When the world came to a screeching halt, it taught us so much more than we asked for. We’ve learned, painfully, the depth of our pre-existing vulnerabilities in communities that need the most. We’ve remembered, the hard way, that we can quite literally have nothing without our health, both individually and collectively. We have been reminded of the heroes that already existed…the same people who were on the frontlines of our functioning society are the same ones on the frontlines of a global health war: our nurses, our teachers, our mothers.
For those of us whose lives haven’t been utterly turned upside down by loss: of loved ones, of our health, or of financial stability … we’ve been thrust into a situation that’s uncomfortable. One that requires us to be home with ourselves and home with our relational realities and home with our work. There’s no escape. There’s no distraction. There’s simply an invisible cage.
What I’ve noticed, is that in an effort to escape ourselves, we’ve done what we always do: made ourselves busy. And while that busy-ness looks different – because there’s no more over scheduling & over traveling & over committing – there’s the busy-ness of an entirely different sort. Of producing and crafting and creating and transforming.
It feels like the race is on to see who can make the most of their time in quarantine. And who can come out on the other side of this with the most to show for it. So, let me stop you right there: you need to show absolutely nothing on the other side of this whole thing except that you stayed healthy, sane, and well. That’s it.
All that is expected of you right now is to do the best that you can do. Which just might be the minimum.
For some people that might be writing some fiction to escape their phone. Some might bake in order to forget. Some might make family zooms to cure their loneliness. Others might take long walks to stretch their legs and their sanity. All of those things are good. All of them are likely important to the person doing them. But don’t look to those things and think it should be you. And you sure as heck don’t need to do an Instagram Live.
Instead, look only to yourself and ask, “What do I need?” And do that. Only that. It can be as simple as five breaths in the morning or a few purple-marker doodles at night. It can be a dance in the kitchen or a call to your mom. Whatever you do, do it for yourself. Because you need it. Not because you need to come out on the other side of this “with something to show for it.” F*ck that. You don’t. You don’t need to be productive, or crafty, or excellent, or strong, or ahead, or better, or anything other than aligned with yourself enough to make it through.
Just make it through.