I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know quite how to rejig my brain to accept some stuff and get on with things right now. First off I am perfectly and completely aware that I am lucky, fortunate, blessed, all that good stuff. Yes, honestly. No there is no but. I know the first reaction of many people to seeing someone express a negative emotion is, basically, “oh FFS, look at how good you have it.” Yes I know. I know that a litany of “huh, try it with x, or y, or z” also tends to pop into people’s heads even if usually that’s probably more an indication that they probably need to get x and y and z at least sorted enough in their own heads to make their peace with it. I know this because I am aware of the undercurrent of it that I consciously have to mould around the aperture I view the world through too. Can we take all this as a given?
This can all be true, this good fortune and gratitude and thankfulness and so on, while at the same time a persistent pouty part of my brain registers that actually, on a level that is causing issues, things suck. I will not bore you with the details of the suckage generally, multi-stranded treatises about, basically, a pile of one individual’s whines do not make for any sort of interesting reading. So what am I here to say? I suppose I want to register that people need to be kinder than we tend to be. We all have a tendency to look at others and decide that their problems shouldn’t be causing them the issues that they are. We assume because someone is telling a sad or bad story about something somewhat down on the scale from trauma that they are inviting us to weigh that story on some sort of merit scale. But people, usually, just want to be seen and heard. In this era of isolation people who may have turned to a loved one for a hug to help shrug off bad feelings may be voicing their various mental aches and pains in group online forums.
This hierarchy of things annoys me. “I am feeling blue because my loved ones are far away and I’m really feeling it right now” does not HAVE to invite a “oh bit we’re all in the same boat and nobody’s having a good time right now” or “at least you have x going on, think about all the people completely on their own” or “it’s only a couple of weeks, some people have been doing this for 15 years” or whatever.. Even in ourselves we start justifying that the reasons we’re allowed to indulge feeling crap are because <insert special case here>.
I, yes me, this idiot, is utterly aware the universe doesn’t have it in for her and has made it her business to live her life without thinking she is owed anything in particular just for being alive. I am happy with being alive, it is a marvelous thing, most of the time at least. I am resilient and patient, good tempered and philosophical, stoic even. I have done this constantly keeping myself going and being all those things for some time, it is the foundation of my everyday life and I haven’t forgotten how to be these things and these things all do, 100%, predict that things will move on as time passes and I will keep on keeping on, and all that useful stuff. I am not a stupid person. I pay attention and try to learn lessons.
But I’m still sad, really sad. I know exactly why I am sad and it strangely goes against exactly what I said before. It feels unfair, but who am I railing against? It’s not like circumstances conspired against me, it’s just dumb luck, history doing its thang, precisely as it has always done. I still can’t stick a stopper in the actual well of sadness, of lost opportunity. I can be as damn practical and stiff upper lipped/gratitude aware/distraction-y with other things as anyone can care for me to be but there is still a very fierce and quite horrible feeling of loss. The world will go back to ‘normal’ in it’s time and some of the opportunities that were penciled in for this time will be swept away with the reset.
We are all, at heart, simple creatures, driven by a lot of needs that get variously met or frustrated at various point in linear time. Where we are charted at any one point seems like a simple dot on a line, but there are all sorts of dragging, doppler rings looping back into our timelines. My cousins had a ring toss board with sturdy hooks and these heavy black rubber rings, I’m picturing some of them stretched back though time, with various thicknesses of other, coloured elastic bands all stretched and curled and twisted back, but knotted at the “where you are stand now” point. We tend to assume our simple points are all we have to deal with when we talk to each other, forgetting that these knotted lumps are part of each of us too, and they all look different, stress differently and twang for different reasons.
Most of the time when someone puts their head up and says “I am not fine” they just want to be seen, heard, just want someone to go “I know, and I see you” in appropriate sort of language to fit the problem. The person doesn’t need to be told they’re lucky and fortunate and everything is great all the time, sometimes they just need to hear that yes, it sucks just right this moment, we appreciate you’re having a reaction to that and that’s okay. Of course now my head supplies all sorts of ways this gets out of hand too, if allowed, but seriously brain, shut up, you’re missing the point. There is no simple answer to why a person feels the way they do in response to all this covid weirdness, to take that just as an example – at any point there are all sorts of external factors we all get to have to roll with and get on with.
So yes. I am getting on with things. But no, I am not having a great time.
But have a pretty picture of the world making street life nicer anyway.