Doing this Pandemic alone has been one of the most trying things my mind has ever endured. Having no one in my home for almost a year is mind bending rough. For those similar, I respect your struggle. Not all quarantines are the same.
To lay next to someone and sleep. To hug someone as the tv plays. To make decisions of what store to go to and what protective wear to bring. To watch the news and talk out loud about the issues. To find places to escape together. To motivate one another to workout. To bake and clean and cook together. To cry at night when it gets too hard together. To fight over space and being together too much. These are things I feel as if those who are not alone so not understand.
There is a huge difference between the claustrophobia of it all alone and having at least one person there to support you and you them through this. It leads to animosity towards others who do have another person. Or that backyard. Or the privilege to have space for a home gym. Or live in a place that feels safe to walk out into the sun in the morning without having to bring a tissue to open door handles. Or wash your hands profusely just for stepping outside. Or needing a mask to leave your front door.
So yes some days I am Ok. And others it all adds up and I’m not. These last few weeks I’ve been in the not category.
Watching my fitness levels plateau due to my limiting situation.
Watching my stomach get upset when I go to my moms like clockwork because my body can relax in the backyard without a mask and walk around freely without 100 people I don’t trust near me. So even my getaway I get a night on the toilet — every time — because of the calm it brings me(the irony). Only to be taken away when I drive back home after and sit in my apartment with the windows that don’t let in quite enough light, a strange smell from the streets that I can’t quite place, or just a lack of human interaction. I search daily for a new place to live but realize I can’t afford an upgrade because my current deal is ridiculous and everything is a downgrade from what I have. Plus when you are currently Uh sure if your employment status you tend to not want to start paying more. So I look until my apartment hunting anxiety is in overload and not looking brings me calm.
My car often feels like the most free place for me. Wind in my hairless head, music playing, no mask needed yet still out and about. I’ve tried walking around my neighborhood. I make it about a block before people make me uncomfortable. My OCD is on another level now. And I don’t have OCD. Walking with my hands out further than normal because they brushed the metal of a doorway and I don’t have a sanitizer. The relief when I can lock myself back into my apartment, the problem in the first place.
I want to make more films with the iPhones and google phones I’ve been sent but struggle with the new city and the fact that driving in and finding parking is near impossible. Ideas that normally would be inspiring feel restricting because of COVID and my inhabililty to act on them. Don’t get me wrong, I can still be creative and I can be artistic and create, but the difficulty due to the pandemic not being over but the country trying so hard to push us back to “normal” can be a crippling internal struggle.
My cats. They are my Loves. But even they can’t fulfill my need for touch. I feel like I am losing time from my already possibly half over lifespan, alone. I fear the virus. I fear death. And I fear not being able to express who I am and meet someone who understands me and loves me as I would them before it is too late to experience the magic life has to offer with someone else.
This is my pandemic. Alone, time the only constant. It is the loudest quiet I have ever heard.
A complete side note: I almost wish someone would read this, someone who is single, and would go, hmmm I too feel this, and am going to use this unique situation to explore the people around me, in these social media bubbles we have created. Huh… Tristan is a unique person who is more than the sum of his parts… writes his mind, is artistic, creative, passionate, and ungodly handsome… maybe I should message him and we can socially distance get to know one another and maybe just maybe this pandemic can create a bond not feel like it is locking them all away. Use the slower pace of the world to create something meaningful. Then again I also think people will read this and see this as wow.. Tristan must be broke as fuck and not have his shit together to be feeling this way. When that is the opposite of what I am.
It is incredible what a pandemic can do to your mind and how it can make your entire lifetime up to this moment feel as though it has only been seconds of time.
I think it is natural for us to all grieve the change of our lives for the unforeseeable future differently yet very similar as well. It is as if we lost something. But we don’t really know what yet. A sense of comfort? A sense of control? A sense of protection? Our normal has been flipped upside down and the new “now” version is not so attractive.
I wake up in the morning with no yearn to get out of bed, yet if I stay still too long I get a sense of hopelessness that getting up and moving about can solve temporarily. So I get up, I move around my home, but end up in the same seat, selling the same ebay items, turning a game that was relief into a job, because I have to grasp onto the idea that money may become an issue if this remains the normal for too long. Which is contradictory to my mental health needing it as a release, yet also important to maintain my long term mental health as income. Pandemics make things complicated.
