I’m drinking “Cold Season” tea. I take it out of the cabinet with some resentment. It’s gray outside, for too many days in a row. And cold. For May, at least. It feels dissonant, isolating.
This weekend was maybe one of the hardest since quarantine. I felt emotional at the grocery store, suspicious of people getting too close to me, anxious that they weren’t wearing a mask, that I was touching mine too often.
I got into an argument (several) with my sister. Felt awkward about hugging my Mom even though it was Mother’s Day. Wanted to be alone and really didn’t, at the same time.
Yesterday was similar. I was so tired. It was so cold, again. I didn’t even leave the house to take the dog for a walk around the park, a daily ritual I’ve come to love and also, despise.
Today was better. I reminded myself several times that it’s okay to feel tired without being worried that I’m getting sick. It’s okay to be down without it meaning I’m depressed. It’s okay to miss the possibilities of pleasures I used to take for granted: being in a crowd of people listening to live music, sitting down in a noisy restaurant, shopping without fear of exposure, getting dressed everyday knowing that I’d be leaving my house and other people would see me.
I tell myself it’s okay to grieve the loss of a society that we know isn’t sustainable, equitable, or healthy. To miss a pace of life that triggered my anxiety. It’s okay to feel bored and restless with the extra time I have instead of creative or relaxed. It’s okay to believe good can come from this while also acknowledging the suffering.
I am lucky, I know that. My life is bubble wrapped in privileges I can’t even begin to catalog. I’m sitting in my own room with a desk that looks out a second story window toward a big, green Maple in the front yard. I’m still employed. I’m healthy. My loved ones are healthy. I have plenty to eat. I can dance and laugh and cry freely.
Gratitude does not escape my daily recognition.
But neither does the need to be tender with my sadness. To create some space to collapse into a grief without words yet. There are days, and moments of days, when no matter how many people I’ve called or FaceTimed with, no matter how generous my dog is with her snuggles, I still feel lonely.
It will pass, just like the gray sky and cold weather. The sun will come out. We will collectively move through a time of pandemic and re-learn how to be together in ways that feel safe and provide comfort.
But, in case you’re not there yet, in case you’re still somewhere in between grief and gratitude, know I’m there, too.