When I wake up at 3:00 am nowadays, which isn’t necessarily a new thing, it’s as though I can feel all of the others who are awake with me. Our restless sleep-addled minds negotiating panicked thoughts, now-rational fears, and worries, so many worries. Trying to comprehend the unknown we are all swimming in. Trying to settle into liminality, the in-between space that follows one thing but precedes the next.
Generalized mild anxiety a constant companion, not just in the middle of the night but also in the morning before coffee. And after coffee (is the caffeine making me more anxious?), after lunch (how many English muffins is too many?), after a walk (did I keep enough distance when that jogger ran by?), after a shower, after changing from my black leggings into my grey ones, so as not to feel like a complete sloth in this bizarre new normal.
I’ve been keeping a strange kind of diary on my phone, little notes about what happened each day, including the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases (170) and COVID-19 deaths (1) in my city. Watching the progression here as I track the pandemic everywhere else.
Questions we ask each other now:
How is home schooling going? (My son prefers his real teacher, and misses learning and playing with his friends. I never once before contemplated home schooling my children. Today’s learning consisted only of watching silly Smithsonian Museum of Natural History videos on YouTube with my seven-year-old. Teachers are amazing humans.)
How many Zoom birthday celebrations have you been part of so far? (Three. I wonder if we’ll still be having birthdays over Zoom in a few months when it’s mine.)
What is one of the hardest things? (Guilt. That an autoimmune condition keeps me from being able to even go grocery shopping for my family. That I am safe in a comfortable home while there are people living on the street or in shelters, incarcerated, in ICE detention, unsafe living with their abusers, unsure where their next meal will come from, out in the world fighting for lives in hospitals, picking our food, packaging and delivering the things we need, stocking our shelves, picking up our trash, driving our buses and subways… Guilt that sitting here with my computer on my lap is the most helpful thing I can do for the world right now. I know that even this guilt is a privileged emotion, and completely unproductive, but I’m human, so it’s there.)
We are all so deeply and intricately interconnected, one shared humanity.
What has been an unexpected blessing? (Family dinners happen almost every evening now. And I love the dozens of supportive text threads I have going with my people across the country and around the world, the opportunity to send them love when I’m thinking about them, which is a lot. Also, the beauty of spring, which is unhindered by all this.)
How are you doing? (As well as can be expected under the circumstances. Moments of anxious intertwined with strange moments of zen. Thankful for a zillion comforts. Scared for my father who lives in a nursing home across the country; grateful for the amazing humans who care for him. Heartbroken for our world. Inspired by the goodness of humans.)
How about you? How are you doing?