But while I sit and do the mundane movements to pad my bank account, to which would normally inspire me to get a new camera lens or pair of shorts, instead I look back on my life and wonder if my choices that lead me to this place were incorrect. If perhaps I squandered the important years of my life. If perhaps I didn’t focus on the money enough and happiness is not the answer(against my own better judgement). Perhaps I don’t feel like a man, like I thought I would by this time, regardless of what my accomplishments may say. Perhaps I didn’t take enough time to heal the anxieties that caused pain in my life and changed my course, perhaps I didn’t take enough time to mourn the losses of love in my life to truly love again. Perhaps I feel like meeting someone is being taken from me as we waste months and months of my older life where I am still single and now unable to meet people. Perhaps I didn’t work out the trauma in my childhood enough to have been able to do any of the above successfully.
Yet I am also keenly aware of my successes.
The successes that now, make me want to showcase my life as a whole not as a singular “focus”. A picture I want to paint so that I can become the sum of my parts and perhaps go to new reaches. But again I am held back by others I must rely on to help me get there, who are also going through their own version of the pandemic. But these moments of excitement are often short lived as I struggle to stay above water.
I am desperately looking to get out of my current living situation and into a place with some land and fresh air, but I cannot buy now, as I do not have a flipping clue where I want to end up permanently. I can rent, but the process of trying to find a place to live during a pandemic, is similar to trying to build a life raft while you are already drowning in the sea.
I talk to my friends, family, loved ones. I realize my circle is very small. Was this a mistake? Did I covet the wrong friendships leaving me alone in times of need. I realize my pandemic doesn’t look like some, and my pandemic looks exactly like others.
I have gone through a few phases of grief already;
Denial: oh I will be fine, I am used to working at home, this is nothing, I know better, obviously the summer is canceled, all will be fine at home… then 3 months in, 15 lbs heavier, and watching as my pandemic didn’t look like others, no longer feeling together in or fight against this virus, I find myself begging my parents to accept my cats into their home as I begin to lose my mind and as a grown man want to live with them again. Almost 37 and literally pleading to be back under my parents roof. Even considering giving up my cats that I love beyond the moon(I would never), but the thought crossed my mind so that I could have that simple comfort for just a bit as my mind feels like it is disintegrating faster each day. I may almost be 37 but that comfort, that lifeline of my childhood, the way I grew up, the niceties I was afforded, feeling so familiar yet so out of reach now that the world has flipped upside down, or just made the realities a bit more clear to see and feel on a day to day. But even then I feel as though it would be selfish and possibly putting their lives in danger if I were to join the bubble.
Anger: being filled with anger at everything, at people, at those who cannot grasp this the way I do, at those who ignore it, at those who make my own brain more cloudy instead of helping to ease the pressure. This is less of it but a part nonetheless.
Depression: This one took even me by surprise and is what caused me to even consider getting on a knee and shoving pride up my ass to ask to live back home. The scary thoughts I have during the night, and morning, and throughout the day. The way I can’t see anything but black at the end of the tunnel of the thing called life. The feeling of hopelessness that creeps into my daily everything. This is new for me, and it scares the shit out of me. I don’t know how to fight it. I don’t know if it needs a hug, or a yard, or a change, or just an escape. There is no release valve for us here in the US, and the pressure builds up and up and up and causes this I suppose. And it is scary. My sleep schedule is non-existent. I can maybe get a good, 2-3 days of schedule before it falls to crap. My dreams are my only relief, when I am not having anxiety dreams of forgetting my mask.
Bargaining: I suppose this might be part of me now looking to accept the need for a roommate, or perhaps trying to look for a new place to live, or considering moving out of the country, or thinking that making a few extra bucks by turning the game that was my relief into a job will give me a sense of something more than the nothing I feel.
Acceptance: I feel as though I accepted what this would be a long time ago, and this was the first step, but I didn’t consider how the rest would hit me, I felt immune to that kind of thinking, that way of processing. I was above that reality. But turns out, we are all human and even I am not able to escape the scary depths of the mind. I should know this though considering at 19 my world was turned upside down by my first knowledgeable panic attack and how I had to pivot my life according to that. But no in my mind, I am the person you want on your zombie apocalypse team. I am the one who knows how to see the way forward, I am the one who jumps in front of danger and defeats it. I am the survivor. But I also hurt and bleed like everyone else, and right now the fight is like watching two sloths box at a slow crawl.
