What Do You Want to Feel?
It goes without saying that we’re in some unchartered times. And that uncertainty may translate to a swirl of emotions that you may not know how to decipher. Maybe you’re wondering what to feel. Or maybe you are wondering if your feelings are typical of those emotions being experienced by others during this global pandemic. After all, how do we know when we are overreacting to a constantly changing story that includes deaths at record numbers and hospitals worldwide that can’t keep up with the flood of contagion coming through the doors? Who is to say what it is that’s “normal” emotion when dealing with confinement and the possibilities of death of loved-ones simply by being in the same six-foot space? What am I supposed to feel is a question I’ve been asked by clients for two months now. And my response is to ask, what do you want to feel?
As I write this (April 19th, 2020), an alert pops onto my iPad screen: The USA Coronavirus death toll has just passed 40,000 souls. That’s just the toll in the United States. Globally, at 150,000 deaths, things are equally as grim, even as protesters gather en masse now to demand an end to the “stay at home” directives and mandates. I’ll let you be the judge of the sanity of the demands to get out and mingle, unmasked, during a pandemic that claimed more lives in a weekend than die in an entire month of cancers, automobile accidents, and everything short of heart disease combined….
Part of me says let them go out and re-claim the right to die by what could be prevented, but I have a saner internal voice that reminds me they are carriers, and will infect many before they feel the loss personally. And kids are included in those numbers. Children who blindly follow the actions and attitudes of adults whose primary job is to protect the same children they infect with those actions and attitudes. But again, make your own mind up as to what is sane behavior during a pandemic. We all have our own opinions. The key is to form those opinions after gathering information from reputable sources, and in my estimation, those sources do NOT include politicians or Fox news or uninformed (if not faux) doctors like Oz and Phil. And maybe the life and death affecting opinions should be formed only after having selected a few professional sources such as the renowned Dr. Fauci in the US. Of course even to name Dr. Fauci is to risk bringing out the “Fauci Fanatics” who would love to see him fired for daring to tell the truth even as it conflicts with the incendiary wording of the US President.
And if it isn’t enough to hear the taunts of a president who sees any time in front of a camera as a rally for re-election opportunity, add to that chaotic flow of misinformation the absolutely uneducated claim from Counselor to the President of the United States, Kelly Ann Conway that ‘This is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks”. Her insinuation is that COVID-19 is the nineteenth version of this strain. In fact, the “19” in “COVID-19” stands for the year (2019) in which it began. And the full title of the virus is the novel coronavirus, and “novel” means NEW. This is the first, and not the 19th version of novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19. It’s misinformed talking heads like Kelly Ann Conway who are placing the lives of millions in jeopardy through ignorance. Because just as those children look to adult care givers for guidance, so too, do millions look to their supposed leaders for that same guidance. As adults, we must search out our own truth, and we must ascertain that what we discover is actually truth and not some sensationalized or ignorant spew coming at us from irrefutable sources masquerading as reputable sources of accurate news and information. I only suggest that you be diligent in uncovering the truth. Truth is power. And blind faith in this decade will certainly lead you to slaughter.
One thing that’s undeniable is that confinement brings out the reality of who we are, and sometimes that reality is an ugly beast indeed. It’s hard for some folks to be alone with their “self” because that self is something that holds darkness. Being quarantined, especially if that quarantine space doesn’t contains others, can be extremely challenging if you’re not especially good at being alone with yourself. It’s also a challenge if you are not prone to entertaining yourself. Time on your hands is either a god-send or a curse, depending on how well you entertain yourself. Netflix binges only go so far, and when the remote overheats with the last episodes of Ozark, you’re left to find other means of entertainment. For some, that unstructured time slot spells trouble. But a mind and spirit can go in dark directions only if those dark seeds are already germinating. And I’m seeing a lot of wild weeds taking over the minds of a handful of those persons who are not able to use this time for personal growth. It goes to follow that sales of prescription medications designed for calming nerves and combating depression and anxiety, and of wine and hard spirits alcohol, and one could assume controlled substances are at an all time high as members of society try to cope with Covid-19, also known as Coronavirus. Domestic violence is rising right along side of the number of days that we are quarantined, or out of work, or wondering where that next meal or roll of toilet paper is coming from. No doubt prayers are being uttered more frequently, even by agnostics. And the biggest challenge of all may just be to determine what it is that you should be feeling as the walls start closing in…. And I ask you again, What do you want to feel?
The truth is, we don’t know the actual numbers for this global pandemic, and we likely won’t know the accurate statistics for a long while to come. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/us/coronavirus-death-rate.html All we can do is to do our best to keep ourselves well, and to not put others at risk. We can ignore the numbing statistics and place more focus on what we can do to improve at least our station in this world. We are all in this together, and it is by my pure selfishness that I hope you will not be protesting during what can be seen as an opportunity to learn some new skills, take up a hobby you long wanted to add to your leisure time, or to get to know the real you –good, bad, and even ugly. This is a once in a lifetime event, I’m quite sure. We can choose how we react to it. We CAN make the best of it.
What I do know for sure is that my moods and emotions vacillate during the day and long into the night. I don’t try to compare my experience with that of others. In fact, I work hard to NOT compare my experience to that of anyone else as we each have our own individual propensities to worry or not, and we each have our own innate coping mechanisms. I will share that one of my coping mechanisms has been to learn new skills. Wine making is at the top of that skills list, followed closely by hydroponic gardening. I’ve always cooked, baked fresh bread, made cheese, and knit anything not more challenging than a scarf to hot-pads and scouring pads. Not much is different there except to say that I’m doing all of it, more. And of course, I’m sewing masks that can be worn to the grocery store if one is inclined to not utilize home delivery services. The wine making is telling. I’ll admit a bit sheepishly that I do plan to have a seriously well-stocked cellar when this is all over…and the salad veggies should be ripe within weeks. With bread, wine, cheese, and salad, and yes, toilet paper, all is well. There’s a lesson in this pandemic of what really matters, and about how little we can actually get by on. As for the well-stocked wine cellar, it seems important to have something of value to show for all this time off….