Floating

I’m treading water in a pool with no walls in sight or a ladder. My option is to try the bottom, but even there is too far for me to reach. I look down at my kicking feet in the murky water and can’t see deep into the blue past my toes. There is no foreseeable way out. Unless I’m rescued – or the water clears.

I hate being stuck. The one thing I’ve always hated most was being told no. I never took it as an answer – it forced me into being powerless. Being told I wasn’t good enough, being told that I could do this or that or what I deserved or didn’t – it never sat well with me.

I’ve always believed that if there is a will, there is a way. But now, with life as I knew it so shaken up, I can’t help but think that all I’ve ever known no longer holds true. I thought I knew so much and now I feel like I know nothing. I could be stuck treading here for far longer than I know I can.

I’m afraid of so much. Afraid of my future, how this will change things. Afraid of my relationships, will the forced distance be the reason some dissipate or fall through. Afraid that my fear will cause me to act in certain ways or that this isolation will change me into someone who isn’t the same as she was before. This isolation is dangerous. It forces me to be alone with my mind almost 24/7, a risky game underneath any circumstance.

If I could talk to people and they could ask how I am, I wouldn’t ever say anything beyond that I’m fine. Because to me, it simply feels like a formality. Few people actually care or deserve the truth. What, am I supposed to say that my brain won’t shut off and being with my thoughts has not only made me insomniac but also borderline feeling like I’m insane?

I’m not afraid of dying. Death is something that has never truly scared me. It is inevitable and simply a piece of life. All living organisms partake in this cycle, each being playing a part. In a way, death in some circumstances doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. With plants, the nutrients can be reabsorbed into the earth, deep-sea animals’ bones contribute to the carbon core in the sands of the ocean, and sometimes, death for people can be a release of pain from a cycle of suffering. That’s not to say that death isn’t a serious thing, but rather I see it as something that plagues us all but shouldn’t be a focus of our lives.

During this pandemic, this water-treading, a source of anxiety and fear for me isn’t one of dying. It’s more or less the aftermath. There are people I miss desperately, and I don’t know when/if I’ll get to see them next. Life changes in an instant, and if I could take one lesson away from all of this, it is to speak my mind and hold close the people and memories you cherish. I know I would have so many more regrets than I could live with if I didn’t. At this point, I think I’m just trying to process. Trying to process where I see myself, where I see the future going, what things will change and what won’t. If I can ever stop simply treading to stay afloat and then be back on land again.

I can dream and imagine a perfect world in which I’m with whomever my heart desires and that the world will bounce back from the current situation seamlessly. But the logic inside my brain speaks up and reminds me. This world isn’t perfect, and so many of the circumstances I would need to go right for all of that to happen are so unlikely to become true. The economy won’t bounce back seamlessly. Healthcare will be changed forever. Friendships might die out and relationships break up from distance.

I don’t know what the future holds. I am afraid of the unknown. It’s the lack of clarity, the lack of resolution. The lack of communication coursing through the veins of society. The lack of empathy. The lack of physical human touch and connection. The lack of control that I feel I so desperately need over my life at this time. But I can’t change any of these things no matter how much I wish I could.

I can say that I wish I’d done this or that, but at this point, it doesn’t matter now. I’ve said the things I felt I needed to say and although I feel more grounded, my roots don’t feel as deep as they could be. I feel myself teetering my mind on the center of a dual-edged sword unable to lean toward one side over the other. I can’t stop myself from thinking. This used to once be a good thing. But now, I think the lack of distraction and connection will cause it to be more harmful than I ever thought possible.

Knowing this about myself, I need to be careful. I need to keep swimming, keep floating with the current rather than let it pull me under. I will not let this drown me.

stay afloat,

M

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