Yesterday felt like a commonly-experienced Challenging Day, at least I saw a lot of like-minded social posts about how things were kind of sad/exhausting/anxious for a lot of people. I kept getting drawn to news stories about young and healthy people getting terribly sick and/or dying and I realize these make for sensationalist, scroll-stopping topics at the moment and I should refocus on the statistics and just do what I can to keep my family healthy because what else can I do, but also: a tight knot of fear in my chest that just never goes away now.

As more and more people become infected I have this strange mental image of objects dropping from the sky, more and more as every day goes by. Maybe you are spared, maybe one collides with your skull, maybe you get grazed, maybe your loved one is killed right next to you.

There seems to be no sense to why these things are striking people but of course it’s not completely random, there are all these micro-patterns placing people in harm’s way, and randomness seems terrifying but it seems even worse to believe we have some tiny amount of control. I can’t stop thinking about the people who are choosing to be the most at risk right now — or are without choice because they are considered an essential worker — and how healthcare providers and grocery clerks and restaurant employees and delivery people are out there every day while I huddle in isolation.

I could tell you that I am enormously blessed, blessed to have a remote job and a house filled with creature comforts and a lifestyle that’s fairly adaptable. You could take that word blessed and replace it with privileged and it would be every bit as true, and how fair is that, if the reason I dodge these pieces of falling sky is because of the world being stacked in my favor despite all the crappy life choices I’ve made?

There’s this quote from The Unforgiven: “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” I am not a spiritual person, so I suppose that is what I believe: that life is not driven by any sort of karmic justice.

It seems like I should be able to feel some ease from that, a surrender from my endless toxic inner dialogue, but it’s one more reason I have a hard time taking a deep breath right now. It’s another beat in the jungle drums that sound a bit louder every day.

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I’ve seen the memes comparing what we’re all experiencing right now to the stages of grief and that does seem pretty accurate, a sort of looping nonlinear ride through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, then whooooaaaah back to denial, and on it goes.

Today I woke up feeling pretty bleak and I know that’s temporary but it’s definitely shadowing my view at the moment. What a thing it is to see HALF-MILLION INFECTED WORLDWIDE in large type on the local paper and reading endless accounts of misery and anxiety and living in a country with a president who keeps opening that despicably creepy blowfish mouth of his to say we’ll all be back on track by Easter.

I have been remembering this ridiculous night, years and years and years ago, when I was out with friends and we were all enormously high on LSD, and my friend Gabby kept talking about The Bog. The details of that evening have largely escaped me but she was basically having a bad trip which she could only articulate as The Bog, and she would be okay one minute and in The Bog the next. Get out of The Bog, Gabby! we’d say, and she would sort of come around then bam, she’d be knee-deep again, totally paralyzed. The Booooooooog, she’d moan.

So I guess the only thing we can all do right now is try and stay out of The Bog. It’s a real thing this time rather than a chemically-induced mess of paranoia and fear, but until we’re actually in it, we have to stay out of it, together.

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