Life, as we knew it, has changed.
I’ve written and deleted, written and deleted, about fifteen sentences before that one and gone on five different tangents about this or that, but nothing fits how I am feeling other than to say: Everything has changed. It feels too simplified and almost alarmist at its core to write that, but regardless of how it makes me feel, it remains true.
I will admit that a great weight just descended into my chest and now radiates heat up into my throat. Anxiety is going to try and stop me from writing this but I’ll be damned if I let that beat me… Just might have to go a bit slower here, take my time, and really push through harder (That’s what she said).
I have been in quiet contemplation the last three or four days. There are select people I speak with over the telephone – family, mostly, and I’ve noticed that what I am can offer is an ear to listen. Because I am naturally so “cynical” by nature, and connected with and aware of my own “darkness” (I use that term endearingly) I’ve probably thought all the dark and twisty thoughts you’ve thought, and then some – so I am a good person to come to just for supportive listening. I think now we need to allow each other the space to say aloud our fears, to acknowledge them, and to support each other back to rational thinking. If we can do that, it might ease the psychological burden some feel when faced with the panic and fear that all of this obviously brings forth.
What has been hard to balance recently in light of that is self-care, once everyone else’s ideas, thoughts, feelings, and fears are dumped into my psyche: The art of staying centered when allowing all of this to move through me, to benefit others and also myself, is something I have not mastered. Meaning, I have struggled over the past couple of days, momentarily allowing other’s fears to creep in and upset my peace of mind. I think that is something we all need to keep in mind – to step back now and then and examine how YOU FEEL as an individual. Make sure you’re getting rest, breathing, eating healthy, being outside as much as possible (back yards are nature, if that’s what you have use it).
My children need me at my best; I need to be an example of calm now more than ever. They are afraid, unsure. School is cancelled all of a sudden, the STARR test (Texas’ big statewide assessment test) was cancelled, and no doubt about it they can sense our rising stress as the adults quietly talk amongst themselves. I have to step back from my feelings and give them stability, and instill hope and peace to them, while simultaneously being unsure about it myself: What does that look like?
John suggested we start meditating together, and I agreed. Family prayer time is another thing we will strengthen and do more of. We are trying to give each other grace as we move through each new day, and really just accept that we all feel the uncertainty, we just need to love each other through it.
I have committed to helping my family and friends get through this and I hope anyone reading this knows I am here – just ask for my number and I am a phone call away.
There really isn’t anything more we can do but weather this. Weather it miserably, where we panic and everything collapses, or we weather it with a spirit of coming together, however we can, to at least keep our wits about us while it all plays out. If we can at LEAST do that – support each other, help keep each other grounded in reality and living life a day at a time (because, really, that part hasn’t changed; all we’ve EVER had is the present!) – if we can do that, we will get through this.
One day at a time.
There are certain measures I’ve begun implimenting, like limiting my intake of “the world” news… I began a podcast today and I stopped it halfway through. The author was a self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist and the themes were apocalyptic at best; I had to choose not to consume it any further. If you find this is happening to you as well, that something is just upsetting you and it isn’t adding any value to your state of mind – if it is causing your anxiety to rise, causing more fear – BY JESUS STOP WATCHING IT.
Go, instead, get to a project you’ve put off for a while. Read that book you haven’t picked up in months or ever. Watch Napoleon Dynamite. Take your kids on a walk around the neighborhood (just, you know, wear your HAZMAT suit, duh). Pet a dog, hold a cat. Go fishing (is that still “allowed”?) Make some love (cheers to all the Corona-babies in the next 9 months!) Push your kid on the swing. Make homemade chili. Finally write a book (like I am trying to do, like that scene from Family Guy between Brian and Stewie about him writing that novel – look it up, my story of “writing” is just like that, hehe).
The thing is, what will ultimately get us through this is how we use this time. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to be the one to come up with a vaccine for this thing. I am also not a virologist, economist, or privy to global world order politics and how this whole thing is just a cover set to turn the world into a dystopian Hunger Games nightmare. Frankly, the way I see it, what’s going to happen is going to happen, and there isn’t shit I can do about all that – the wheels are already in motion on this thing, and we are all just along for the ride at this point.
I can, and I will, continue to USE THIS TIME to love my family, help my neighbors, wash my hands, be a decent human, and try and be a safe beacon of support and rest for those who need me. What else can I do but that? Oh, and I just donated blood…
I thought I would have a lot more to say than this, but I guess it came down to it being pretty simple: Life, as we know it, has changed, but surviving this will be a matter of mind over matter I think, for most of us. How we think, and how we react, will be what get us through this, or not. Choose to be positive, present, and a voice of reason through the chaos. Offer love and support, however you can, and allow people the space to process through their fears while keeping eyes on each new day as it comes because we knew even before everything changed, that was still the way we were best to live.
Scary times have come for us now, but hope for each new moment is not lost if you just step back and see the beauty that is still all around us in the simple things. Breath, step outside, recalibrate. Stop the noise, stop the chatter, and just… breath.
It will be okay.
It has always been okay, even in the worst of times; humanity gets through it. This time will be no different.