Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is day 6,752 of quarantine, right? I think I’ve cycled through every emotion I know. Trapped, restless, sad, optimistic, helpless, happy, tired, and today I’ve been mad. Mad that the life I knew, that we all knew, stopped on a dime. Mad that this “new” normal will become an actual normal. Mad that I can’t run when and where I want to. And, mad that no matter how much I preoccupy myself with guitars, darts, teeth whitening, coloring books, half ass baking, bean bag toss, fancy bra buying, grocery delivery, cocktail making, and the countless others bright ideas I have, I’m still stuck with myself and all of, and I mean all of, the thoughts.
I joke frequently that I’ve been practicing for this level of isolation for years. I’m actually pretty good at it-until I’m not. My life feels overly simplified yet “extra” and somewhat complicated. I have mastered the art of wasting my own time and I have a mental schedule of which couch cushion to sit on so they get the same amount of wear. With the exception of a few bumps of bass in my speakers or some ill timed strums on my guitar, my world is largely quiet. I catch myself playing out every fear I have in all that silence and some nights I can’t get to sleep fast enough so I can mark another day as done on the calendar.
I appreciate certain types of silence. I enjoy being able to sit next to someone and be 100% comfortable with saying nothing. There’s nothing awkward about it and there’s some type of relief in being able to simply exist with another human. On the converse, the silence between two people who are pushing and pulling communication out of sync is deafening. What’s not said can ring louder than standing in a bell tower at the top of the hour. It’s in those moments that we try to stay ahead of anticipated pain, while blindly swinging, because if we beat someone to the punch, we can’t get hurt. Miscommunication or missed communication- I’m not sure there’s a real difference. They’re both killers of friendships, situationships, and relationships and, it takes a lot of fucking courage to see past egos, hurt feelings, and insecurities to have the conversations that need to be had. Most should; most won’t.
Before we entered this cocoon of isolation, when the world was bustling around us, there were so many distractions that we could tie our feelings and emotions to. Take away the noise, take away the comforting image of ourselves we find in other people, and take away the deflection from our inner voice….what’s left, is the sound of our own heart beat. It’s the truest rhythm you’ll ever hear…it’s all you, it’s all yours. That sound reminds you that the only persons that can give you security and the life you want is you. It reminds you that you belong to yourself before you belong to anyone else. And, it turns the misplaced notion that the person who loves the least has the power in a relationship. The person you should love most, is yourself. You should think about and love yourself in such a way that it’s an examples for others to follow.
So, in the midst of all the calamity and all the uncertainty that surrounds us, there are a few things that I’ll take away from it all.
- Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to shed tears that clear your vision. Things may not always feel better in those moments but, being able to see that you’re not “stuck” with your current mind set or situation is freeing.
- You can’t be who you need for yourself, let alone anyone else, with empty buckets. Just because you’re not out there grinding away in the world outside your own 4 walls, doesn’t mean that solitude doesn’t takes as much out of you. Call, text, video chat….what ever that looks like for you, do it! Surround yourself with those that reciprocate and need you in their own way. Nobody has time for slippery, unauthentic people. You know who will and who won’t be there for you when you need them.
- It’s ok to grieve during times like this. Grief isn’t reserved for death. Grief is about any kind of loss and it feels a lot like fear and loneliness. All three of those things can easily describe the times and situations we’re living through with a pandemic swirling in the air. Grief is a place we journey through, many times over the course of our life, and it can be a point of transitions. Just remember, grief isn’t something that can be put in a box, it can’t be measured, it’s one of the most intense human emotions you can feel.
- Self love is more than a fuzzy robe, a Netflix binge, and if you’re me a pint of almond milk ice cream. Self love is the realization that you are deserving of all the happiness you can create and that you are worthy of all the forgiveness and grace you so easily give to others. It’s having the courage to say you can call me anything, just don’t call me yours until I accept that my crooked glasses, 15 extra pounds, and the way I snort when I laugh is just as worthy of love as the version I’m waiting to become so I can receive all the good stuff in life.
I hope that I’ll learn the sound of my own heart beat so one day I can hear the way it beats in time with someone else’s and know that they were meant for me. I hope that I don’t lose sight of what I have to offer the world as I fight the internal battle of sharing too much and wilting under the pressure of my own thoughts. And, I think I’ll take the little bit of anger that’s lingering around my head tonight and replace it with the intention of creating my own happiness in the middle of the silence, uncertainty, and self induced confusion.