Pun intended. That’s what I am, Shell ‘shocked’. I’ve arrived at the thought that this year has been like being in a War, that’s what it is. The year 2020 has felt like we are living through a modern war. For most of us though, we aren’t on the ‘front lines’ of the fighting. We are at home waiting. I keep thinking about WW2 and my family’s experience of waiting for months for word about my dad who had been shot down, only to find out he was in a German POW camp.
We are similarly stunned, bewildered, and indefinitely ‘on hold.’ Sure, we go through the daily motions. We try and maintain the banner of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ There are signs and signals all around us that there are very scary events happening right outside our doors.
This isn’t news to any of you. The pandemic is omnipresent. The political division is more than extreme. Instead of blackout curtains on our windows, we are covering our faces and sometimes, identities in protective masks. There has been toilet paper ‘rationing’, protesting in the streets, and superspreader events. The storms and hurricanes are relentless. There were fires literally on either side of me.
Sure we adapt to our surroundings, it’s what we humans do. We Zoom. Watch endless television: Netlix, old movies, and mindless game shows. We read books, mostly on tablets since the libraries are closed — I’m average one every two days! We joke about eating our feelings – personally, I’m figuring keeping the weight gain to about a pound a month is acceptable, right?
Additionally, there are people who are getting all sorts of things done — good for them!
But what about those of us that feel that it’s all out of kilter?
We try to name the problem.
- It’s like Groundhog’s Day, we live the same kind of day over and over again
- How about the 1946 Film Noir classic ‘The Lost Weekend’ — The movie follows the desperate life of a chronic alcoholic over a four-day binge
- Maybe we somehow fell into an alternative Universe?
- According to one particularly crazed individual, it’s China’s fault
Naming the problem always seems like a good place to start. ‘You can’t fix/change what you don’t acknowledge’…right?
Bottom line: this whole year was challenging from the start, AND then the arrival of Covid added insult to injury!
Personally, I’ve found myself making odd mistakes. I’m perpetually and most easily distracted. Time is a disfigured and deceitful thing. Did I see that movie on Netflix yesterday or last week? It’s all kinda one big blur. And what happened to summer? We usually have a summer — I just seemed to have missed it.
I suppose I could have dementia setting in — and I think it’s more likely something like a combo of Situational Dementia compounded by Situational Depression. Situational is the keyword here. It’s not my biology, or actions that have created this. I’m reacting to the circumstances —and so are you!
My goal here is not to be a Debby Downer. I’m just wanting to give a bit of recognition to how hard this is. Please, let us all understand, deep down, that this too will pass — eventually. Things will change. You can honor your grief — yes, grief! There is grief all around us just as if we were the citizens trying to get by on the home front while our soldiers are fighting a war for us.
Another thing that has struck me in this comparison to WW2 is this sneaky bit of survivor guilt that I sometimes feel. ‘Who am I to complain about not visiting my people, or being able to go to a restaurant?’ I want to hold an understanding place for all of us, myself included! It’s hard for us to actually talk about the fear, grief, and uproar in our lives, so instead, we bemoan not being able to go to the gym or get our hair cut.
Let’s call 2020 the Onion Year…meaning we peel a layer and cry. Then, you go find something to make you laugh on Netflix.
Our true task is to get through this pandemic while retaining as much kindness, understanding, and care for ourselves and others as possible.
We don’t have to be in the emotion of this all of the time to honor it…however, we do need to see the dark side to get through it to the light. Please know that others also see it and are working our way through too.
Shell Tain, The Untangler