On Writing and Loneliness During a Pandemic

2020 has been a giant raging dumpster fire so far for most of us. I remember first hearing about the virus New Year’s Day. I found out sitting alone in my little apartment. That morning included waking up at a friend’s house where she and her mother both had Norovirus (that’s a stomach bug if you didn’t know) and being extra worried that somehow even though I left and wasn’t that close to them I’d get it too. I was listening to an audiobook (I don’t remember which one) and browsing Reddit. Yep. The first I heard of COVID19 was on Reddit. It was just a Chinese thing then. I remember how my anxiety surged and I told myself in my best self-parenting voice “They always do this. Think about Ebola. It didn’t come here.”

Now 8 months and 2 days later I haven’t been in a building that isn’t my home in 4.5 months. I haven’t hugged any body for at least that long. Not that I live around many people I want to hug, but even if I did – I couldn’t. That’s really messed with my anxiety, because I overreact, right? I make mountains out of molehills. Except this time – what I told myself was wrong. I know this happened to a lot of people, but it’s increased my anxiety – because the voice I used to fight nonsense anxiety off was wrong.

This whole year feels surreal to me. It came in with my friend’s Norovirus that ended up with her elderly mother in the hospital ICU. Then two tornadoes spawned within 30 minutes of me on January 10th. I moved out of the Midwest that same month. Then I got Norovirus here in February. That cost me a week of my life – mostly recovering at home from the dehyrdation. Then March came and it’s only gotten worse sense.

At the beginning of this I told myself I had a job. I had to keep writing – unless the world ended, the government fail, and the internet died. Writing books, social media, and blogging was my job. I’d give people stuff to read and escape into while they were stuck at home. I expected lockdown to last a lot longer. I know that’s a heated subject but I did and I wish it had. Maybe things would’ve been different and lives would’ve been saved. I’m not a scientist, but it just seems like common sense.

Now, the world feels more surreal every time I log onto social media. People are out and about. Not even always wearing masks. Some days until I talk to a few other friends who are doing their best to social distance and stay home I wonder if I’ve lost my mind and I’m overreacting. I look at the number of cases and deaths and remind myself I haven’t. That we are in the middle of a pandemic.

I have a few writer friends who haven’t been able to write a damn thing since this started and that’s okay too. This shit is hard and real and raw and I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t at least known someone body now who’s had it. Hell, all but one of the people I talk to daily has lost someone to it. Myself included.

So, I write. I write because I want to give people something to read, I want to keep a schedule to keep my sanity. Mostly I write because what the hell else am I going to do?

Usually before I write a blog I have a plan for what it will be about. This time I only had a vague idea and it even derailed from there. Maybe I just needed to shout in the voice. Maybe someone out there is feeling that surreal feeling from being inside or so ‘socially’ distant from others while so many aren’t doing that and just need to be reminded they’re not crazy.

If that’s you: Hello! Welcome! Sit down. What are you reading today? Tried anything new since all the chaos broke out?

As always, stay safe and healthy out there.

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