I don’t know how many times I’ve said this since March, but in my lifetime, this is the weirdest time we’re all living right now. And while I’m learning a lot about myself, and about humanity as a whole through this pandemic, it doesn’t mean that things aren’t really hard in the meantime. For me, for you that’s reading this right now, for everyone. I know that in my heart.
To this point, I’ve done everything I can to remain strong. To be the rock I’ve always been, and remain in self-preservation mode. It’s just what I’ve always done. The last few days, though, have been particularly difficult for me. With the new restrictions for the province coming into play, and Christmas quickly approaching, it’s hard to say how this is going to play out. What I would have rather seen happen right now, is a total lockdown for a few weeks rather than tightening of restrictions. And maybe that way, in a few weeks time maybe we could have flattened the curve enough that the holidays could be less restricted. But, the economy! Never mind the fact that if things keep going the way that they are, we won’t have any people left to run an economy. But, what do I know?
Yesterday I had a chat with my cousin who is an emergency room nurse at the children’s hospital in Calgary. I’d been thinking about her a lot, and I just wanted to check in on her. Because for as frustrated as I am with how things are right now, I knew that it was going to be exponentially worse for her. And in a way, I almost didn’t want to know. But I couldn’t stand it anymore, and it had been a while since I’d talked to her, so I sent her a message. She got back to me right away. She told me that for the most part, she’s doing alright. And I was happy to hear that. But I needed to know, to really know what she was thinking. She’s been a nurse for quite a while now, and she put it to me like this: through her career, she’s come to realize that with anything like this, there’s going to be a portion of the population that’s going to resist. And there just isn’t anything she can do about that. She’s come to accept it. She also added that “you can’t fix stupid”, God love her. She’s seeing and hearing first hand, how this is truly affecting us. As Albertans. As people. Not as dollar signs.
So I guess it turns out that I’m less a rock, and more like…say, a Smartie. Candy shell, hard on the outside, yet something that can crumble or melt on the inside when the heat rises. I understand that it only makes me human, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, either. A better analogy I might use, is a duck. You see it out on a lake, on the surface of the water. Seems calm, at peace with what it’s doing, swimming along. But below the depths, it’s kicking like mad to keep afloat. And I’m reminded of how little I used to talk about these things, partially because of a stigma. But also because I put others before me more often than not, and I actually prefer it that way. That in itself is something that’s two-fold. It’s because I care so much about the people around me, that’s A. And 2, because sometimes it’s just easier to worry about what’s going on with everyone else, and ignore what’s really going on with me, because I just don’t want to deal with it, or plain and simple-I’m not ready to.
I remember having a conversation with my cousin’s wife about 9 or 10 years ago. The duck analogy is just a great example of how good I am at doing what I do. She’s been with my cousin a long time, since he and I were about 21 or 22, I think. And we were talking about someone else in the family, I won’t name names. But about the issues that they have with anxiety and depression, etc. And I was talking about how I have the same issues, it’s just that they manifest differently within me than they do in them. And as I’m talking, there was a look of what I can only describe as pure and total shock on her face. And for a second, I kind of smiled and just said “What?” And she looked at me for a few more seconds, and she said something along the lines of “Of all the people I know, you’re one of the ones I thought had it the most together.” And honestly? In some ways, I probably do. It was then, at that point in my life, that I really started to realize that people only show you what they really want you to see, myself included. It was also then, that I started talking more about mental health issues.
That’s not to say that people are generally lying about who they are. I’m not. I suppose I can’t speak for everyone in that regard, but I do know that I keep a lot to myself, more because I just don’t want my people to worry. Regardless of what I’m going through, I do have the overall feeling that somehow I will be alright. Whatever that might mean for me. For the next person, though, it may not be that simple. I do try to put myself in other people’s shoes when I look at an issue, any issue. And something I’ve come to learn, is that is a trait that not everyone possesses. To be brutally honest, I find that really fucking frustrating sometimes. Especially at a time like this, when we’re dealing with a contagious pandemic, where there’s people who want to talk about liberties and freedoms and rights…I’m sorry. Are you kidding me? No, really. Are you kidding me?
I have a really hard time with this. That just isn’t what this is about, at all. How privileged are you, that this is the hill you want to die on? Maybe literally. If you think having to wear a mask is oppression, I hate to rain on your freedom parade, but it’s so far from it, it’s not even funny. We need to save lives, and keep more people from getting sick. That’s it, and that’s all. This is one issue that’s not up for debate as far as I’m concerned. We all have people that we want to protect, period. And that’s putting myself in other’s shoes, because I want everyone to come out of this alive.
As this crazy year comes closer to a close, all I want is for people to be safe and healthy. I want for my people to be safe. And I know that the measures we have to keep taking to do that mean that things are going to remain difficult for a while. I’m going to try hard to stay the course, and keep hanging in, hard as it may be. I still know I’m not alone, and that we’re all in this together. If we’re going to get through this, we have to hold tight to those that we love, and remember the things that we have that are good. That said, wear your masks, keep your distance, and wash your hands. Much love, my friends! Until next time. XOXO