In the silence, in the stopping, we hear different things. Bird chirps are louder, the diffuser’s gurgle a little more audible, the relative stillness of the traffic. It’s nice. This quiet also reveals new spaces inside ourselves, those soft spots that stretch open to welcome greater expanses of time and energy.
What will we do with these gifts? What have you been doing?
These questions dominate media stories about life inside the pandemic. Like any cataclysmic event, there are winners and losers on all sides. Governments are buying out airlines and oil industries, while promising that no one will be evicted if they can’t pay rent. Safety nets do exist amid conservative rule, but only in times of unprecedented crisis do we care about everyone.
A meme depicts an evil-looking girl (“covid-19”) and a fire burning (“capitalism”) in the background. Is that what’s happening? I get a salaried wage and work in a now-virtual environment, so it is easy for me to stay [thefuck] home. But those who sell cigarettes, package our colossal online orders, and tend to the sick are still clocking in. What if they didn’t?
Dolphins return to clearer canals in Venice and the smog is lifting in Krakow. This is good, so are the endless tips- some bougie and some practical- about taking care of ourselves. A new strain of selfhood is emerging that contravenes the dogged individualism most Westerners associate with being a good, contributing member of society.
Some societies are now composed of one member, who is charged with caring for herself in ways that aren’t necessarily about output or personal achievements. How does the woman do this? I’m used to being alone so I’m not doing too bad. In fact, I’m basking in a ‘laziness’ that I normally never allow myself.
But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.
Every other day I quietly walk to the nearby grocer and stock up on dried beans, tahini, chocolate, fresh ginger, and cat food. I wonder what exactly I should save and what might become scarcer in the future. Every decision about everything is charged with uncertainty. When will we use the last condom? When will I see my stylist again?
I just cried after typing, “I’m lonely” to a friend.
No one knows what will happen. We are working hard to be kind to ourselves and one another, and I wonder how long it will last. In the image for this blog, the girl is blinded and tears trickle from her right eye. She is held together by leafless sticks and a buoyant white tunic. I find comfort in her surrealness, and the small creature that flutters on her heartbranch.
I hope we can find comfort in one another, and I hope you will reach out if you’re feeling lonely, too.