Unedited and a rant ahead.
If you haven’t already, please head on over to Glennon Doyle’s podcast, We Can Do Hard Things. Glennon talks mostly with her sister Amanda. They call each other ‘Sister’ which took a while to get into; but when Abby Wambach (Glennon’s wife) pops up and also calls Amanda ‘Sister’ it makes my heart swell. Find all the details here: http://wecandohardthingspodcast.com/
I’ve been listening to them a lot just lately. Not least because the world is on fire and like many I feel useless, I can do the next right thing, but honestly, I’m spent and am concenmatrating on keeping my head above water.
I know I post inane drivel on the Facebook and Instagram, but if I find something that makes me laugh, I send it round. I know I over share, I know I do a lot of things that probably make people think, ‘WTF’ – but one thing I know for sure (queue your inner Oprah), when I share my mental health woes, it makes people realise they are not alone.
I’ve just found myself playing Spider Solitaire online, white wine in hand (so yes the not-drinking thing is going REALLY well), when ‘What Would Erika Do’ popped into my head.
I’ve shared what I wrote for her funeral/memorial service before; but basically she’d tell me to get up, show up and keep on moving.
I miss my friend. Her unwavering support to so many people. I do try to support others, there’s one friend in particular who’s heart is utterly broken, [you know who you are, you beautiful carbon-biped you], but I’ve found by inane babbling to them, I am also helping myself, making a friendship stronger in the interim.
My love language is connection (if that is one of them?). I like being in and around people, laughing, joking. I can be anxious in big groups, so too many people may freak me out to the point of shutting down and smiling like an idiot until I get outta there. This is so much worse since the pandemic, we had a wonderful family get-together for our oldest niece (another of my favourite cabon-bipeds) when she hit 18. Hubs, Peanut and I had been really looking forward to it, but when we were in the room with everyone, there was maybe 15-20 people, all three of us freaked out. We were just out of practice with hanging out with people.
I know we will get better at this, I know we will remember what to do, but seriously – brain, calm TF down.
The world has gone to hell in a handbasket. The only thing I can do is write, so you know what. You may have to put up with me more often, as I try to navigate and makes sense of it all. The world will be fine, (the dinosaurs went phut, but the world carried on). We may well be in the last season of the Human Race, but Gaia, she’ll carry on.
I sit here with my cat in between my arms, rubbing her face and whiskers all over my face. I know that my life is small, my life has got smaller over the past couple of years as the world has made it so.
But like Erika’s life, I mean something to other people.
So do you.
When you’re struggling, if you’re struggling, please reach out, please ask for help. Don’t let your brain force you to believe that you’re not worth it.
We can do hard things. Tomorrow that may mean getting out of bed and just cleaning your teeth. It may mean knuckle-clenching to get through the next hot mess of a minute.
Keep going. Keep breathing. Do the next hard thing. We can’t control everything that is happening, but we can control us. If we all check in on one person today; if we all put a pad of sanitary products into Share the Dignity collection points this month; if we all remember that we are part of the human family – we will get through this.
It is so hard. When you lose friends because they think the shut down is a conspiracy, or that vaccinations are going to give us 5G (honesty, the reception here is so sh!tty, I’d welcome it), or that wearing a mask is a restriction on their liberty.
My hope is science and legislation. We need to lean on people that have spent their lives living scenarios through graphs and scaling up. We need to lean on people who know more than us, a YouTuber or Anti-Vaxxer has not spent years of their life sorting, sourcing and researching data and if you think that you have, you can sugar off now – and I will block and report your profile every which way I can. Vindictive? Maybe, but when you spread lies and misinformation, you stop me from seeing my family and my friends. My anxiety can cope with being out in public, but it cannot cope with the fact that people I love IRL are hurting and would greatly appreciate me being with them to help them through the shizzle.
When you spread lies and misinformation so people don’t get vaccinated, it prolongs the pandemic – you’re not making ‘an informed choice’, you’re drinking the Kool-Aid.
It means families can’t get to people who need them. It means hospitals are struggling with the volume of COVID patients; so those who could have had surgery for cancer, heart issues or need an ICU bed for whatever reasons do not get medical support. Because health services are bed-blocked with people who are too scared by your BS to get the accurate medical information that could have saved them, their family or their neighbour.
We are in this together. We can do hard things. But we need to listen to the experts, not the people wanting click-bait, not the people with an alternate agenda, not the people that seek to profit off the back of those in minimal wage jobs so they can play astronaut.
I know this is ironic, but please get your head out your phone. Please stop numbing your feelings scrolling to get a dopamine hit. Reach out, check-in, extend an olive branch.
The world needs you as you are, messy, mascara under your eyes, wrinkled and tired.
With many thanks to my gorgeous friend Trish for the cartoon from Liz Climo.