But these are five steps based on a world we know and understand. The world we are in currently is something we can not predict. So there are a few steps in here we don’t even comprehend or know how to define yet.
Then on top of a pandemic the cracks of society have been laid out bare to all to see. Things I would never have advocated for before, because I didn’t think anyone would listen are now at the forefront of people’s minds, mouths, and intentions. I sit here wondering if we will enter a civil war with those who are choosing to fall on their sword over a mask. If we will enter a civil war with those who throw their badges on the ground because they can’t use a headlock or kneel on a neck. I sit here and wonder if we will recover from an economic downturn that we haven’t even BEGUN to see yet.
The country is in this pandemic together, but the minute money is brought up, it is excuses and deflection.
I am actually truly worried about the extended benefits stopping. There is a difference between “Open” and “Safe”. And with the benefits ending that I was blessed to have (although once again in any other country it is your RIGHT), I can see the next few months to a year being really grim, I know I will not be spending at all on anything but necessities(which impacts the economy as a whole). Multiply that by the many others like me.
Imagine those paycheck to paycheck with families. They will be homeless, jobless, out on the streets. This country/state is going to see the worst economic downturn due to no spending, and defaulting on homes, apartments, and people going hungry. The streets are going to be ugly, people will die, people will get violent, and this pandemic will look like a kids toy compared to the damage done. We haven’t seen even close to what is to come yet. And that scares me.
Looking at houses and that market, opened my eyes to just how desperate and foolish we are all making decisions. We have created a culture, a country, where a human life is worth less than a dollar bill, and it is clear as day to everyone except us. Disney World is fucking open. WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO SAY?!
So no, I am not OK. And no there is no pill that will fix this/me. And yes, as the days go on, it becomes harder to get that feeling of reprieve from going outdoors on my mom’s patio or from my dad’s driveaway. I wish I could put a valve in my brain that I could turn to let out the pressure. It continues to build and the days become increasingly harder, even though everyday is the same. Nothing changed from today to tomorrow, and that is the problem.
Am I going to off myself, no, I am scared shitless of death and this pandemic has shown me how much more scared I am of it. The big issue is it won’t let me forget for a moment about my mortality for more than a moment here and there. Are other’s going to commit suicide, yes. This is going to be too much for many. I guess this writing is one way for me to just let out some steam in a new reality I am not familiar with and not sure what to do.
Do I need a sad face emoji for dopamine? No. A like? Nah, will probably just bring me back to anger at the pedantic nature of it all. As if a “like” will make it better. It won’t. Am i I intelligent enough to know there is a light at the end of this tunnel somewhere, absolutely. But when and how long I have to feel this pain is unknown. And how this will feel in a day or an hour from now is unknown, and that freaks me out.
I don’t even know what my normal looks like after this, do I fight for the civil justices that are more important than my “art” or do I go full steam ahead and try to create more art to balance it all out. I am sure there is a middle ground, I just don’t see it yet, at least not one that makes an impact. I watch as the younger generations milk social media “following” each other in this circle jerk of “influence” which goes in a loop not actually moving the needle anywhere. I wonder, why are my words considered less important or “influential” due to a number by my name or a checkmark? I watch as the kids question everything they say afraid of what they may actually mean offending someone else. And I sit here, feeling disconnected from the same people I see being the ones that can truly impact change in this country. But that is another thing for another time…
No way to really end this… July 21 2020 Covid19 Month 5.
All the stay at home stuff we just did, was for nothing. Due to our economy being the driving force of not only our livelihood, but the global economy. We need a healthy economy, not healthy people, because we created our society to be that way. Without a healthy economy we fall to other super powers like Russia or China. We are at “war” with money. And the ammunition is our lives.
Without a cure or a faster vaccine, in order to win the battle we need to work, as much as it goes against LOGIC. Logic says we should continue the course, we should all shelter in place and wait until this disease kills itself(not so obvious for others who need their hair did…).
But here we are, a country, if you remove New York from the statistics, actually on the rise for new cases. We are poised to be the example of what happens when the virus runs rampant throughout an entire country. Sweden times ten.
So what does this mean?
