Day 201, gray with upcoming nightmare

CW: Pandemic, quarantine, US politics

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We’ve had cloudy, rainy weather for the past several days but it feels unreal, like something I’m watching in a movie. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t go out in it or if it’s because I’ve only left the apartment 3x or if it’s because my government acts like a villainous organization from a movie and actual, real live people here think that’s okay.

We’re fully in fall. I can see the leaves changing from my window, but I can’t go looking for the maples and their brilliant oranges. I want to take a mountain drive but I definitely do not want to risk the gas station. And I have to find emotional time and space to yell at senators and representatives to NOT fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s empty seat before the inauguration. (I know how sneaky some folks can be. Not enough to say wait until election.)

Another thing about fall: it’s allergy season for me. The season of swollen eyes and random moments of teary eyes. I miss getting my allergy shots, as weird as that sounds.

And all of this is just smoke screen to NOT think about the fact that the election is 36 days away, and there’s a debate tonight, and no matter what’s said it’s all awful we’re here.

As if it isn’t enough that a literal million people have died from this terrible disease as of yesterday. Day 200. One. Million.

Fuck, I’m terrified.

Day 180, with simultaneous fear and joy

This freaking world is both terrifying and hopeful. I posted this on Facebook, but figure it’s worth repeating publicly.

CN: discussion of quarantine
Also, this is long, so if you don’t have the bandwidth to read a lot, skip to the 3rd pgph from the bottom.
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I did the math and noted that today it is 180 days since I went into quarantine. Since March 12th, I’ve been out of the house (that is, for more than just a brief dog-walk when Jon couldn’t do it) only four times –

1) to Costco during their “senior and immune-compromised” hours (wow did we regret that, bloody seniors getting in our faces even when we were backing away),
2) to the highest point in my city, during the way-late hours of the evening, to see if we could see comet NEOWISE (we couldn’t, and after 10 minutes I ended up going back to the car because I couldn’t see people to avoid them),
3) across the city to drop off a housewarming package to a friend who just moved and whose old landlord had thrown away all her stuff,
4) to a dog beach where I assumed I might have to stay in the car and just look at the water, but everyone there was social distancing and the vast majority were wearing masks. (We still only stayed for 2 hrs.)

But I’ve also been vaguely freaked out just going around the apartment, since our upstairs neighbor (with whom we share a foyer and a basement) doesn’t mask or social distance when she goes out to chat with the garbage pickup folks – or, for that matter, when she chats with us. I love her, but it’s kinda scary.

It’s weird to live at this level of paranoia, where even our own doorknobs, even our trash cans, are suspect. I wear gloves every day to change out the “cold drinks” cooler and snacks bin we leave out for delivery folks, because these folks are risking their lives every day and it’s literally the least we can do, but I worry because we ran out of disinfectant for the drinks themselves. I wonder: am I asymptomatic? Am I endangering folks more by doing this?

Then I look out the window and see folks walking around our neighborhood with no masks, and I realize I am doing my best in a world where people are fucking selfish (and racist and ableist and and and). I see so many of my friends and family doing their best in the face of nightmarish conditions where meeting their basic needs is so fraught that they can’t do it without massive work on their part (and yknow there are a LOT of them), and I think…

It’s come to this. The empathetic vs the self-absorbed, in a fight for how to live.

That said, that fight is less one-sided than I thought. Sure, I’ve got a bubble I’m living in, but honestly it’s a pretty freaking big bubble, and the folks within it are fierce and strong and steadfast.

Folks who are struggling? You give me hope. You give me more fight. Because even when you rant or feel badly, you remind me that yes, there are a LOT of people who care deeply about the world we live in.

So to my friends who are fighting, struggling, flailing, just trying to figure out how to be and breathe in this world…

Thank you. I love you. Keep fighting. If you need something I can give, I’ve got you.

Day 147, with… well, everything.

CW: pandemic, explosions, death, chronic illness

One of the aspects of this timeline I’m struggling with right now is having to hold multiple intense emotions at once. The multiple horrors here in America, pandemic-related and too many others. The horrific explosions in Beirut. India’s rising COVID numbers.

But someone’s suing the NRA. Protests are not stopping, not in Oregon and not here (thankyouthankyou). Zimbabwe is rising against Mnangagwa. Michelle Obama is normalizing pandemic depression. I’m seeing stigmas fought on so many axes.

At home, I have to write. I have to work. I can’t go anywhere. I am required to depend upon people who are being mistreated, or become terribly ill. I’m having a difficult time concentrating. The storm season is making my body ache much worse than usual. I had a nasty flashback two days ago due to a story I read, and I’m having a tough time recovering from it because I don’t have my usual resources.

But I am on staycation. Hanging out in my front yard was surprisingly delightful, watching the ordinary birds do their ordinary things after they got used to us. I’ll do more of that later today.

It’s not “one emotion per paragraph,” either. Each thing has at least one ferocity in my heart and throat; some have many. There is so so much to talk about and raise up and…

It’s a work. It’s a hard, hard work.

I am sending so much love to people who are sharing this struggle, and gratitude to those who are bulldozing through it.

