Sometimes I wonder why I’m struggling. Then I remember that we are seventeen thousand months into a massive global pandemic, with no end in sight. And now there’s a new baby pandemic that is breaking off from the first one, and is a million times worse.
It’s bad. And although we can be grateful that we have our health (or whatever version of health we have), for our homes, our jobs, our children (or whatever version of those things we have), gratitude just isn’t doing it anymore. Now is the winter of our desperate, fathomless pain.
And that’s okay. Or at least it has to be okay enough that we can accept it for what it is. I think the worst thing we can do is to blame ourselves for our struggles. We are all using less-than-awesome strategies to deal with this giant turd-pile. Like eating chocolate. Or playing video games. Or sleeping for most of the day. Or drinking. It’s not great, but it’s what we have. And we have to keep going. We have no other option.
It’s like when Han Solo gets frozen in carbonite; we have been stuck for almost a year with our hands up and our mouths open in a voiceless scream. No one was prepared for this. We’ve had to challenge the endless capitalist growth we’ve been striving toward for decades. We’ve had a global reckoning of the recklessness of our behaviors. And here we are. Still stuck in solid, frozen rock.
Plus it’s winter; my brain is screaming for warmth and sunlight. Yesterday was cloudy and frigid; even though I went for a walk outside, I saw zero sun rays through the mist. Today’s looking the same. And the cold is making my hip hurt. Even with all my blinds pulled back and my full-spectrum lamp on, the darkness envelops my consciousness and my heart is weary.
Little things I used to look forward to: going to the gym and eating a chicken shawarma as I walked home; coffee dates with friends; sending my children out to build snow forts with neighbour kids. Those are all gone now. Even the initial, relentless social media cheerfulness has faded into a dull acceptance. Folks no longer share about how Anne Frank’s family lived in the attic for six million days, or how in WWII, soldiers were gone for seventeen years.
And yes, it is important to remember that other humans have gone through other struggles. And most of are super-privileged compared to the other humans who have had other struggles in the world’s past and present. If you are reading this, you have access to a device and internet, and that is great. But we can still experience pain. We can be lonely, and feel hopeless. And we feel helpless. And tired.
The heaviness is bearing down on us. At this point, we’ve got to let it.
Featured image was created by the author using elements from canva.com.