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This might not be the upbeat take you're looking for. My sincere apologies.
I started writing something with a more positive outlook, but after putting my son to bed, I’ve decided to change course. Because this sucks. All of it.
I was just playing my two year-old a video on my phone from an old Raffi concert. Kids are seated in the theatre, joyfully singing along to Baby Beluga and Baa Baa Black Sheep, clapping their hands. They’re so happy.
Do you know how I know they’re happy? Because they’re smiling. Do you know how I know they’re smiling? Because their smiles are in plain sight.
They’re not wearing masks.
I watched their sweet little mask-less faces humming along, their parents next to them, not worried about airborne disease and social distancing and risking their kids’ health for an hour of entertainment. I watched them and I irrationally felt anger towards all of them—these innocent people of the past and their good dumb luck at simply existing in a non-pandemic world.
From everyone I’ve spoken to, and everything I’ve read, it seems like we’ve all hit a new low the past week. We felt hopeful and then that hope was stolen from us (along with the ability to test our kids for Covid). Schools closed again. Restaurants closed again. Everyone either was sick, or is sick, or is likely about to be sick.
We feel defeated.
The logical side of our brains whispers: This is all temporary and we’ve made great progress and this isn’t the same as the last time.
The traumatized side of our brains shouts: This is never going to end.
We had planned a Hanukkah party, a play-date, and a couple outings with our kids over the holidays.
All of it got cancelled. We stayed home—again—with nothing to do and nowhere to go.
I’m tired of playing outside in the cold. The novelty has long worn off.
I miss seeing people’s faces. I miss going places.
I miss my life.
Parents (mostly mothers) are again choosing between career and kids, as if there’s even a choice to be made. Kids miss their friends. We miss our friends. We are all suffering and we’re past our breaking point. We’re broken.
And there is good news. If you pay attention, there’s actually a lot of good news. Maybe this will all be over soon! Maybe we’ve reached the final act. Time will tell.
But for now, while we’re in it, it feels impossibly hard to keep pushing through. To keep existing in this mad world.
I’m so bored of it all. I’m tired of searching for masks and rapid tests. I’m tired of researching statistics and learning about new variants. I’m tired of thinking and talking and writing about all of it.
I’m so tired.
We’ll be okay. I know we will be okay. One way or another, we’ll make it to the other side of this. There is that hope to cling to. We are scared and brave and we’ll keep going because there’s simply no other choice. No one said being a human would be easy.
But no one said it would be this hard, either.
If your cup is feeling more half-empty than half-full, I think that’s okay. I think that just means you’re alive. Sometimes we need to wallow, and this seems like a perfect point in time to do so. I will join you in your pity party and you can join me in mine.
Maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe it won’t—but I really hope it is. There is so much to look forward to.
Hang in there.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
from New Collected Poems (Counterpoint, 2012)
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Stray Thoughts 💭
I just finished streaming season 2 of Emily in Paris and thank god for Netflix and the mindless distraction of silly TV shows throughout all of this
If you're in a sucky state too, click the heart button at the top or leave me a comment because misery loves company, particularly during a pandemic