It feels like we’ve reached a phase in this pandemic where we have nothing much to say to each other. We started out all cocky and optimistic – things were a novelty. Let’s bake guys! Let’s exercise! Help others! Share memes! But with the end of the long Easter weekend, everything just feels extremely…meh.
We’re starting to get on each others’ nerves. We’ve watched all the things we wanted to. Read all our good books. Work may be trickling in, or not at all, and we’re starting to worry about what the future holds. And then enter home schooling, which began for me today, bringing with it a whole other set of frustrations and challenges.
Reality has sunk in. We don’t know what the rest of the year looks like. If and when the lockdown ends, we won’t suddenly go back to life as normal, we know that. Things are going to be different, and potentially difficult, for a long, long time.
So I think it’s okay to surrender. To mooch a bit. To not have much of value to add. To just get by, and get through the days. Sometimes we don’t have to be all sparkly and optimistic and creative. Sometimes we just have to be. Allow ourselves to feel whatever it is that we’re feeling and not feel guilty about it. For most of us, I’m sure this wave of grey will pass. It is part of the process of grieving for the things we have lost, as many articles like this have stipulated.
Many of us are told to be grateful for what we have, and while gratitude exercises are very valuable, don’t let them take away from you being able to recognise what you’ve lost personally. We know that we are lucky and privileged to have food in our fridges, a safe and warm home to be in, our health and our families, but you can still mourn those things you’ve lost because of this pandemic.
For me, it’s things like not being able to attend the book launch tomorrow for Living While Feminist, that I was so excited to be part of. I had finally got a story of mine published (!) in a real life book, but due to the virus, the book hasn’t even been printed yet, and there won’t obviously an event to promote it either. You can however buy the ebook so long here and I’ll be writing about my contribution/essay soon, so you can learn more what my story means to me, and what the collection is about.
I also miss being outside, in the ocean. We trained for about nine months to take part in the National Lifesaving Championships at the end of March in PE and it all came crashing down, just before we had our chance to compete as a team. I can feel my strength fading too, and all that hard work, those freezing winter swims in icy water, those weekend training camps and late night fitness sessions – it’s all come to nothing.
I’m grieving the trip we were going to take in June to the UK to see my sister and meet my brand new nephew. The kids have never been out of the country before, and we’d been talking about it together for a full year, planning all the things we’d do and see. There are lots of other little losses, which I know deep down are not important in the grander scheme of things. But they are still things I have lost, and those losses are valid.
Sometimes it helps to voice these losses, because we all have them. Either express them to friends or family, or write them down somewhere (you don’t even have to show anyone). I know even just listing those few things above have made me a feel a tiny bit better, a little bit lighter.
I miss my friends. I miss smiling at people in real life and seeing their faces, hearing their stories. I miss the routines we had and the life we lived. Nothing is certain anymore, and we can grieve the loss of a future we’d held strongly in our minds for so long, which has suddenly been rubbed clean off the blackboard. Poof! It’s gone, and in its place? A huge empty unknown.
It’s okay to mourn that. In fact, it would be weird if we didn’t. So today I’m going to feel a bit grey and sad, and then tomorrow I’m sure this feeling will pass. Until it returns again – because I know from experience that grief is a slippery creature, who cannot be easily controlled (in fact, the more you surrender to it, the easier and quicker it will leave you).
So here’s to feeling all the feelings, acknowledging those feelings, and then picking yourself up again with a lighter heart once they have passed.