Hey. You okay? It’s okay if you’re not. It’s understandable and totally relatable if you’re not okay. I don’t know a single person right now who is doing well. My overseas readers, please check on your American friends, we are not okay.
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written anything here, and in that time things have gone from bad to worse and appear to be on a one-way greased path to unimaginable horror. We were nearly spectators to live-streamed mass assassinations this week, and there are still ten days to go to the Inauguration. I watched on Wednesday and yet it still hasn’t completely sunk in just how horrific it was or could have been. Wait, let me rephrase that. My mind hasn’t yet let it sink in, but by god I sure as hell feel it in my body.
My nerves are frayed to feathery wisps, and only by the strength of pure will am I not screaming nonstop. I am employing nearly every self-care tool in my toolbox and it’s just barely keeping me this side of snapping. Keeping my shit together is exhausting. And the thing that hits hard? I’m not suffering nearly as much as many others. So on top of it all I feel guilty for being this strung out, like I really shouldn’t be feeling this way, because it could totally be worse, and I should hang onto my strength for when it really gets bad for me. My adult-onset child-induced ADHD attention span of a goldfish has descended to the attention span of a fart: poof, and it’s gone.
A couple weeks ago (which I think might have been another lifetime) Tom and I went for a walk in the forest preserves nearby. There were great swaths of open space that had undergone a controlled burn, getting quite close to some homes in places. The burned areas were black and damp, dormant for the winter. I know that when spring comes the burned areas will leap to life, stronger from the burning, and I look forward to that time. We’re in the fire now, but it’s far from controlled and our metaphorical homes may not survive the blaze. Global pandemic, dangerous political and societal upheaval, a looming mental health crisis from both of those, and god knows there’s hella more going on beyond those. I don’t even think the fire has reached full conflagration yet. Regrowth after such a blaze will be so painful, and so beautiful.
I urge you to wrap yourself up in the strongest self-care tools you have right now. Self-care, not self-indulgence. Care for yourself as you might care for a scared child. Because right now we’re all scared children, our lives are on fire, and the boogeyman is real.
Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay one trombone’s length away, and be well.