At the present moment, I am safe, I am healthy. My loved ones are safe and healthy, if distant. My immediate needs are cared for. There’s food. Shelter. Coffee. Slippers. Pianos, guitars. My fountain pen has a ton of refills waiting in small boxes, even if I did run out of the cool colors first. My plants are thriving from all the chemicals we’re exchanging in such close proximity as they absorb every conference call, Zoom happy hour, family FaceTime, phone date. I breathe out carbon dioxide and they thrive on it and feed me oxygen in return, an odd snapshot of organic green juxtaposed with multiple screens and lighting rigs, carefully concocted digital office space. The bed may or may not be made, you’ll never know because I’ve carefully framed what you can see through my computer screen. I love doing my makeup so I still do it; I hate doing my hair so most days I pull it up, it works better with the headphones anyway.
I am safe.
The other day my throat hurt and I contemplated death. It got better. The other day a sharp pain in my side, different than my usual endometriosis, had me googling ruptured ovarian cysts, and whether or not a trip to the ER was really necessary. Risk infection? Only if I can’t walk. It subsided. One day my eye was red, my mom said that’s one of the symptoms sometimes. Googled to confirm. It went away. Maybe seasonal allergies. Maybe I got some sunscreen in my eye again. I’m still healthy – for now.
Financially safe for now, one of the lucky few still getting paid — for now.
I am safe.
I spend a lot of time lately daydreaming about my future. Our future. My brain can live there all day. My future house with plenty of natural light, a cozy window seat for writing, my future garden where I lose track of time and my shoulders turn pink, my future children who will cry and laugh and learn and explore, a world where I can hug my family and friends, we can sit together, pass the salt without fear, hold each other without fear.
The other day, staring into the bathroom mirror, my brain and my daydream were forced to snap to the present. Making eye contact with my reflection, I was forced to reckon with impatience.
I don’t think of myself as impatient. My type A friends deal with it; I watch them get frustrated when timelines don’t move as quickly as they’d like. I’m sometimes smug in my ability to let things roll off my back, just wait, just trust, I tell them. Why am I so zen and you’re stressing for nothing, it will be okay. Aren’t you lucky to have a friend like me with such wisdom and perspective? Sitting over here, immune to impatience. Well I’m learning I’m not immune after all. I’m stuck. I’m here, objectively safe but reckoning with the fact that I’m not there yet.
My God, why have you forsaken me? What is this plan? Why am I simultaneously more fortunate than most people, but still grieving, still scared, still overwhelmed by the distance between where I am and where I want to be?
I am safe, for now. But my future is not where I’m standing for now. I’m standing at the bathroom sink.
My journals are full of the past, I can pick any one of them up and time travel back there. My present is objectively okay, as okay as any of us can be right now. My future is a question mark. I still spend time there. But it’s not as fleshed out as it used to be.
Be still, and know I am God.
No. Surely there is something I can do.
I did that. It was fine. I liked it, even, but I’m done.
Yeah, but if you could just give me a timeline of how much LONGER I needed to be still, I’d happily be still and set my watch to when it was go time again. I’d backwards plan to make sure I emerge back into society my best self, my most beautiful, like a wedding countdown, I’d say 3 weeks out, amp up the workouts, 2 weeks out, buy the plane tickets, one week out, fill my calendar with shows and social events, one day before normal, a mani pedi, done by me, of course, look what a great job I’ve done making do, being self-sufficient, low maintenance.
Be still, when it’s enjoyable. Be still, when it’s hard. Trust, when you have reason to hope. Trust, when you can’t see the ending. Be still. This is hard. I’m with you.