I need to write.
It’s been three weeks since we began sheltering in place and since then I have learned that a writer’s most powerful tool is observation. Perhaps I spend too much time observing (passive) and not enough time recording (active). I definitely don’t spend enough time writing. But the world has turned upside down and so far I have had nothing to say about it.
I’ve learned a lot about how people operate in enclosed spaces, how their tendencies manifest when they have nowhere else to go. What makes a good quarantine partner and what makes a bad one? What makes the difference between someone who is good to live with, and someone who is good to be locked in with? I’ve learned how our need to define ourselves is reinforced by our tendency to define ourselves against someone else, but in such a closed space as this we create an endless feedback loop that crowds our brains and clutters those definitions altogether until we lose sight of ourselves completely. This causes distress.
Some may lash out.
I’ve learned much about my partner and much about love. The hurtful sting of it alongside its linen-scented comforts. Humans are simply not meant to be shut in together in this way; they can’t be faulted when relationships in these situations splinter. But the truth holds that they splinter anyway.
I feel that my entire life I’ve been doing the work of carving out spaces for myself wherever I am, so that I can belong anywhere if need be. My pathological pursuit of self-sufficiency. But those who have not learned this skill may suffer.
I don’t know where I’ll be (mentally) when this is over but I know where I am now. I’m finished with putting my life on pause and I’m ready to move forward with a better acceptance of the way things are. (I can’t keep waiting for the future in the hope of it being better. It will be bad.) At least with acceptance comes clarity, and with clarity comes relief.
And with peace of mind comes stability. And with stability comes hope.