My car starts alerting me when the gas tank is below a certain amount, I don’t know the specifics but it’s definitely a conservative system built around the sort of person who will stubbornly keep driving, enduring the startup low fuel alarm BLEEEEEEEP again and again while thinking “Oh, it’s just a quick trip to the grocery store” until the needle is finally hovering in an area that cannot be ignored.

I feel like I have been living in that orange empty-tank zone for a longish time now, aware of a distant clamor of warning tones but sitting idle because hey! There is no gas to be found.

It’s hard to write because I feel empty of words, corked up by all the things I can’t talk about while carved clean of lighter fare. It’s hard to read because I feel incapable of focusing, my mind drawn to far more compelling activities like staring blankly out the window. It’s hard to think about anything but the same hit parade of sorrow and worries that’s been on repeat since last March.

There is, in the mess of all of this, a whole lot to be thankful for. I try to think about things like that, I even have a little gratitude journal app that prompts me to jot down “3 AMAZING THINGS THAT HAPPENED TODAY” and I dutifully fill it in each night even if I end up typing “I WASHED MY HAIR.” (This is actually a fairly significant and dare I say even amazing occasion because my default scalp status these days is at least 90% Batiste.)

There are also things to be hopeful for, of course. I’m hopeful about having a new president and a vaccine, I’m hopeful that 2020 will truly stand out in the history books and that we aren’t just staring down a new year’s barrel of More, But Worse. I’m hopeful we all find more and more chances to fill our tanks from all sorts of sources as we endure and adapt and even flourish.

But mostly I am ready to move on from the orange-light deadzone, this long airless stall of me.

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