I feel guilty.
I feel content and happy and comfortable and I don’t want this lockdown thing to end. But then I think about the people who need to leave. The bad relationships someone must be in. The kids that are having a hard time with remote learning, or even worse, the ones that are locked in with violence, and no one is looking after them to make sure they’re okay and being fed.
I need to stop. I don’t want to think about this time this way. I know all of that is out there and happening and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s stressing me out. I have to live my own time. I have to choose to enjoy my time. I am enjoying my time. I love not having to put on pants or look presentable. I love not having to drive the kids to school. I love having my husband home. I love not feeling pressured to go out and do something. I love not going to restaurants and I love not having to put on pants.
My hair is growing out and showing how much older I am than I thought I was before this whole thing began. But there’s something so comforting about the loss of beauty and youth for an entire culture. The entire world. We are reverting back to our physically ugly selves. And that’s so calming. So relaxing. We’re forced to do our own hair and our own pedicures and we’re all stuck. We’re all ugly and old and stuck. All of us have crusty heels and badly painted toes. I don’t want this time to end. Partly because I cut my hair and I need it to grow back a bit before anyone sees me looking like this.
I know I have this time easier than others. I know that I’m lucky that my husband and I are getting along. I know that I’m lucky that my kids’ school district has been amazingly well organized. I’m lucky that I have wifi and my kids are able to remote learn without me having to do much, although I do suspect that my middle schooler is just reading Harry Potter books the whole time, but I’m fine with that. I’m lucky that the boys have an xbox and they can play Fortnite and Minecraft with all of their friends. I’m glad that they facetime their friends and that both of the boys are forced to get along. I’m glad that we can “meet” my mom outside from a distance and walk our dogs together at least 6 feet apart while we yell through our masks about our day so far. I’m happy that we eat three meals a day together. I’m glad that the boys entertain themselves for the most part.
I had a breakdown around Day 25. I was a stay-at-home mom before the shutdown and we all became stay-at-home and I didn’t realize how much I needed the silence of everyone off and doing their real life things everyday without me. Of how much I thrived in my solitude until I was forced into the daily group setting. And on Day 25 I yelled at everyone and I cried and I wrote an emo post on Facebook about my “hard time”. Quite frankly, I had my own Ellen on Instagram from her mansion-jail moment. But honestly, I just needed space. I was overwhelmed and overstimulated and it wasn’t anyone else’s fault but my own. Because I wasn’t taking my space. I was expecting everyone else to just give it to me. So I got a glass of wine, apologized to everyone for my nonsense, and told them I needed an hour alone. Just like that. And just like that they told me they loved me and told me to go to my room. I’m loving that I’m learning to take care of myself. I’m learning to communicate better. I’m learning that I don’t have to yell. And I think my family is better for it. I do still have to yell at the dog for barking inappropriately. But this forced space has made us closer as a family.
And I’m writing. I’m reading and I’m writing and I’m pretending that the outside world is stopped. I can pretend that people are being kind to themselves and to each other. I can pretend that we just don’t have a government right now. That everything is fixing itself. That nothing bad is happening outside of my windows. My dog disagrees and would like me to tell to everyone that life is NOT okay outside the windows, because she saw the neighbor’s dog, Mister poop on our lawn last week. But everything in my little bubble is fine.
And I know I’m lucky. I know I have it better than a lot of people. But I’m having my John Locke on the LOST island feelings. Because I’m a better me here.
I’m still trying to work out exactly why I want the world to continue to stay paused for a bit longer. I think part of it is the shared experience. The entire world stopped. Most of the world. But I know that I’m speaking from a place of privilege. The world paused for me. It didn’t pause for the doctors or the nurses or the lady that has to go to work at the grocery store or the person that still has to work at McDonald’s because rent is due and they need health insurance for when they get sick. It’s such a baffling feeling. A selfish one. But when the responsibility to live in a society has been taken away, I feel myself thriving. The pressure to conform to something, the insecurity of not measuring up, it’s all paused. All of it. No one is coming to my house so my bed remains unmade. My bed is usually unmade but now there is purpose to it. Now I vacuum for me and not because I worry what my mom would think.
My roots are grey, my heels are rough, my eyebrows are a mess, my legs are unshaved, I’ve gained 5 pounds, and I’m just really at peace.
I think I just want a break from everything for a little bit longer. I want to stay inside and I want the world to stay inside and I want the system to fall so it can be rebuilt from scratch. So that it will be rebuilt by the people who will work to do it for all of us. I want it to be controlled by the people who need it to be better. I’m not ready to go back. I don’t want to go back to rules. I don’t want to go back to forced small talk and bedtimes and appropriate drinking hours.
So here’s to Zoom happy hours and my awful haircut and my self-pedicure. And my new solitude.
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