Pandemic Journal 1

It’s 10:58, Sunday night. I’m writing this because, earnestly, I don’t know what else to do.

At the present moment I’m filled with a handful of emotions, some conflicting, some not. They’re all coming from different places, but for whatever reason they’ve all coalesced, ganging up on my psyche and eventually beating it down enough so that I’ll do… this.

So here’s what I feel.

For starters, terrified. This, perhaps, is the most understandable emotion right now. I’ve never been so sure that I’m not the only one feeling a specifically horrific tightness in their chest. The world right now is apocalyptic. But not a cinematic apocalypse — more of a slow, uninteresting one. A pandemic threatens to off thousands (hundreds of thousands) of us daily, and things feel so normal.

Yet everytime I have to go outside to walk my dog, I am utterly gripped by how it all feels. It’s surreal. Am I dissisociating? Even asking that question feels like a confirmation. I’ll look up at my neighbors houses, at the flicks of light in the sky, or the moon, or hear noise in the distance, and just think about the humanity behind all of it — either directly, or in a supremey artst-abstract way. The concept of it all. What it all means. It’s an never-ending existentialist crisis that duplicates by the day.

At first, I took comfort in the way people looked at each other in the prologue of tragedy. Walking and seeing how people were reacting. Seeing the pharmacist smile politely, as always, but with a little more earnestness. The genuine care in how people moved about. The fear — so transparent — from people significantly older than me, pride and a duty to remain calm replaced with just honesty.

People seeing people — seeing humanity. It felt refreshing, for all of a day.

But the crushing weight of mortality — of mine and everyone else’s — is just too much. I push it away, but it inevitably creeps back in. My mind is strong, and I know my anxiety at this moment is logical, but I don’t see how I make it through a year of this without requiring some serious therapy. I know I won’t be the only one, but that hardly makes me feel comforted.

I feel nostalgic. It’s the same nostalgia I’ve always simultaneously nursed and ran from, a desire to return to a warmth and comfort of a decade ago or more, sitting in my room and recapturing all the memories that still play through my head. The places and people that meant something to me, some virtual, some not, can never be returned to. Not really. I can sort of fool myself, temporarily, but eventually reality creeps in. This makes me feel pathetic. I have so much in the present, yet it’s the pull of a care-free time that keeps trying to rip me back. I know I can’t have it, and I know it isn’t uncommon or unhealthy to miss memories so strongly.

And yes, within that nostalgia is a deep desire to move on. To find mindfullness and structure in the present. I know — truly know — that the moments I’m living in right now, as I write this, are the sort of thing I will inevitably also want to return to. I don’t want to relive the same things with the same people. I want new experiences, surely.

I know none of this is rare, I know it is a very common experience.

Yet, it feels shameful.

I feel creatively bankrupt.

Not in the sense of seeing myself as without the ability to be creative, or as seeing my creations as garbage or derivative.

More in the sense of just feeling utterly disconnected and unsure of what I’d like to do, or how I’d like to do it. Writing is always there, and I always feel comfortable with that aspect of myself, but my other creative endeavors feel so far from me. Do I even want to have anything to do with them? I don’t know. I’ve struggled to try to connect with music for a long time, but the older I get, the more I entertain the idea that it’s a fleeting novelty for me. That my desire to create (in this space, at least) is also nostalgic — an inability to let go of something from so long ago. I wanted to do it once, so clearly I want to do it now. Something like that.

I feel silly.

All of this feels so angsty, so beyond me. Do 30-year-olds really sit down and write out their feelings like this? Do they really wax poetic about all of their diferent emotions and how they’re feeling them? I’m pushing myself to 15 years ago, and there I am, in front of a CRT tapping away at LiveJournal.

I used to feel just like this, then. Slightly different, but the same general feelings are still there. It’d come to me every so often, and really dig my heart out. In a way, that connection between me now and me then is somehow comforting. I almost have tears in my eyes typing this. It’s a weird, familiar melancholy.

God, I’m so embarassed. I shouldn’t share this.

But the reality is I’m sure a lot of people are going through their thoughts right now, and doing their best to inventory them. There’s no harm in being a little self-indulgent right now.

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