I Ain't Blowing Sunshine Up Anybody's Wazoo Today - My Covid 6.5 Boot
Updated: 2 days ago
3/24/20 - Written for Medium
Nope. Not gonna do it. There are plenty of other people to do that right now. Go half a click online and you won’t be able to help tripping over five or fifty inspirational, motivational “We’re all in this together,” “Fight the good fight,” “Stay strong,” or entertaining shares designed to Keep Up Our Spirits. (I will include a list of my favorite inspirational forces of nature at the bottom. And I did share my humor playlist the other day.)
But that’s not what I’m about today.
Tomorrow? Perhaps. Heck, maybe even in a few hours once I’ve blown off this charge.
But as I write this…I am HACKED OFF.
And that is something we’re not supposed to express out here in the well-crafted face of the social medias. (Kinda like the Walmarts, but online. And requiring far less hand sanitizer. That only 34 people now possess. 28 of whom also have all the toilet paper. 3 of whom are selling it at $500 a pop.)
I stand corrected. It is righteously correct (rightfully so) if I rail against all the people out there still partying in hoards and weakening their immune systems, thus potentially killing people with less likelihood to survive the ICU when some unenviable soul in the medical field has to choose between saving your spry (*insert alllll the adjectives here*) ass and someone wiser, kinder, with better life skills, and 80 year old lungs.
It is also deemed righteously correct if I rant against varied individuals “To Blame.”
Ooooh, or if I rail about those dozen jerks throwin’ some ‘bows in the grocery store aisles. That is fine and righteous, too, (even though I was the asshole who tripped that poor sucker so my wife would have time to snatch the last eggs).
There are several other instances in which my lack of positivity could be viewed as enflamed, galvanizing, and educational RAWR — therefore, a harder, sharper breed of positivity.
What I’m not supposed to do is bare my teeth and snap at people who have just lost their jobs or who are terrified that this is what’s coming down the pipe for them. I’m not supposed to flip middle fingers at those who have awakened to find themselves in the morass of depression because they’ve never experienced social isolation before.
And in reality, I’m not.
My heart is over-plumped with all-the-feels for anybody in a rough situation. I’m an empath. I eat compassion for breakfast and crap out Love, even for “mine enemies.” I’ve always been that way. Hopefully I always will be.
Speaking up about the vitriol that builds inside me, instead of stuffing it and letting it fester and fester and fester until it either implodes or explodes is one of the ways I ensure that.
Because I am also stressed. Yup, I just had my entire ass-saving grand plans obliterated by a microscopic badass. My customary level of isolation has just gone through the roof instead of lingering around the ceiling like normal. Oh, and I’m human.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about this for days.
I know what I’m supposed to be doing right now. I’m supposed to be getting onto FB Live and creating humorous videos and doling out free samples of my perpetually stalled online school’s tawdry wares like baggies in the concert parking lot.
I’m supposed to war profiteer — I mean, virus profiteer. I mean, I’m supposed to do my home-based version of Red Cross support.
Well, I am. Today, mine just happens to come with a wallop-packing 6.5-wide boot. Because I need to say this. It’s just as valid of a stressor as anybody else’s, and I’m not one lone, annoying cricket in the dark. (I know this, because My Kind and I have been gnashing our teeth about it for weeks.)
So…yes, once again I shall take one for the team, blasting down the door of “You can’t do that!” with a mighty, “Watch me!”
Will I take the full brunt of the return fire in the chest, then wave my tiny flag, face-down in the muck as 834 feet trample over my back to storm the joint?
Iz wut I do.
Because there is a small hoard of us quietly watching these shenanigans with a tub of popcorn in our laps, and we’re feeling a little vindicated, yet simultaneously affronted with our big middle fingers raised.
Am I talking about preppers? Nope. They have their own type of popcorn and a handy excuse to do trials of their solar corn poppers. In fact, I’m fully aware that I will be bowing down and groveling with my resume of Idjit Offered Services extended to my prepper friends, should the dookie ever fully splatter. I kiss really good (sincere) butt when I’m inspired by someone badass, I love to work hard and learn new sick skillz, I make a mean omelette (for those smart enough to have their own chickens), and I come pre-loaded with centuries of entertainment modes for the EMPed masses.
Know what else I’m really good at?
