I’m in a good place as I write this. Normally I’m angsty or crying or fed up and miserable which is what people like to read from me. I share the same mentality in that misery LOVES company, I jump on board to wallow in someone else’s pain too. It makes my life feel better for the moment and I enjoy that camaraderie immensely.
I woke up early this morning, not by choice mind you, my husband felt it important to jolt me awake to tell me that the song birds are migrating and that it’s not raining too much and also that he is reformatting my computer at 6am with the kitchen is blaring CBC radio. I guess he is in long weekend mode so I let him ramble and kiss me good bye as he ran out the door leaving the house whirling in his wake.
I lumbered up but decided to sit with a coffee and write even though I really had nothing to say. Maybe I should write about that? I mean, most people think I am a raging lunatic most of the time, maybe I should write from a place of calm? As I reflected, I noted that calm is a relative term these days isn’t it? We aspire for it, but would we even notice if we achieved it? A moment of calm might be spent on the computer trolling insta, or binging netflix, or my husbands addiction to strange sub-reddits. But is this really a state of relaxation?
Do we even know how to chill out anymore? We have been forced inside, told to relax through this mess but have any of us really been ‘calm’ through it? Have any of us really sat back and thought, cool, I’m going to commit to this imposed restrictive life and soak in the vibes. I’m going to go all hippie and be one with the family, love everyone and sip herbal tea in my jams all day.
Not a fucking chance.
Most are worried about something, or multiple things. Whether it’s working from home, lack of money, fear of the disease, the dreaded home schooling, essential workers are worried about going IN to work, toilet paper, zoom meetings, HOME SCHOOLING, face masks, hand sanitizers, when Homesense is going to open, HOME SCHOOLING. There is so much to dread.
I don’t think I have been calm for any of it, maybe 6%. If I wasn’t in a state of depression, panic, stress, madness, then I was on my phone scrolling twitter, or cursing Facebook posts from people lying about how they are loving this time (they are not actually calm at all), or trying to do my actual work, or finishing the books I have on the go, or writing, or drawing, or cross stitching or managing my daughters slime addiction. I’ve realized as I sit here (still doing something) that calm wouldn’t be a word I am familiar with anymore.
I’ve filled my days with so much ‘doing’ that I’m not sure I would know calm if it came from the earth in the form of a large alien snake and bit me in the ass…yes we recently watched Tremors.
Days blend in, routines are made, broken, made again, tensions rise, then they fall – it’s been an erratic flow chart of ups and downs for 60 or 8000 days – who counts anymore? That calm we seek is shrouded in things we feel we need to be DOING to be calm and chill or ‘taking advantage of the situation’ to be insanely productive.
I used to booze to be calm. It gave me an excuse to sit, have a cocktail (or 20) and talk and laugh and that would be my night. I would sit on my ass for hours not really doing anything but ‘being’. I can’t do that anymore (and I don’t want to) but what have I replaced that with? Some friends shared a beer the other weekend and I sat from a distance very antsy and thinking I should be doing, building my brain, reading, I felt like I couldn’t sit and chill like I used to and that was unsettling.
I feel good today but I’m also still DOING. My brain is constantly running through the days activities: when should I clean the house (because it is in lord of the flies mode), when will I work, when should I post this blog, what will I make for dinner, how will I ever get this oobleck slime smear off my dining table, when I will get to A and then B and then C, D, E? The list continues…
So while we are all doing our best, hanging by a thread, take a moment to think about what the repercussions of this are going to be on our mental health. In 6 months will we have some sort of PTSD from covid? Will we fill the void with retail therapy? Will we crumble in the real world once we can socialize again? Will we function awesomely or will going to an office with real people spiral our mental state into blackness?
I’m not sure I can even be calm, but perhaps mindfulness of the layers of immense stress and it’s effect on our mental health is a baby step in the right direction. We all need to calm our tits and take 5 seconds to stare at those fucking song birds that are coming to town. Enjoy the long weekend friends, you’re doing amazing :)