the very poor here as well.
I hope everyone stays healthy, and safe as we weather this together. It’s comforting to me during this time to think of what matters most. And usually I start with what I think should be on the list like my home, and my income. But when I think of a real worst-case scenario the most important things are really the safety of myself and my family.
As always with the most depressing post ❤
Stay prayed up!