The me from two weeks ago wrote these words at the bottom of my long list of to-do’s right about the time when reality was setting and the repercussions of this virus were real:
‘Love the Day but Sharpen My Zombie Stick’
It was of course meant to be funny.
As IF the zombies were really coming.
Silly that I didn’t realize that silly is my zombie stick.
If I don’t keep it sharp the zombies will actually get me. Fighting them off has for sure been touch and go since things got serious. I didn’t think it would be so hard.
The me a week ago still felt impervious to zombies:
What’s this? A virus you say?
As IF that’s going to make my steadfast optimism waiver one damn DROP.
All you who are feeling dark and gloomy? STOP IT! Optimism is a CHOICE. Life is good if you let it be good. Just do a bunch of things that bring you JOY you sillies! Take advantage of this time!
I’m fucking happy being quarantined! I’m an introvert anyway.
The only thing this virus is going to change about ME is that I’m going to have much cleaner hands from now on.
Blah blah blah. The old me from a week ago was SO obnoxious and peppy.
On a side note, I need to confess that it’s very embarrassing that it took a global panDAMNic to get me to wash my hands more. I’m not going to lie, I pretty much used to reserve hand washing for when obviously gross things happened like having to clean up dog vomit or if I accidentally peed on my hand from a premature or poorly loaded tp wipe. But now I look at my hands like they are evil weapons of mass destruction that can only be conquered by soap, water and homemade hand sanitizer. Who knew my hands were so nasty.
So, the me from yesterday, though still optimistic, had a little shame brewing about my years of unclean hands. Plus the worry that I didn’t remind my children enough when they were young to wash THEIR hands unless they were visibly covered with dirt or what not. In my defense, I was busy just trying to keep them alive by remembering to FEED them.
Then as though intentionally trying to push my peppy optimism all the way into the dirt and step on it, my husband told me I needed to be more patient. WTF? We were having a business talk about a specific work situation I had ‘allegedly handled inappropriately’ by not shutting my pie hole until a more strategic time to speak. Patience. Something I have never owned much of. I know it’s true but it still stung. So I sort of wanted to lash out and find the voodoo doll I keep in my closet that weirdly looks like my husband and do a little needle work.
Instead I went to my office and sulked. There was no sense going to that extreme until absolutely necessary. We’ve all got a long haul ahead of us with this quarantine. Besides, he is also my business partner and human resources frowns upon the use of voodoo during business hours.
Anyhow, I got to wondering if my lack of patience was potentially flowing into how I was viewing this quarantine and how other people might be handling things and tried to get my empathy skills back in place:
The people who felt the need to buy all the toilet paper and eggs, did they have childhoods where they were not provided for properly and consequently had a deep seeded fear of not having ‘enough’?
Did I, a mother of six, actually forget how hard it is to be home with little kids and not loose your shit when you are trying to do your job as well as you can AND take care of their needs, which involves a damn snack every four minutes and help doing math you no longer know how to do properly?
I put myself in the shoes of people who live alone and are quarantined as such and would easily trade places with those parents, even if it meant learning new math and not getting to pee by yourself. I imagined what it would feel like to know that you might not touch another person for thirty or more days or possibly ever if the virus got you.
The people who are sick and in the hospital from this nasty fucking virus: scared, alone, their lungs failing them. Are they lamenting that they didn’t live the life they had intended, this anxiety causing further decay? And the nurses and doctors taking care of them knowing that this very act of care could possibly give them the very virus they are trying to conquer.
Am I depressing you? Yeah. Fuck empathy. It hurts. The empathetic me CRASHED. Hard. The cocky arrogance of being “GREAT” through all this replaced by a dark cloud of gloom.
So I made the brilliant decision to just quit work early and numb myself from all this damn empathy and binge watch ALL. SEVEN. EPISODES. of “The Tiger King”.
I will never ever get this time back.
And the zombies, they had me pinned down right where they wanted me: already wounded from way too much empathy for my own well being and now crying over how awful people treat animals and no fucking wonder the word is going to hell and…
…maybe we deserve this.
Don’t be mad at me for putting the words in my head on to the page. I know more than a few people have thought these words.
Maybe the universe is fighting back. Maybe God is pissed off. Because we are all such damn assholes to the earth and to each other and to TIGERS! Oh the TIGERS! And I am clearly the biggest asshole because I wanted to try and save all these beautiful big cats, which clearly meant I am either destined to be a drug lord, a meth addict or a husband killer. I mean after all it’s HARD being quarantined with a bunch of men: four of my five sons who mostly don’t talk about their feelings and a husband who thinks I’m impatient with the world. And he’s RIGHT! Which makes it even WORSE.
The zombies. They almost got me. But today’s me escaped from them long enough to tell you all that no, you don’t deserve this even if you didn’t wash your hands enough in the past like me. Also, regardless of how good or bad you might feel during all this, sharpen your zombie stick, whatever it’s made of: humor, empathy, love, art, writing, exercise, cheez-its: whatever the hell you need it to be made of.. just sharpen the damn thing and use it to fight the happiness sucking zombies that sneak up on you when you least expect it and try to trick you into thinking there is no cause to be happy in the midst of all this super scary chaos.
I promise to try and be more patient with you and with myself and I also promise my hands will be mostly clean the next time you see me. Which I hope is soon. In the meantime, sharpen the stick my loves.