Being flexible. Rewriting my entire life’s plan on a dime. Again. And once more. Getting really creative. Being obliterated and rebuilding. Saying, “Bite me, don’t tell me I can’t just because I’m disabled!” and tenaciously hanging onto what I desire most with the shreds of the two claws I have left.
When there is a mountain in the middle of my road, I will find a way around that sucker. Or over. Or under. Or through. And if I don’t possess the tools sharp and hard enough to blast and tunnel through it, I will figure out a way to teleport or die trying.
That’s what I’m doing right now. Nothing new there.
This week was supposed to be about pitching to a place whose motto is Art, Nature & Education, and its satellite, Art, Nature & Architecture. Go me!
They’re both closed until further notice.
In order to apply for a small business assistance through Voc. Rehab, I have to get a new neurospych exam, seeing as how I’ve had 3 other brain traumas since the initial one. Awesome news — I’ve been asking for this since 2013. Go me!
I won’t get to take it until the world begins operating again.
Other stuff has happened to throw monkey wrenches into my ability to save my own ass, and so it’s just a little chapped right now.
Trust me, I’m right there with ya.
Yet this morning, I woke up frothing at the mouth — and not about my situation. That’s just something I work on every day. No, this rant has been coming for some time, and I need to get it out of my system so I can go on with all the projects I actually want to do. I’ve been having warning tremors and little shoots of noxious steam venting from the volcano sides. My crater has been smoking for weeks.
What happened 3–4 weeks ago? I started gathering extra food at my grocery trips, suspecting that people were about to lose their ever lovin’ minds.
As I’ve watched this dookiestorm come down the mountain, I have found myself occasionally laughing that dark chocolate laugh my friends know all too well. A bunch of them laugh this way too, because this MO is nothing new for us.
Our lives haven’t really changed that much.
It doesn’t mean we’re not affected. We are. But we do have certain skills that have been, until now, highly underrated — even denigrated — by a great many people. Hence my butter-glazed middle fingers.
WE’RE INTROVERTS. Entertaining ourselves alone or with an intimate handful of loved ones is what we do. And yet, we’re called down for it all the time. “Antisocial. Hermit. Homebody. Weirdo.”
WE CAN MAKE CONNECTIONS AS EASILY FROM ACROSS AN OCEAN— SOMETIMES BETTER — THAN WE CAN IN PERSON. One of my besties has taught online for decades, and taken boatloads of flack about “not being a real teacher” from her elitist brick-and-mortar counterparts — who are now scrambling to learn what she can do in her sleep. Can I tell you how big and satisfying her popcorn tub is?
WE’RE ARTISTS. All day, every day, we hone the arts of creative thinking. We make things that don’t exist. YET. We gather up disparate dregs of crap others would throw away and concoct Fabulosity from it. We keep our imaginations as sharp as a gladiator’s sword. We can spin on a dime and do something else at a moment’s notice, because we’re always asking, “What if? Yeah, but what else?” We’re masters of thinking beyond limitations.
Boxes? What are those?
We squish out the sides and squeak through cracks and tunnel under barriers like bindweed, coming up on the other side to sprout pretty flowers no matter how many times people try to eradicate our outrageous thinking. How dare we color outside the lines or paint the sky puce?
“Flaky. Whimsical. Ungrounded. Daydreamer. Unrealistic. Unprofessional.” Oh yeah. And did I forget? “Weird.”
But go ahead. Come up with solutions now without getting creative. Talk smack about us. Shove us aside. Fire us instead of listening to our “harebrained” ideas because our desk is messy, and we can’t quite make it to work at 7:59 a.m. sharp.
Doesn’t matter that we are the ones staying after for two hours because we got a bee up our butt and just can’t stop tinkering with the project. Or bringing it home and showing up to the meeting in a fluster because we were putting together that groovy presentation with show-and-tell.
And some of us?
Some of us are as anal-retentive and left-brained as your most constipated badass number-cruncher. (Because we’re ambi-brained.)
WE’RE SOCIALLY ISOLATED ALREADY FROM THE HEALTH CONDITIONS WE LIVE WITH EVERY DAY My brain injury requires that I live 75–90% of my life in solitude.
Think about that percentage for a second.
You’re starting to get some hands-on experience with it now. Those aren’t just esoteric numbers anymore.
