It’s been ten months since my last post. I wish I could say that the Muse has kept up her end of the bargain, showing up each morning with an expansive smile just as the sparrows enter the fourth movement of their treetop symphony. I wish I could say that I have a string of unpublished drafts waiting to be wrangled into prime time, or that thoughts have been pre-boiling in my fiery caldron of creative energy. I wish I could say–as I might have said last spring–that I’ve been far too busy for luxuries like writing and am using my free time to take up my employer’s Certified Wellness Wednesday Strategies for Self-Care in a Pandemic [barf].
But of course, none of this is true.
The reality of the last ten months has been a lot more meh. My morning routine has generally been the same. I wake at an ungodly hour in full throttle curse at the aforementioned sparrows, tossing and turning hard enough to regularly launch my back-up pair of glasses from my nightstand. I eventually give up the fight for more sleep and stumble down to flip on the coffee. As the pot gurgles away in the darkness, I quietly renew my determination to use this time to read or write or think or pray about things that have absolutely nothing to do with work, virtual schooling, or COVID-19. I pour my coffee and settle into my favourite chair, and then proceed to spend the next three hours on things relating to work, virtual schooling or COVID-19. What can I say? The road to meh is paved with good intentions.
Given my early morning routine, it’s not surprising that on most days, I feel spent by noon. The combination of back to back Zoom meetings and fitful sleeps (yay midlife hormones!) has given way to a chronic low-level tired that while not debilitating, has not exactly been fertile ground for creativity. Lunchtime walks and late afternoon power naps (along with some small but potentially life-changing steps in a new direction which I will eventually hope to the courage to write more about) have been enough to keep me feeling more or less okay. But despite my daily attempts at gratitude for the many layers of privilege that have helped me withstand the ravages of the pandemic better than most, the persistent meh has been my constant emotional soundtrack — a bit like COVID-themed muzak. It’s as if both my imagination and my affect—the very things that my introverted self needs to keep solidly connected to the world and the people around me– have been in a deep freeze: technically alive, but largely inaccessible. Thanks to the New York Times, I now know that the clinical term for this particular brand of meh is languishing, and while it’s been comforting to know that I’m in good company, the diagnosis has brought little in the way of actual relief.
But this week feels different. Noticeably different. I had my second jab three days ago and even in my AZderna induced fatigue, I am starting to see the rich colours of my imagination returning. Yesterday, for the first time in ten months, I did not immediately delete the “poem a day” in my inbox. And this morning, after two full cups of coffee and the requisite amount of futzting about aimlessly on social media, I mustered up the courage to see if I could remember how to log into this damn blog. (Praise Jesus for password managers). Two hours and six clunky but recognizable paragraphs later, I am still here plunking away on my keyboard, (and uncharacteristically late for my first meeting of the day). I don’t know exactly what this it all means or it would survive a fourth wave, but I do know that after ten months of dull gray whetever and six billion episodes of “What the Fuck am I Watching” on Netflix, it feels very, very good.
Sometimes we find hope in the conviction of things not seen (hat tip to St. Paul) but other times, is is delivered directly into our left arm. I am not complaining.