A strange time, a long year–being secluded. For many out of us, life went on–families still needed attention, bills had to be paid.
We put on a good face, as they say, soldiered on, got angry on social media, ranted, #humblebragged when the occasion allowed, cried in public, vis a vis, again, SM. Some of us wrote, others even published. Some got promoted or were tenured. Others lost jobs, got stuck in the cog wheels of nasty politics, were overwhelmed. Life marched on and many were left feeling alone, abandoned.
Personally, in 2017, after decades, a lifetime, I stopped writing. In 2018 I had a talk with myself and decided to resume working on the poetry collection I started in 2012. I’ve been of the mind, that for me, it takes about a decade to complete a full collection. In the following two years I stayed at it, albeit, with much determination not to forsake the project when times of personal anguish were present. In 2020, having put together a manuscript, I submitted it to an editor, along with a drawing or two. (Drawing has sustained me through much of the isolation and unsteadiness of the times.)
As mentioned previously in this blog, MY BOOK OF THE DEAD I feel a task I set before me is now accomplished. The cloth edition debuts September 1. Meanwhile,
I’ve moved on to writing new short fiction. ‘Baby steps,’ as it were. By the end of the year, I believe my ol’ prolific self will be back full force. This determination comes with a lifetime of struggling for all that I’ve wanted and need to overcome. Depression can hit anyone and at anytime and is attributed to many things. It’s foolish to say you may only be depressed if you’ve had a terrible shock or only White people get depressed or you tell family they shouldn’t be depressed because you’re not depressed and you have so many burdens on you, so what’s their problem? Or depression is equivalent to being loco/a. Or it’s something to be ashamed about. These days, for more reasons than ever, people are depressed. They have been isolated. They have lost jobs, behind on bills, kids at home need 24/7 care, etc. People around us that we know and care about, are dying and not just of COVID. Climate change has taken entire towns, effected us, the planet is so many ways. In other words, you name it.
Now, if you have the resources and if not, I hope you find them, there is help. There are remedies. One solution doesn’t always work, try another. Not everything works for everyone. If you are reading this, please reach out to someone you trust to assist.
Secondly, ‘baby steps.’ Set small, reachable goals. Work at doable tasks. Don’t diminish the worthiness of each accomplishment. If it’s house cleaning, or getting to work on a given day or finishing an application, note it.
Third, while still waiting for vaccines–remember things you enjoy–all the stuff that you liked once upon a time, when you go through so much trouble to prepare food, sit down, taste it, enjoy it. Remember your rituals. If your church is closed, find a way to observe your faith. Food, water, spirit, compassion, these are the essentials.
Vaccines are on their way. If you made it through the tunnel of quarantining for a year, see the light. Soon: See your family. Make a plan. Visit with an old friend.
Not everyone’s struggles are the same. Not everyone has experienced the same degree of loss. But we’ve all been through a lot.
Even if you respond to these questions in your head or, perhaps, go to your journal, it’s important to consciously reflect so as to move forward:
Over the last year, what have you learned? What have you lost?
Is there anything you’ve gained–in experience? What do you now appreciate that you didn’t (as much) before?
What is at the top of your list to do after you get vaccinated? Why? How will do change you?
What was on your Bucket List a long time ago? Review, revise, what will you accomplish? Look at it as a second lease on life. Good luck, much love & stay safe!