I am struggling. You probably are too.
I feel so conflicted between what is “right” and what I “want”. I want to go outside. I want to have a beer in the park and feel the first rays of spring sunshine soaking into my body. The Canadian winter is ebbing away and usually this would be the time we would all start to sit together in grassy spaces, sharing sips of craft beer and laughing at all the Instagram babes trying to get the perfect cherry blossom snaps.
I want to buy a coffee and a slice of carrot cake and sit in the window of a cafe watching the world go by, but the world is not going by at the moment so I’d just be staring into the abyss. I can do that at home. The abyss is everywhere now.
I want to go out for dinner and order a bunch of dishes I have never tried before. I want to share bites with my friends, split a few bottles of wine and end the evening with a fancy cocktail garnished with a flaming marshmallow because we worked for this and this is how we want to celebrate. I can’t believe I ever took this for granted.
I want to see my friends so badly. I want to touch their faces. I want to touch my own damn face, not just in the comfort of my own home. And that is the thing; my home is comfortable. It is a small basement apartment, but it is cozy. I have what I need; a nice warm bed with a smattering of soft velvet pillows that inevitably get tossed on the floor in the middle of every night. I have a lovely mustard yellow couch that I eyed up online for months before finally buying it. I have a beautiful gold bar cart that my friends bought me for my 30th birthday. It is brimming with colourful bottles filled with enough alcohol to throw a pretty great party. But of course, there are no more parties to be had.
My cupboards are stocked with the emergency tins of food my boyfriend and I picked up over the course of a few days. I’ve never felt the need for a car in the city and I have only just discovered the limit of what I can carry. It hurt my heart to see the shops so bare and it filled me with a quiet rage to witness some people’s trolleys filled to the brim with hoarded essentials. My British soul forced my opinions between my teeth and my lips, but I was angry at them for caring more about themselves more than other people. Then I was annoyed at myself for allowing negative thoughts to permeate my mind in the middle of fucking No Frills. Just get your tinned tomatoes and get out, Rebecca. Just get through this and think later.
I miss having tasks. In the first few days, there were things we had to get which meant there was a legitimate reason to leave the house. I love to leave the house. I’m a go-getter. But now there is nothing left on the to-do list and I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I have to stay the fuck indoors. People are dying.
My desires have never really had the ability to hurt anyone before. I’m sure I am not to everyone’s taste, but I’ve always known that I am a good person, which is a simple but very comforting thought. Sure, I’ve said and done some stupid things over the years but I have always had a great relationship with my own sense of morality; doing the right thing has never felt like a burden…until now. At the moment I feel conflicted. I feel gross. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be in quarantine. I’m climbing up the walls. I’m crawling in my skin. I can’t accept it but I know I have to.
I’m struggling to reconcile my feelings with my own privilege. So many people have had it and will have it so much worse than I do. People have survived actual wars for fuck’s sake, and I am feeling stressed about being in a confined comfort? I need to get a grip. But I’m struggling.
It comes in waves. There are some moments of the day where I am okay. Yesterday my boyfriend and I stood in the garden and drank a cup of coffee. It had just finished raining and the sun was beginning to peak out through a pinprick hole in the clouds. I watched a fat squirrel climb a tree and thought about how I haven’t climbed a tree since I was a teenager. I entertained the idea of just doing it there and then, but thought better of slipping over and falling on my arse at a time all doctor’s offices are closed. For twenty minutes everything was fine, but then we went back inside. I read the news on the couch then found solace in a second shower intended not to clean me, but to add a new soundtrack to my busy mind.
I am grateful I am not alone. What would I do without my boyfriend and his efforts to make me smile? He actually seems okay. He seems good, even. I am so thankful he is here but at the same time, I don’t want to bring my shit to him. I want to swallow it whole and not bring it to bed. I think about people who are all alone in their homes. Indefinitely. The thought makes me cry.
It’s better when I call or text my friends. Sometimes we even laugh about it. But then later I mourn the loss of their company. I have always loved my close friends like family, but I will never take an hour in their presence for granted ever again. You can’t see dimples and wrinkles on Facetime. There are more pixels than there is personality.
This is only the beginning of day seven for me. I know I need to get a hold of myself. I’m desperate to find the high road but the uncertainty is weighing me down; I don’t know how long this will go on. Is it better that I don’t? They said two weeks at first. Then a month. Some people say it will be summer. Others say 2021. Will our lives stop for a whole year?
I am thankful for the health of my body. I am worried about the health of my brain. I know it could be worse. I know. I know it. And what if it does get worse? I’ll look back to now and be glad I was still able to leave the house for short isolated walks and that I still had a small amount of money left in my emergency fund. What happens when that is gone? Why can’t I be happy with what I do still have, rather than thinking about all of the things I have lost? I know I haven’t “lost” my friends or family. They’re still here…or there…just elsewhere. They’re dealing with it too. Some are only a stone’s throw away, but what does mileage matter when they won’t leave the house? I hold on to the fact that, so long as we have WiFi, we still have each other. Thank fuck. But our freedom? That is gone, and I’m struggling. Are you?