– Like any war: the lower class is going to get hit the hardest, like the Vietnam War where they signed up first.
– We are going to lose many people to this virus. And that statement has a broader meaning: FROM THE VIRUS and CAUSED BY THE VIRUS. Those who die from infection and those who die from the side effects brought on by the virus: PTSD, Depression, Financial ruin, you name it. We have no idea the scope of how bad it really is yet. But it is bad.
– The United States is not currently becoming a fascist state or a big brother state, just look at what people will do to fight for their right to a hair cut on the stairs with their guns. We are a loud country, although complacent. (you want to see what we aren’t? Look at Russia currently and HOW China locked down Wuhan to begin with)
– We are going to take huge losses, economically, and in blood.
– Unlike other countries, we are admitting our infections, because we feed off negative news, the other countries hide this kind of shit.
– This may become like the flu and we will never beat it, and it will be the new reality. A vaccine is very important, especially with mutations, which could be positive if it breaks into weaker strains. We have to cut it off from our bodies.
– We are opening too soon, because the economy is more important than your life or my life and we will see a rise in cases. Especially for those states who didn’t get hit hard.
– It does feel devoid of an end.
– Our leadership is incompetent and it shows. We would need a president willing to jump on his own sword for the better of the country to make the hard decisions. Ha. Imagine that from our current one.
– If there was a divide before for political means, there is now a divide between back to workers and stay at homers. The economic divide is more obvious. We look at each other with judging eyes if you break 6 feet or don’t wear a mask. But we do it for the wrong reasons: Pride. Not well being.
– In certain states, there are speakeasy type businesses opening in locked down states. I have seen it myself with closed curtain salons being “open”. Because they will lose their business.
– Our economic relief is out of money, and the loops are nearly impossible to get through. So you can’t count on the government or your state to help you if you can’t work.
– You can’t change crazy people’s minds and because of democracy this faction of people are protected to walk off the cliff, problem is the cliff leads to the general population and more infections.
– There is no filter anymore and everyone is an expert or filled with anxiety due to a massive influx of information. The measles, parents told their children they would be OK, protecting them from the hard reality. But now we have Google to slap us across the face anytime we want to be a masochist.
– There is a huge discrimination happening between humans on social distancing and proper etiquette as well as mask use-age. You have people literally killing one another over disagreements on these two things. And since people have heard “we flattened the curve” they believe it is over and Spring has sprung, thus ending all needs to do any of the above causing more strife.
The ULTIMATE CATCH 22: There is an endless loop happening, the Government can’t sustain unemployment for the lockdown and makes it very hard to get help for 80% of people, so people are fighting to work so they don’t lose their livelihood, which in turn can mean their lives. The government wants us to lock down in place and common sense says to do so too. This is not an option for too many people. The loud protestors holding their guns, are fakers, and bullshit. They don’t represent the families going broke under the stress of lack of financial support. And then you have those, like in 9/11, trying to make their riches larger in time of crisis. Shitting on the little guy. And then you have those who are trying to follow the rules but see how the rules are impossible to follow, as the infrastructure was so cracked to begin with it just crumbles under this kind of pressure.
The takeaway: We are going to fight the economic battle, not the human life battle. Our entire society is based on it. And that, for a lack of a better word, sucks. We are about to throw many people at the front lines of the virus, and see what happens, good or bad, and make decisions based off that. We could end up in another lockdown, but most likely not as it would cripple the remaining economy. And as much as I hate that we are slaves to the economy, we built this system and now have to deal with the consequences, and for many that means with their lives or the lives of those around them they will infect.
Side Note: We as a country need to take a good long hard look at the Billionare world. We need to start handing out plaques at the 999million mark and everything after that is put back into the system to help it. But don’t try to take the hard earned money of those under the 1%. That is when we become facist. We aren’t throwing the old into the streets and infecting them on purpose, we are not fascists. So stop with that tin foil hat shit. Are companies tracking us harder now? YUP. Have they always tracked us, YUP, but now they are making it public. So now is the time to try our best to regulate what they can do since it is in the open.
We did this. This is our fault. We bred a society based off the simple idea that instead of taking action to better the world we take no action or only the actions that are perceived to run us up a corporate ladder that promises at the top you don’t have to worry about the people at the bottom forgetting your troubles and leaving them behind. The American Dream.
