It’s hard not to love Despair.com, especially in these times of comprehensive aloneness. They hit the nail right on the head. A few years ago they had another Demotivator that had a picture of a broken chain, with the title Dysfunction – which plays a lot in my head these days, lemme tell you, as I perch above my town, looking down at the empty streets.
When I get feeling lonely, my immediate response is to flee, go elsewhere, start again somewhere, better, be a better friend, Roman, countryman. Distract myself with the busyness of motion, thrashing myself into various new holes, tossing out shreds of my past, leaping into a new uncertain future.
Of course, as my wise son has pointed out – if I do this I am still carrying the problem with me. Because it’s the one doing the packing.
I imagine this time in solitude is, for many, a time of evaluating relationships, a time to reattach if possible, to sever if not. We are all defining ourselves without boundaries, except those sharp ones of the buildings in which we are incarcerated. (Though, in prison, I suppose you might still have company of a sort…) So much of who we are is formed as we bounce against others, rounding our sharp internal curves, finding our borders. Without these, it gets hard to feel real.
I’ve always liked the image of the Velveteen Rabbit – the stuffed animal who was so loved that bits of it had fallen off, its seams were all rubbed bare, ears bent into improbable shapes. All done by love. And making the rabbit REAL.
I used to feel very real. I had three loud, messy, imaginative children who were constantly pushing against me, forcing me to create new reactions and stretch my creativity. I was covered in kid slime and food and washable clothing. I never sat quietly without having one ear lifted to listen for pending disasters, fights, or suspiciously silent activity. I never ate anything without thinking if I should save it for the kids (or hiding it from them).
We used to have fascinating discussions. I miss those.
Now, they are grown and off and discovering their own realities, and while I know they are there for me if I need them, they are no longer here, smooshing peanut butter into my hair, emptying the fridge, scattering toys so I step on them. I can’t use them for edging. On the good side, that package of cookies is ALL MINE and no one else can have ANY. And, best of all, I can leave them in plain view on the counter and know I can return to find them just the same, without one missing.
My prior loves are off having meaningful discussions with someones else, and my dear friends are all tucked into their own cozy siloes, all finding their own edges. I find that as this isolation goes on, we seem to be turning ourselves inward more, getting involved in our interior selves – especially those of us who don’t have gardens or yards or big projects to throw our bodies against (or big men…sigh…but I digress). Others become fans of TikTok and do videos to share with others. I’m afraid my inner introvert (and serious lack of personal hygiene at this point) preclude such activities.
I know I am forgetting how to speak. It’s weird. Forming thoughts and words out of my mouth seems nigh impossible. I’ve taken to talking at the cat. He has taken to yowling back at me. I don’t quite understand him (yet) and know I should probably let someone know if we start having serious discussions about the world situation. I mean, I used to have lengthy chats with Pickles, the wonder dog, but he at least paid attention and had meaningful contributions that didn’t have to do with his service requirements…
People are getting crusty, and I’m beginning to want to step back from even mild contact because it can so easily go wrong when we are all strung tighter than a wire. Everyone is taking offense. Bluster abounds.
But there are also so many that are stepping up to the plate to help. I’ve donated as much as my budget can afford, but I still am tempted by this fundraiser being run by Despair.com – selling a T-shirt that says “A Lifetime of Social Distancing Prepared me for This” and, by doing so, donating money to the Feeding America Corona Response Fund. Why not check them out? I live in Canada and the gaps are also fierce here, but gosh, if I lived in the US I’d be really needing a way to try to stop the madness and discriminatory damage being wreaked by the governments. (I hasten to say not ALL governments, but a significant number)
After all, as Despair.com says:
Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can walk…