Hey. Who wants to read about someone else's pandemic trauma?
Yeah, baby. I know what you want to.
Grab a bottle of water, buckle up and here we go.
You would think that in a time of social media, instant email, text messaging, the countless chat platforms in text and audio and in video formats, and good ol' fashion phone callin' that there would be ample ways of battling loneliness. You would expect that co-habitating in a townhouse with the person you married would be enough conversation stimulation to scratch the social itch. House pets can't carry on a conversation for shit, but at least they don't argue with you.
But we isolated ourselves for the sake of health, community love
I know that you cant navigate the internet for 5 minutes without a "IS TECHNOLOGY MAKING US ANTI SOCIAL" think piece either by a journalist starving for any content or an artist who refuses to watch television because that's what deep people do.
What I intensely felt as "I'm a bad communicator. A bad fiend." is really more "I've nothing to talk about other than complaining, frustrations, and soul crushing fear. There is nothing positive about anything and yet I've become exhausted over talking about how monumentally fucked everything seems."
Seriously. What the hell is there to talk about?
Politics are maddening and depressing. Religion gives no comfort when the entire world is deathly ill. We named the virus so that it sounds like we are complaining about that great aunt who always gets sloppy at family gatherings and I am honestly tired talking about her. I don't follow celebrity news. I don't even follow local news. I get my news from outraged retweets regarding poorly written headlines. I'm not that comfortable talking about how mind meltingly terrific my sex life is. All I have to talk about is how much I enjoy rage-playing Fallout 76 and my therapy sessions.
I don't want that to be all I know. I don't want to tell my friends "HEY WHO WANTS TO KNOW WHAT THIS BITCH TALKED ABOUT IN A SOBBING SESSION LAST WEEK?"
It's all that I have to talk about. It's the only news that I have.
I don't have a job so that excludes me from that "fuck work and here's why" conversations. And when all someone has to talk about is how much works completely sucks rotten eggs, that gets cumbersome. I feel awful to report that I've gotten so weary folks complaining about their jobs. Of course I care about my friends and totally empathize, but I'm exhausted form bad news. I'm exhausted that there is nothing to look forward to. "I look forward to things going back to normal" I love that you think that's possible. What an amazingly ignorant air of positivity.
Like die-hard sports fans, people are hanging onto whatever the hell "normal" was and want it back so badly that they will defy all logic to make it happen for themselves.
My professional connections dissolved when the pandemic hit.
Conventions were cancelled. My god…my entire identity was wrapped up in these conventions.
My entire identity dissolved/evaporated into a fine mountain mist of regret.
Every pair of shoes, every shirt, tank top, bra, pair pants with a million pockets, and even jewelry was bought with a convention in mind. Every traveling toiletry, nifty storage bag, large capacity water bottle,
I had that breakthrough on my own one afternoon…and had to deal with it alone. Everyone is at work. Everyone is far away. Even with Chris in his office downstairs, I was utterly alone in this self discovery. It tore through my soul like a kitten through tissue paper. It still hurts and I still feel like I don't have anyone to talk to about this.
I worked so hard. I fought. I pleaded. I dug in like a wood tick. I held on like a rodeo. I wrapped my hand around that rope and wouldn't let go no matter how hard that horse bucked
But that horse is…I dunno…dead? Retired? Either or, it's gone. Or it's changed. Or it refuses to change. Maybe conventions are now that creepy old guy who won't shut the fuck up about what a big shot they were in high school but they're 60 and never took good care of themselves.
My friend Garrett died in August while on a ventilator. It still hurts to type this. It will never stop hurting. We flew into a panic - was he vaccinated and how do you tastefully ask his devastated family? I mean...I didn't want to know if he was vaxxed for kicks or to be judgmentalbut as someone who believes in vaccines, I needed to know if he died even after receiving the shot. I never asked. I couldn't. We logged onto a funeral...we watched our screens as friends and family told hilarious stories...but we didn't get to participate in the celebration of life...we were states away watching a funeral on Youtube...and then we just closed the tab...the funeral was over. Punch and cookies in the fellowship hall...but we were at home...mourning alone...from a thousand miles away.
Recently, I was officially diagnosed with depression.
This was great news!
Why on Earth would this be great news?
Well, it was the most validating news ever. Everything I had been feeling for the last 20 years was VALID. The trauma I faced in college was VALID. Feeling like shit for no reason was VALID. This whole thing had a name - DEPRESSION - and now I seek out better ways to vanquish it.
So far, the journey has been weird. Therapy tears down all of your previous defenses. Hey...those defenses needed to come down. They weren't working. They didn't help. They stopped you from doing things.
But now they are all down...and it's like walking around naked.
I've legit cried over spilt milk. Having no defenses makes you hyper reactionary. It's ANNOYING and exhausting.
But it needed to happen and there is freedom in it.
This brings me back around to losing my entire identity. I'm hoping that this diagnosis will help me move forward...to find myself...to find the person that I want to be...the person I was in my more creatively empowering spaces.
Here's to healing. It's going to be a long road...not like it hasn't been up to this point...but we're still traveling.
I got myself a Skillshare subscription.
The urge to learn new things is strong. With the pandemic making me feel intense levels of stagnation and loneliness, I had to do something structured. Skillshare has the kind of structure I need. Sure, youtube is free but i need that bullet pointed lesson plan and sequential format to focus.
So far, I like what I've seen. I've been hitting the self care channels hard. As a white middle aged woman, I think this is a right of passage. I worked at enough Hallmark franchises and stocked enough LIVE LAUGH LOVE horseshit to know that this where I was heading.
All jokes aside, it really has been valuable. It's not LIVE LAUGH LOVE. It's learning how to do those things for yourself before you start painting it on cheap ceramic mugs.
When I was in Sunday School, they taught us how to memorize and recite a prayer.
We didn't know what the hell this prayer meant, but we were apparently good children when we recited this prayer. We never knew if God hears this prayer or what the prayer meant or that God loves the tedium of mindless ritual...
It was the same with the Pledge of Allegiance. We were taught the words but had no idea what it all meant. How do you pledge or pray with no meaning behind it? That's what an old plank repurposed into a colonialized slogan about self esteem is. It's just words with no meaning made to give the illusion of feeling good about yourself. And we are so desperate to feel good...to feel like we are worth it...to feel like we are valid...that we fall for it if we have the money in-hand to buy it. I'm not saying that everyone who buys a water bottle or shirt or bumper sticker with "Keep Moving Forward" on it are missing the point or not truly giving themselves self care. I am saying that th words are hallow if you don't really know what FORWARD is for you.
These self care classes give meaning. It's not all bubble baths, retail therapy, and wine. It's about internal care. Mental care. Emotional care. Mindful care. It couples nicely with therapy. It makes me think and plan. It's structured but there's no "one true way" to do this. I appreciate that.
I'm looking forward to delving into the art classes. I might even take the classes that I feel don't apply to me...like iPhone Photography. I don't have an iPhone but I bet I can get some useful information regarding digital photography out of it!
Skillshare has also helped me develop new habits and news ways to focus. My goals are different and I feel like I'm prospering in something.
I lost so much in the last 2 years - my community, my "job", my identity, some friends, some family, and professional opportunities. Skillshare is helping me gain something back.
This is not a paid endorsement by any stretch. If you are interested in signing up with Skillshare, you can use this link: https://skl.sh/3kpDpgJ <3