Today I woke at 4am, no longer able to escape the endless stream of worries invading my brain. In the bathroom, I glanced at the inspo quote on my shelf and quickly threw up an Instagram story, “Either U Run the Day or the Day Runs You.” No one needed to know that at 4:45 the day was already running me. Through the IG filter, it would just naturally be assumed that I was a goal digger, a bad-ass bitch running the long game. Yaaaasssss Queen. I already was dreading/laughing at the explosion of heart eyes coming my way.
I turned to my Calm app and settled on a meditation around strengthening the relationship with self, which is steeped in irony because five months into this pandemic, I’m more than a little sick of my relationship with me. But I digress. I’m cross-legged on the floor, trying to be in the moment, when the guide, trying to ground me in the meditation, says, “feel the gentle pull of gravity”, and I audibly snort. “More like the crushing weight of gravity”, I think.
Five months into this pandemic, the creep of negativity is not just hard to hold back some days, it’s impossible.
When this pandemic hit, I was already two years into a divorce process with a party using the classic “screw-you” playbook passed around at bar rails the world over. Even if you’ve never been through it, you know the chapters; delay, feign ignorance, dismiss court orders, self-represent, increase the other person’s lawyers bills by doing document dumps with missing information, don’t disclose, rinse, repeat. Tale as old as time, true as it can be……
Stress was already my constant companion when COVID struck, I even joked that I had been in training for this moment. Then a quarantine, a grinding halt to the economy, and a world spinning off its axis came into play and none, not even one of the “everyday” stressors in life disappeared, just my sense of humour. There was no cosmic tit for tat tradesies in this new world, just compounding pressure. Which brings me to this morning.
I’m not sure if it’s the slow, steady darkness creeping into each day that will inevitably make the long nights even more intolerable or the innate understanding that this pandemic is still in its infancy, but as we head into the second half of 2020 I’m feeling the tug of despondency, and anger, a lot of anger.
Last Friday, I experienced a full emotional breakdown. Is that what we call it nowadays? A newbie to psychology, I’m not sure how else to describe the sensation of the ground shifting under your feet and your entire focus pulling towards one central question, “What’s the point of continuing?” One week later, I’ve had little time to ponder it, because you know, rent.
What can I tell you, it’s hard to be introspective when you’re getting up close and personal with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs….from the ground up. In fact, I’m currently contemplating dropping the ‘l’ from Pleasantville and renaming this blog. Huh, maybe I do have a slightly dark sense of humour still lurking beneath the surface.
Married or not, with children or without, this pandemic is a misogynistic virus. Disproportionate is the word tossed around so much, it’s become one of my least favourite words of 2020, right up there with unprecedented, she-cession, and trying times. Still, there’s no denying the truth of it. Women are taking the blow and while normally I’d feel compelled to give a “buck up you’ve got this sister” speech, there’s nothing normal to be found in this.
What I do want to offer you is a reminder that it’s okay to let the outside you present, match the turmoil within. It’s natural to want to scream and rage against the machine. You’re normal to be grieving for the loss of a future you had spent half a life constructing. And it’s normal to be angry at the impossibility of making new plans. It’s okay to admit you’re struggling, in fact it’s better than denying it. Filters only work online, in real life you sometimes have to let the ugly in.
If we are to get through this pandemic intact, then acknowledging that our mental health is now a full-time job is half the battle. Drawing up a battle plan is the other half, but just for today, give yourself the grace to feel the pull, and allow others to as well.