Problem is the Hamster wheel turns and turns and turns. But still doesn’t actually go anywhere until you realize; you have to get off it to go forward. But by that point you’re tired and have no energy to walk out of your cage. So you get back on and slowly turn the wheel as much as you can not because you want to, not because it’s right, but because it’s all you know how to do anymore.
The COVID19 pandemic didn’t create issues, it exposed every single crack and flaw in our system that we have been ignoring and sweeping under the rug for years, unintentionally or intentionally, for personal gain, or for denial. And not just in our system but in our humanity and societal built routines. On a normal day we convinced ourselves the rush to nowhere meant something. On normal days we ate the toll prices of exorbitant amounts of our salary because “one day we will make enough not to care”. On normal days we are too busy to care. On normal days we are too tired to invest a moment in considering our life choices and paths forward. On normal days we assume eventually we will beat the monetary game of life, and not have to take action now for our economic issues.
Guess what… normal life stopped, our brains got some time to breath, and we didn’t like what we saw in the mirrors. We are gluttonous stockpiling toilet paper for no reason other than fear. We are in dire need of that toll money we ignored and said nothing about as it kept going up and up, just to make rent now.
We have a system that will allow companies with millions and billions to apply for the same benefits as those small bodegas with one cat and one human running it.
We don’t care if that makes it so the small business dies because money runs out and the big company got it. I have been one of those people who applied for a business SBA loan as well as unemployment as a freelancer. I am also one of those people who has not received a stimulus, cannot lookup his stimulus due to the system not wanting to show me. I never do direct deposit because I always pay. I don’t get paid.
Then after the deal was written about the amount small businesses would get as stimulus, they changed it based on employees. So the guy with 9 employees gets the full 10k, 1k per employee, which destroys the impact of that check being helpful for a SMALL business in the first place. And on top of that the guy running a bodega who needs the whole 10k to even begin to cover the losses (if it is even enough) now only gets 1k because he owns it by himself. The logic is broken in so many way.
I did not receive business loan money due to it running out and when calling being told “we can’t lookup your claim number, we don’t have anyone’s” and being told to apply for pandemic unemployment by filling out normal unemployment which then denies you(rightfully so as a freelancer) and tells you to “click here” to fill out pandemic unemployment(which covers freelance) but re-routes you to regular unemployment. So for me, someone who was careful to have a saving, I can sit here and witness all the problems in the system and not lose my entire lively hood. I can take a huge hit but not go under. For those paycheck to paycheck, this is it. It is over for them. The government is happy to accept our checks for payments during tax season quickly, but when it comes to paying us…
Our own democracy is fucking us hard. Our representatives are fucking us harder. Our states are doubling down on how hard they can fuck us. When did the states get the right to overrule the federal governments? Because that is what they are doing here, taken federal bail outs for small businesses and changing the rules per state to fill their own coffers.
You should be as mad as Vic:
On top of all of this, instead of coming up with a plan to help those in need we continue to be lead by a leader who cares about his ratings and spreading misinformation and encouraging forms of disruption and action against what is considered “logic”, even if it is in the most fucked of circumstances.
I don’t understand how this of all things doesn’t strip him of his presidency.
It’s like having someone breaking your leg, then telling you to apply to be a surgeon so you can fix the broken leg when you graduate in 8 years, in debt. The broken leg is already here though, the pandemic is just making it clearer, we already ignored the cracks and problems in our system, so for now we are stuck with them to a point. But by god if we don’t learn from this and speak up now when people are trying to make sweeping changes to our countries that are in their own interests not those of the people. The wealth gap and poverty line is about to get 1950s NYC burning barrels, mugged on 5th ave bad. We are on the precipice of ending up in a dystopian future film where the streets are filled with adverts about credits and debt,
while above the smog and rats being skewed on sticks the flying cars park nicely next to the Hunger Games-esque rollers penthouse.
We can’t go back to the way it was. It is irresponsible to even do so. But our leader is telling people to break each other’s legs to distract from the already huge issue of not having enough doctors for all the other broken legs we’ve been hobbling on for the past multitude of years.
This insights protests from people who on a normal day are angry and bitching about going to work, but now are holding up their guns and yelling to get back to it. All while endangering the lives of themselves and others. All while yelling racial slurs.
