Tonight makes three weeks since I’ve seen anyone I know in real life other than Victor and Hailey. I’m not alone in this. My sister is still relegated to her bedroom after close to two weeks (she’s doing so much better though, thank God) so compared to her I’m lucky. And compared to the people who have no choice but to expose themselves to help others or themselves she’s lucky. But knowing that others are suffering more doesn’t really make it easier for anyone.
I see so many people struggling with working from home and trying to suddenly homeschool their kids and I see other people who have their shit together and are giving advice about how to get through this like a badass but here’s the honest truth: I work from home. So does Victor. Hailey goes to online high school. I am near reclusive at times. But even for us? This shit is hard. It’s hard to concentrate. It’s hard to prioritize. It’s hard to finish deadlines and not feel stressed out and have cabin fever and feel like you don’t know what the shit you are doing while everyone else seems to be doing 10 zoom meetings a day and creating a home gym and learning three new languages while doing perfect yoga and making homemade jam.
But I suspect that most of us are just getting by…just watching this slow-moving crisis and surviving and trying to make the right decisions even when it’s hard as hell. We get mad at others who are not doing their part. We get mad when others aren’t aware of what we’re going through. We break apart and cry and worry about so many things at once that eventually we just freeze up and refresh the internet a million times and yell at people we love because we’re worried about them and can’t keep them safe and feel helpless.
I know it’s not like this for everyone. Some people have it easier or care less. Some people have it harder and feel desperate. But I think a lot of us are stuck right here…in that still but strange paralysis…waiting for it to get better…waiting for it to get worse. Waiting for it to be over somehow.
I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know this. We will do our best. We will falter. We will struggle. We will help others and be helped ourselves. We will become stronger together by surviving this. We will deal with the damage and mourn people and places and events and moments that we took for granted would arrive but won’t. We will emerge with new stories and new memories and new tools and very different perspectives…and there is the potential for so much good. I see family members and friend who struggle, but still push forward. I see people I love make terrible sacrifices to care for strangers and each other. I see strangers become heroes. I see assholes, yes, but frankly if we’re being honest, most of those people were assholes before. But mostly I see us. We fight in strange ways and we hope and we reach out and we try to help. We grow. We make mistakes. We learn. We remind ourselves that we don’t know everyone’s story and try not to judge. We hold the people we do know accountable even if it’s awkward. We survive the day, and even when it’s just binge-watching tv all day with the cat that can be a victory. This time is painful, I know. But don’t short-change your victories and actions in this fight. If you can find small ways to make this experience life-changing or rewarding you totally should. But if you can’t, THAT IS TOTALLY FINE TOO.
Remember that you are not alone. Even when you feel it. The quiet of the streets and the closing of the doors is a sign that people care. It is a huge and incredibly quiet revolution of sorts…of people stopping the world to protect others. Who would have ever thought so many people around the globe could work together to protect the most vulnerable amongst us? And as painful as it is to live through it, I’m glad to be able to witness it.
I hope you are too.
I am sending you love tonight. And I know maybe you can’t feel it but I’m there. We all are. You can hear us in the silence and see us in the twinkling window lights at midnight. We’re here.