For me, much of that alone-time has to be in silence. This is why I can never marry, have a live-in partner, or even roommates. The conditions necessary for me to remain functional, sustainable, much less remotely productive and pleasant are not fair of me to foist upon another human being. “Hey, can you please pretend you don’t exist in this house for the next few hours? Actually, can you just leave? I know you just got home from a long day of stressful work, but I need solitude and silence. NOW. No, 8 hours wasn’t enough. I had to do that thing and drive for that errand and I’m fried so…yeah. See ya.”
Not very nice, Precious. Not very nice at all.
And when we don’t gets what we needs, we has things like seizures, Chernobyl-caliber meltdowns, blackouts, rages. We becomes completely un-functional. Since you can’t argue with Dain Bramage and its myriad fanged symptoms, your desires and needs don’t get to weigh as heavily on the compromise scale as my health.
And that is really crappy to expect of someone, especially someone you like and love.
So I don’t.
I also can’t work a normal job outside the home that requires driving and consistently showing up on someone else’s schedule. Just ask anybody who trains with me. There are a couple classes that I mostly make like clockwork, including the one I teach. Otherwise? My health and the number of balls I’m juggling determine how much I can be out-n-about. Sure, I’ll be gangbusters, training morning and night, 5 days a week, and in on weekends to play.
Then you’ll wonder if I quit the gym.
Then I’ll be back super sporadically.
Then for two weeks I’ll be there like clockwork 3 afternoons a week, plus my regular classes. The next two months will see me in at buttcrack of dawn hours that have never before seen the whites of my eyes, and you’re really tempted to ask if I’m on drugs because you know I’m a night owl.
And then I’ll be back to 3 afternoons a week (just 2 hours earlier than before), plus my regular classes.
That doesn’t work for a job-job, which is why I am incapable of holding one. That’s why I’m trying to build some kind of home-based business. It’s a massive undertaking to do it well, and to do it legally. Suffice to say, figuring out how to create an online business, doing startup entrepreneurship with a negative income from several catastrophic blows to your life, and having to wear all the hats yourself…yeah.
That means even more of my time is spent in social isolation.
You know that’s a punishment in prisons, right? It’s also a viable, well-proven torture technique.
I experience its effects every day. Yet I get called “weak” all the time. “Broken. Damaged. Fragile.” And my favorite: “Insane.”
Well…protracted isolation does detriment one’s mental health.
Sorry…the voices… (I just turn them all into fiction. Is that crazy, or what?)
These days (and in truth, even before this), people are breaking down left and right because they’re not getting enough touch, affection, communication, snuggles, sex, feedback, connection. Their energy is not getting to vibe and hum enough in the energy field of other living beings. That’s how the majority of us are designed.
I don’t have children or a live-in partner. I have no roommates. I don’t even have pets anymore.
Not because I don’t want them.
Because, thanks to a drunk driver and an abusive ex, I can’t have them. (Not if I want to remain as symptom free and sane as I ever get.)
So come over here and try to weather your financial and career catastrophes on my brain injuries, bodily conditions, isolation, and income.
NOW DO THIS FOR 19 YEARS STRAIGHT.
Better yet, do it on the health conditions that some of my single-parent friends were born with, who also home-school their autistic children. Then try to call us “weak” ever again.
I certainly don’t call you weak for breaking down this month. I call you human in a pandemic.
A little secret to weathering this well: compassion for ourselves and for everyone around us goes a lonnnng way. But in order to muster that up, you have to remember that there are billions of other people in a similar situation or worse as you reach for that third case of TP or steal the second-to-last roll from your chiropractor’s office.
It might also behoove you to remember that social distancing is NOT ABOUT YOU with your “kickass immune system that can beat anything, and so what if you’re out for a few weeks, it’s just the flu.” This is actually about trying to prevent such a rapid spread that hospitals get overwhelmed, can’t treat the gazillion other conditions that don’t halt just because COVID-19 happened, and run out of testing supplies, much less life-saving supplies.
We don’t have to like quarantine and distancing. But that’s the difference between making your choices according to your wants and needs, versus living with a life-altering health condition that makes your choices for you when you don’t listen to its warning alarms.