This man summed it up better than I ever could have:
Meanwhile, other countries are fighting for change in their democracy properly, and with true purpose. Not the lack of hair salons open or their Starbucks name on the cup misspelled.All while maintaining social distancing.Trusting science but also believing in being heard and stopping the pandemic from creating an opportunity for corruption. Make masks. Make real changes. Help the country!https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/20/middleeast/israel-protest-social-distancing-intl/index.html
When a news anchor goes off on a rant like this, you know we have reached a new tipping point for what America even stands for, and I could give to shits if it is CNN or FOX, this is a HUMAN saying HUMAN emotional reactions to the current situation and that is real, that is what we the people feel. More people need to get this mad:
We see parents trying to get their kids through new online schooling only to realize how the education system we have was already the brainchild of a 1st graders science project, excess amount of glue and popsicle sticks poking out from every angle. Failing to actually stay together and in one piece. So of course a piecemeal adhoc system wasn’t going to work when the education system already didn’t know how it was working. So parents and teachers are breaking down, trying to follow the system, and having the system fail them in the time of need.
The children who will never experience prom or graduation. The COVID generation. High school is but a blip on a radar we were all forced to attend. So feel some solace in the fact that you are not alone and you are not missing too much. But yes you are missing it and that sucks. And I’m sorry. I wish you didn’t have to. And I wish our world prepared better for you. But know this: you have the power to change this world. You have the power to take these experiences and let them define your future. Don’t let the mistakes of those before you define what is before you.
We keep saying this pandemic is going to cause PTSD, we already HAVE PTSD. the entire country not having that hamster wheel to run on anymore is causing people to have to feel the effects of that PTSD. It’s like the entire country just came back from a war they didn’t know they were fighting, finding the skin of those they clawed and climbed over to get to where they are now under their nails, unsure how to deal with that horrible reality. All they know is how to feel safe in their routine, cubicle, Starbucks, and instant delivery service on Amazon, that they can’t focus their energy toward what can truly help this country move forward.
Just look at this article that reads more like propaganda for someone who would subconsciously do anything to go back to the way it was than to accept what he just saw as what the world truly was. He is channeling the bad guy from the first matrix that just wanted a Steak dinner, no matter the fact that he now knows it wasn’t real. That sense of normalcy is something we will need to fight to find a better way forward.
See even in his summary of how to become better people he references pop culture and the buzz words you would find in a “10 things about X” buzzfeed click-bait article. Because we don’t seem to understand how to “Marie Kondo” our lives unless there is a Marie Kondo to hold our hand. So while I find his optimism helpful and his words very poignant, I think we need a combination of his approach and mine. A good cop bad cop to reach the masses. A “get off my lawn boomer” and a “Gen whatever”. The “that’s toxic” vs “politically correct”.
The truth is; we need to take a good damn long hard look at the cracks exposed and plug them. And we can’t look to our current pop culture references to achieve it. That was and is part of the problem. That not only includes our societal influences on our daily lives, it includes our environment, our government, and our president.
It’s like basing our next steps off the metrics of this “new today”; a world stuck in their homes, impulse buying off amazon for the dopamine, watching more Netflix, engaging with more live streams for interaction at any level. Eventually people will run out of money and or leave their houses when they can. These “metrics” are tainted toward a, in the grand scheme of things, short term pandemic situation. Our “metrics” have been tainted toward our entire basis of societal consume and conquer “priorities” for centuries. But there is some magic in this “new today”, the people trying different avenues of expression and skill sets due to having the time to explore it. Being given a reprieve from their everyday drain. The glimpse that perhaps you can make that scary ass pivot in life to fulfillment. But it’s only a glimpse right now in a world that is going to change drastically a million more times before we even understand a baseline again. A lot of work and effort and determination from everyone is going to be required to have any sort of change stick.
He did say one thing that I can agree with, which sum-mates to even the smallest actions by the majority of us can make an impact:
“We can do that on a personal scale in our homes, in how we choose to spend our family time on nights and weekends, what we watch, what we listen to, what we eat, and what we choose to spend our dollars on and where. We can do it locally in our communities, in what organizations we support, what truths we tell, and what events we attend. And we can do it nationally in our government, in which leaders we vote in and to whom we give power. If we want cleaner air, we can make it happen. If we want to protect our doctors and nurses from the next virus — and protect all Americans — we can make it happen. If we want our neighbors and friends to earn a dignified income, we can make that happen. If we want millions of kids to be able to eat if suddenly their school is closed, we can make that happen. And, yes, if we just want to live a simpler life, we can make that happen, too.”