Day 136, with both Freedom and Unfreedom

CW: pandemic, fascism, kidnapping, sexual abuse

This was going to be a post about feeling freed from a long burden. About the moment where you know, really deep in your gut know, that your abuser can never, ever touch you again. That kind of freedom. But given that people in Portland Oregon are being snatched off the street by unidentified people in unmarked cars and not being Mirandized or given their rights to a call?*

I mean, holy fuck. I can’t talk about freedom from my horrors in that context. That’s both the nightmare I used to have about my abusers** and the stuff you watch in spy movies about dictatorships or unstabilized countries.

We’re officially an unstabilized country. Not just unofficially, ‘we sweep it under the rug’ unstabilized. Everyone knows, now.

That First Amendment was first for a reason. If the highest office in the country is not honoring that, we can basically wipe our asses with the rest of the Constitution, because it’s all going to be at his whim.

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* I know this happened for marginalized folk and asylum seekers before now, and I am so sorry I didn’t truly recognize that until 44.5 got in.

** Not just a ‘bad dreams’ nightmare, but an actual discussion I would have with certain friends. Friends with guns. To make sure there was someone who could try to find me if it did happen. That’s how bad the PTSD was.

Day 100, and holy CRAP

8.5 million cases worldwide. 2.2M in the US.

Well over 450K dead. 120K of which are in the US.

We’ve been seeing spikes because of Memorial Day weekend openings.

Because people couldn’t wait. Let alone mask.

Protests continue for the fourth weekend. Confederate statues and portraits are coming down. But people are guarding others. With guns.

Juneteenth was celebrated nationally yesterday. It has become a state holiday in many states, including New York. But racism still abounds in many places.

Breonna Taylor’s murderer was fired but no charges have yet been filed. She was murdered the same day we started quarantine here, and still no charges.

I am truly, deeply hoping that justice comes, and comes with her sword.

Day 86, with # Black Lives Matter

This thing, which should not even be a contentious statement, is the reason for the full week of massive protests here in Philadelphia, in America, and even the world. I support all the BLM protesters under all conditions.

ALL conditions.

….

If you are reading this and the statement Black Lives Matter is somehow uncomfortable to you, ask yourself:

“Why would someone feel an intense need to assert that their life matters in this country? And why would they believe I don’t think that their lives matter?”

And fucking sit with that.

If you can’t see it, you’re deliberately not looking.

If you finally see it?

Read “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and realize this is not even the tip of the iceberg: this is a white woman’s perspective and she doesn’t even break ground on this; this is the easiest possible starting place. Then go read “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo.

Realize that these two books are just the start of a VERY long life of unlearning the unconscious bias that has been fed to you.

Then read everything on the Schomburg Center Black Liberation Reading List.

If you’re on Twitter and you follow Black people like Bree Newsome Bass or Charles M. Blow or Imani Gandy, don’t reply! Just freaking read. Just listen. It does not matter if you think they’re wrong.

No, really, it doesn’t. They’ve lived through a lot more than you have in this regard.

And for the love of all that is holy, stop giving Shaun King money until he actually finishes something he’s started.

New Moon Rant – v1

CN: this is about the virus.

Some people say that humans are all relatively similar on a base level Рthat we all want the same things. Survival, safety, love, belonging, pleasure, self-esteem. That we can understand each other better if we understand that. Maslow, Grawe, Gagn̩ and so so many more Рpsychologists have delved into this in detail for ages.

What I’m realizing with great clarity right now is that the definition of the terms seriously matters.

Right now, a lot of people across the world are fighting for survival. Literally millions of people. And right beside them are people trying to help them survive.

And then there are the people who say that wearing a mask, or social distancing, is “living with fear” and so they won’t do it.

Now I get that some people can’t breathe with a mask or have health issues that make this difficult. I’m not talking about those folks. I’m also not talking about the hoaxers. Those poor people are either massively deceived or brainwashed or both*.

I’m talking about folks who believe masks should be optional. That social distancing should be optional. That they should be able to go anywhere they want without a mask and other people can wear masks if they’re so scared, because they’re not going to live in fear.

…. um.

Now I’m not scared of the world; I’m scared of THEM.

Because honest to every freaking god there is, SHOULDN’T we be AFRAID TO KILL PEOPLE? Even accidentally? Isn’t that what morality is about?

I seriously can’t anymore.

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*Cmon I’m giving people the benefit of the doubt here.

Day 63, with Allergies

4th day of allergic sniffle-snuffle tearstreamingTM, all while sitting inside the house.

Yet ANOTHER annoying thing about this quarantine is that if I’m gonna swell enough to look like the Claymation version of myself, I’d like to be able to be out in the pollen-swept airs of spring. Even if it made me worse, at least I’d be able to touch the new leaves and the rising saps. Pfeh.

Not gonna go out, of course. Claritin and me are gonna be BFFs for the next little while, and I think I can convince myself I’m not gonna die and there’s gonna be another spring.

Now if only other people in this world didn’t struggle to make that less likely for our more vulnerable populations. grr.