I woke up with my brain itching. I am so ready for this pandemic to be done. I know you are, too. Right now, I am utterly filled with admiration for those of you who have been creating, and making, and finding ways and solutions, and crafting throughout the past TWO WHOLE DINGDANG YEARS. I was already feeling lonely and isolated and confused and weird before the pandemic. I've felt like I have nothing of value to share, and also feeling that as a white, middle-class, highly educated woman, my voice is probably not really needed right now anyway. I have good days, of course, and there are "just getting by, focusing on the tasks at hand" days.
But this morning I woke up feeling like maybe I do have something to give, and something to share. I woke up feeling like maybe it is safe to commit to teaching, and to storytelling, and to all of it. That I am big enough, and strong enough, to do things. And that, my friends, feels like coming out of the forest. Or maybe waking up in the forest after the night of fear to find that I've been guarded by kind beings all night, and that there is beauty and wonder here in the tangled underbrush.
Some things that are helping right now, are books, like Sherry Thomas's Lady Sherlock series, and The Queen of Attolia; amazing online early childhood and play-based learning communities and content at The Wonder League, Kristen Peterson's Camp Renegade Play Summit (only through today -- but these talks are AMAZING).
But maybe I can do something. Maybe it's time to accept the world as it is, right now, and say, "So, this being true, now what?" Maybe I can start small, and still feel safe enough to move forward. Some people will say, "You have to be okay with feeling unsafe," and I disagree. We have to feel safe -- safety is at the base of our ability to move forward -- but we also have to be wise enough to know if our lack of safety is real or perceived. Risk is necessary, and we need to have a basis of safety, or at least a basis of trust, to move forward. Perhaps trust is a better word. I can trust that the earth will continue to hold my feet firmly. I can trust water to be wet and gravity to pull towards the center. Belonging is also necessary; even if it is a community of two, we need acceptance and belonging, a sense of kinship, to keep us rooted.
Where are you finding belonging these days? What feels like safety and trust to you? How can you, with the world as it is, start to move forward?
There's something about having had some time off, over the holidays, that fills me with a sense of possibility. I think that is perhaps partly why so many ambitious resolutions and plans are made at the New Year -- there's been some time to rest, to consider, perhaps some space to breathe, after the frenetic dance we are urged into by the surrounding culture, the dance that makes a quiet, contemplative Advent harder and harder for me to achieve. But by January, some of my exhausted fog has started to life, despite my having had to spend all day December 26 lying on the couch to recover from the stress of it all.
The past two years, ever since the whispers of a terrible new virus started to sound in our ears, have pushed me down into myself. I started off thinking, "oh a few weeks, and we'll be back to regular life. It's a bit of a break -- look, the dolphins are returning to the canals, the birds are singing, and it's spring! This is fine. We can make it. Let's keep one another's spirits up." We chalked hearts and messages of hope on our driveways, put up "Thank you, Healthcare Workers!" signs in our windows, and checked on our neighbors. I offered some online storytelling sessions.
And it kept going.
and it got worse.
And this summer, we had a few weeks of what felt normal -- little league, eating in restaurants, gathering outdoors with friends. Church services at my church moved back indoors.
And then Delta. And now Omicron.
But you know all of this. We all know it. We have all been in it. More and more, though, I can see that it hasn't been the same experience for all of us. I get so confused, because I see crowds of people in bars and restaurants, unmasked, but we are back online for church, and many schools have gone back to distance learning.
And what is hardest, and most upsetting, and depressing, and anxiety-producing for me, is that I feel sure that until we learn to come together and be on the same side, we will continue to lose.
In the face of all of it, though, I feel like I can at least reach out a tentative finger towards writing, even if it's just once in a while. Just to poke a finger at the thread that connects my little paper cup to yours, and set it humming.
how are you?
Hi. That's me. I write, sometimes, about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.