One of the most traumatic moments of my life was the day that my 4th Grade teacher decided to explain to us that one day a pandemic like Ebola would strike and threaten us all. She decided to tell children this was something we would face. Because of that lesson I had an outright panic attack that day. I became convinced I was going to die. There are elements of that trauma I’ve never confessed before like how for weeks afterwards I was certain I would not wake up after I went to sleep. I’ve obsessively washed my hands ever since.
That was 25 years ago.
So… here we are. Staring down that very thing my teacher discussed. It’s not ebola but it’s something. And I need to use this space I’ve got carved out here to talk.
How am I doing right now? I’m going with okay. I think I’m okay. I know that changes and it’s an average but I think for now I’m at a decent level. I can live with this basically for now.
But it’s going to get worse. I know it will. I know the quarantining will get more intense. I know the death rate will spike. Someone I know will get it. Someone I know may die. The economy may be irrevocably altered.
And all of these things scare me. Right now when everything is at least normal adjacent I can function. But what happens when it’s not? I don’t know. I don’t know who I’ll be. And I’m as scared of that as anything. I’m scared I’m weak for sure.
I wish I could be the pure moralist I’m seeing emerge online. The person who tells everyone what do do. But I can’t be that person. Was I at a Wingstop for pickup today? Guilty. Will I be at at least one liquor store or gas station or grocery store in the next few days? Guilty. I won’t be “the good person” I need to be all the time in the coming weeks. I’m going to at some point have a meltdown about something very petty and make someone very angry. I’m going to make my family annoyed with me.
And I’m scared about real things too. Maybe I’m scared of those the most. I’m scared of losing my job. I’m scared of losing a loved one. My dad is 72. I can’t put my head in the sand here. I’m scared of how things I love will be affected which might belong in the petty factor but not for me.
What I do believe is this. There’s going to be a moment after. And it lies between now and then. I have to trust I will get there.
But right now, I see the storm clouds in the sky. The rain is coming. And I can’t escape it.