Maybe this is just how we live now. At first, you are proud of how well you’re doing. You manage your time. You eat vegetables. You make appointments to talk to your friends online. You worry about family members. You check in on how people are doing. You think to yourself that if this had to happen, at least you are at your very best possible self to do it, being sober, having a counsellor, having re-learnt how good it is to move your body, having learnt how to sit in your feelings, having done so very much work on yourself this shitty shitty year. You remind yourself that one of the best things you can do for the people who love you is to take care of yourself so that’s one less thing for them to worry about.
So you swallow your disappointments about not being able to do a fashion shoot with your gorgeous Boomettes and realise that no, you won’t get to have your glass of wine at your April 17 launch party. You drag your furniture around to clear a space to shoot photos of yourself and grimace through having to look at literally hundreds of photos where your face is dumb or your body is not showing off the clothes properly and try to be kind to yourself.
You launch your season FOXY AS FUCK online with a half hour facebook livestream then have to painstakingly caption that because there’s no way that Youtube can understand your slurred very kuwi accent.
Your heart fills with joy when people trust you and your work enough to order four thousand dollars worth even though there’s no sign of when you’ll be able to deliver it.
And then, project over, you find yourself with a lack of purpose. Everything aches from sitting at a laptop at your dining room table. The urge to just stay asleep grows. You’d do anything to be touched. One night when you’re lying spooning with your cat, he gets a fright and viciously sinks his teeth into the fleshy part of your hand. Your twitter friends convince you to call the doctor. You circle the red on your hand with a vivid and watch anxiously as it grows down your wrist while you wait for the chemist to call you and say your antibiotics are ready. You’ve been hospitalised for cellulitis before and do NOT want to go back. You know you’re cat-astrophising, but it’s still scary going into the pharmacy, when someone won’t stand two metres away from you and the chemist is wearing a welding mask. You cry about the only thing in your bubble turning on you and then you feel fucking pathetic for being such a wimp when so many people have it so much worse so you donate to Women’s Refuge because throwing money at your feelings is what you do best.
Did you mention how bougie you’ve become – even more so than usual. Your attempts to avoid the supermarket have led to sourdough bread delivery, and Dutch cheese delivery and Italian deli delivery. You rationalise this to yourself by saying you’re supporting small businesses, when maybe the reality is that food is all there’s left to enjoy. You curse yourself when after sending treats to a friend you forget to change your delivery address and she gets your order of pop tarts too and then they’re all sold out. You try to remember to eat regularly so you can take your antibiotics but they make you sleepy and you find yourself crying more. You tell your counsellor this is punishment for thinking that you were handling this well and then you wonder if it’s creepy to ask about her dog when you see the dog bowls behind her. You are so tired of seeing your face on screen in video chat.
Your bougie decaf coffee turns out not to be as decaffinated as the brand you’re used to and you end up staying awake until 6am playing the Property Brothers game, and because it takes you a couple of days to realise it’s the coffee that’s the problem, you also get major physical anxiety and heart palpitations. No amount of guided meditation can fix that, but luckily there are benzos and zopis to be had later though the nausea lasts all day.
There are moments of lightness too. Your neighbour is a fucking delight who swaps you butter for wine that you weren’t going to drink anyway. When you’re doing a massive zoom call with friends to do a pub quiz that involves no less than three internet connected devices in one house, one man forgets that he’s not wearing pants and you all recoil from the screen when he gets out of bed. You cackle yourself hoarse at Taskmaster and delight in being able to track down items your friends need (coffee filters, olive oil) from local suppliers. You plan iso-dates with cute girls you’ve started talking to on OKC. You somehow trick yourself into relating to Laura Ingalls Wilder in The Long Winter, partly because you’re reading another book about white people surviving a cruel winter on a prairie. Because obviously being limited to deciding whether to go clockwise or windershins around the block on your semi daily walk is exactly the same kind of isolation. You resign from your job that doesn’t align with your values or deliver any sense of fulfillment and feel guilty because you have another job to go to when so many are struggling right now.
You try to do good things like hanging cardboard easter eggs in the bushes around your property for passers-by to hunt for. You develop a schedule of weekly small gifts for your neighbours as the only people you can really access right now – fancy bodywash from your ridiculous collection, homemade scented candles, episodes of TV you think they’ll like. You share trivia quizzes so people have small moments of other things to do. You desperately wish there would be another site like the Toast or The Hairpin where you could read clever funny things, and are eternally grateful to The Niche for turning you on to Taskmaster.
And then you get devastating news about people you love and you can’t be there and it just fucking SUCKS. You send cheese and pasta and track down a lawn-mowing company and it feels so fucking inadequate. You get angry at yourself for feeling inadequate because IT’S NOT FUCKING ABOUT YOU. You write lists of things to talk to your counsellor about in your next session. You walk around the block clockwise. You meditate. You dance to Kanye West even though he’s cancelled. You update your journal. You stay in your bubble. You carry on.