So don’t think you have to over throw the government to get them to put your stimulus check and SBA loan above that of the billion dollar company. You don’t even need a gun. You can dictate their actions with your the simplest gesture: closing your wallet. Hitting them in the coffers is the most devastating weapon in your arsenal. And you were just given a limited but potent case of bullets thanks to what has just happened. Use them wisely.
But unlike the writer of that article, I don’t share his “humanity is inherently good” sentiment. The hypocrisy of what we see in this country in particular is appalling.
“My Body, My Choice” ONLY when it applies to them, is the common string here. Advocates of many other things that limit women’s rights and peoples rights in general. We won’t get off on that tangent, but the history is here.
This pandemic showed us one thing people can’t seem to comprehend, but need to start, and quickly: no matter what religion, creed, nationality, sexual preference, country you come from, at the end of the day you are a meat sack susceptible to a virus like everyone else. No matter how many guns you carry or racial slurs you scream, you will be brought to your knees if infected like the rest of us.
So stop looking toward “party lines” and start looking toward human survival and decency. But alas this is a pipe dream I and the creator of Startrek made up. The reality is, at the end of this, even with the sweeping changes to the world, most people will run back to spent their 10$ on a shitty coffee from Starbucks even if they can’t even afford their mortgage anymore due to not getting your business loans, or unemployment check. Historically we as a people forget the past.
I can write, yell, and advocate for days in hopes for a better tomorrow. Until it is actions and not words, we are destined to repeat history until we’ve destroyed the very ground we stand on just for the almighty dollar and the ideal of power.
And I will say this, as an American, I am embarrassed to be an American. Not just because of irresponsible protests, price gouging, and “party wars” versus “people helping”, but because we have made very little progress on mobilizing our ability to deal with this crisis due to our own hang ups with financial red tape and someone not getting their next bonus.
Hopefully with enough glass half empty and half full coming together, eventually we will realize that pooling the water together spreads the disease faster and we need a new damn expression to move forward.
When you’ve been contemplating a pandemic or world crisis your entire life(I watched terminator 2 17 times in a row in a 3 day period as a kid) and one finally happens…
1 of two things happens first: you don’t believe it and go into mental paralysis. You can physically survive and do it well but your mind jumbles for a bit.
The Second wave you question every life choice you have ever made and you begin to take actions to re-invest your skillset that allows you to thrive in horrible times like these to take actions to change the world. I don’t know if that will be the role of an activist, expression through art, etc. but I do know I am hyper aware during these situations allowing me to quickly think of my feet without falter. All the things that make life feel overwhelming in normal times slow down and become skills in times like these for me.
It can be metaphorically explained as why most of my first dates fail: I can share 1000 things about my most intimate self within seconds of meeting someone, not because I am over sharing or obsessing but because I don’t find it to be that intimate and it’s just a small conversation of a very layered onion. Social standards have deemed it to be bad form that way however. And people freak. I don’t love you. I don’t even care about you yet. I just like to skip the bullshit small talk and openly talk about who we are now, today, in relation to our past and hopeful future. But I am understanding that the only mitigating factor in truly knowing someone is time. As much to my dismay.
My entire life has felt like a pandemic with how I treat my short time on this planet. I think quick. Share heavily. Take on strong opinions. Speak up for others (often getting me in trouble) And take action quickly.
True anxiety(not oh my day was stressful), which I suffer, hasn’t even been a thought in my mind these last few weeks. The world is moving at the speed of my anxiety. And I am sitting here watching others like our president completely fuck it up and all I want to do is step up with my fight or flight response and slow the world down for majority of people so they can actually see it how it needs to be and is: calculated. My mind has slowed down like slow motion in a film. Or when you get into an accident and the world appears to slow time itself. This allows me to navigate the over abundance of everything around me.
I’ve pre predicted the rushes on stores, supplies, and quarantine times. Thanks to my mind being in a state of overdrive since a young age. Always looking at micro inflection of the people around me for clues on the next reactions, but this time looking at the movement of the world. Which is also why I feel as though I have the most trouble going back to “normal” or “productive” forms of “getting ahead” like others seem to be able to do in this new day with their Zoom classes, etc. I’m seeing a larger problem. Taking on the feelings of a larger group. Seeing the failures of a larger scale of society. I don’t care about how many views my next YouTube video gets. Or if social media is updated. We are living a rare moment in history where we got to see the world STOP. And it revealed/continues to reveal all the cracks and problems with our systems, structures, and societal disparities. What we do now is so goddamn important. I don’t want to go back to what we were before COVID-19. I want to be better.
I see so clearly now, a different view, but I can’t do it alone. Now is when I will judge humanity the hardest. Will your compassion and sympathy turn off the minute it ends, like 9/11 where we united until we didn’t have to? Now is when I look to my fellow human not as someone I will pass by on a regular day and cordially nod my head at; but as someone who I can trust with my life or someone who will put my life in danger. I have zero patience for the inability to adapt or see reality for what it is. I no longer give the benefit of the doubt to stupidity. I no longer sugar coat the foibles of the world. The shine is gone. The cracks are clear. If you don’t see them now and have an inner fire to want to change the world for the better of humanity not a party line or piece of paper with “value”, I don’t much care for you anymore.
I’ve dreamt of disasters. I’ve imagined the worst case scenarios. And even though we are not in that worst case yet, this pandemic has unveiled that we as humans are failing each other and things have to change. I for one plan to be part of that change. If this isn’t a wake up call, you’re deaf.
America is no longer “the new kid at school” giving off that fresh look and appeal. It is a shit stain on the national stage. I’m not even sure if America is American anymore. Or was it ever? Has the base of America been hiding quietly waiting to follow their “cult leader” and finally the true colors are free to be bright? Or have we just fallen and need others to remind us why we are who we are in the first place. Why democracy is our strength not the weakness it is proving to be in this pandemic.
We can’t fight what we have done to this point. But we can sure as hell fight when we come out of it to prepare for it in the future. We can stop coddling those who are sinking the ship. We can stop “blocking” those who hurt our feelings and rather figure out how to coexist. We need to stop hiding behind the constitution as a way to be worse, not better. For example: You cannot be a Nazi and an American.
We need to come out fighting everything that is endangering our lives as a species.
And that is what we need: fighters. Not sheep. Not complacency. Not “comfort” of the consumer treadmill. Not a new iPhone. But actual change to the foundation of our society based off humanity and those who wish to contribute to the betterment of it. And it will be hard, and be met with resistance, and break you over and over. But perhaps this time, we can make a difference before the problem instead of having to “live with the consequences of our actions or inaction”.
We need to learn from our mistakes. Acknowledging the hamster wheel of “fortune” causing great disparity in income and poverty. “Keeping up with the Jones” becoming toxic. The country should not have 3 people, or less than 10 entities that count for the entirety of the wealth of 150 million. Not that they didn’t work for it. But they shouldn’t have had to work for that much disparity in the first place. The importance of human relations not income. And the fact that we strive for LOVE and happiness as children, but end up like Bill Gates, chasing money and power, and who recently acknowledged money means nothing(although considering how much he has this is a very hypocritical statement, but there is truth in it). Running the human engine dry to become wealthy so we have time to love at all is counter productive to living life in the short time given on earth. We shouldn’t have to “afford” to love. We should just love.
So what will you do when this is “done”? Go back to Clawing your fellow human’s flesh and bones to get to the top of the figurative consumer ladder or figure out a way to vote for humanity and not party lines and cash?
I see very clearly. And I need others around me who see the same. And no, not the conspiracies and fears, but the truths inside and outside of them. Not oblivious to the propaganda, but aware of the media and how it is shaping views. The ability to see within the castle walls but leave the comforts of them to understand the people outside who make the castle possible in the first place.
We need to re-evaluate the need for a castle at all.
We call those inside the walls them and then there is us. They call us them and their-selves us. There needs to just be us.
“And go the Fools among” has been tattooed on my arm for many years. And finally the Fool who has been quietly watching and joking the truth for so long wishes to stop joking and turn his knowledge and worldly views into actions to better society.
My name is Tristan and I am a photographer/director and hopeful romantic. I am here sharing my writing, a journal entry to myself with the intent of others reading it. I talk in a very open stream of consciousness. Feel free to get lost.