WE’RE SOCIALLY ISOLATED ALREADY FROM BEING WEIRDOS. “Geek. Nerd. Loser. Freak. Psycho. Reject. Black Sheep. Cry Baby. Scaredy Cat. Dipshit. Fag. Punk. Scum. Asshole. Bitch…” Follow the alphabet. You know where it goes from there.
I’ve been having to entertain myself and provide the bulk of my own companionship, emotional support, feedback, brainstorming, acceptance, confidence, oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, and the general sense that I belong any place on this planet except in my home, a few welcoming kitchens, and in the woods alone since…oh, I was about five and got booted out of the tribe’s circle around the fire.
That’s not to say it hasn’t messed me up. It has. In truth, it splintered my already cracked hard drive. But it’s also provided me with specific skills of self-care and self-perpetuating confidence not reliant on Likes and hugs, the sharing of which is one of the purposes of this blog.
WE’RE IMMUNOCOMPROMISED. Having lived with my mother for the first three months after I moved to Arkansas, and spending much intimate time with her, hand-washing is a thing. So is staying the heck away from her if I so much as have a sniffle. She has Chrons and has had her immune system ravaged by medications, in addition to being asthmatic and over 70, so it is especially important to take care about things like this whether we're in a pandemic or not.
As for me, I have no children, no spouse or roommate who brings bugs home, and I operate in high social isolation, so I don’t get bomb-proofed that way.
The neurological issues I have further depress my body’s immune system, and I’m also asthmatic, so it has always hacked me off when people come around me sick.
Childcare yada, no sick leave blah, uncompromising bosses who don’t care about infecting countless people because they’re in their office of isolation…I get the reasons why you don’t stay home from work or keep your children home from school.
Just fucking stop. PLEASE.
I’m talking to the broken system here, not to those caught between its rock and hard place. I’m also talking to anybody who just doesn’t care about the impact they make on others.
You know, kinda like drunk drivers…
I don’t get sick or injury leave. If I have to cancel work, I don’t get paid. If a disease does take hold, I’m often down longer than most people and I live alone with no one to help me (because my primary caregiver has a worse immune system than mine), so please stop wantonly and recklessly infecting me just because you wanna play or because you need workaholism to shut up the demons.
Silver Lining #24 from this pandemic: maybe the rest of the world will get on board and design a society that takes into compassionate account illness, injury, grieving, and catastrophe when it makes its rules and rhythms for…um…humans? Not machines.
Another little secret: machines break down, too, and need time to repair — wait a second, what am I saying? Aren’t we supposed to just throw those away in an ever-growing trash heap our grandchildren are gonna have to figure out?
Because we have thrown-away people piling up in heaps as well. And when we rot, we reek.
WE KNOW WHAT IT IS IS TO HAVE OUR LIVES, FINANCES, AND CAREERS OBLITERATED BY TRAUMA.
Some of us know this multiple times. We know desperation. Destitution. Depression. We know the feeling like every door has been boarded up from the outside in a house with no windows.
And yet with those who play in my sandbox — we still find it in our hearts to be kind. To want to make the world a brighter place. To find something to offer in a way that our health conditions will allow us to sustain and grow.
Some days, it’s enough to make the determination that I’m going to stick around in this pain-wracked body another day and *getting out the boxing gloves, banners & pompoms* Fight the Good Fight. Keep On Keepin’ On. Keep Calm and Yada Yada. Take One Day At A Blah. Stay Positive. Have That Attitude of Gratitude. Be a Fount of Platitude. Vibrate on High Altitude. Raise My Mental Latitude.
*Lonnnnng, squelchy fart-noise.*
Know how I keep doing that? In times of stress, I blow my flippin’ cinder cone in my journal, in the art I make, and onto the (now cyber) coffee table with my trusted people. I let myself be mad when I’m mad, sad when I’m sad. My emotions run more like lungs and a colon than a toxic waste dump.
WE VALUE PUTTING ON ONE’S OWN OXYGEN MASK FIRST. Absolutely, I sometimes decide that changing my perspective is better than emotional reaction. But when I do react, I feel into the grief and jealousy and shame and guilt and all those other icky things, and I ask them what they’re trying to teach me. It’s a lifelong process like an onion. Stinky, full of layers, and yeah, sometimes it makes me cry.
But cleaning up my own crap is the best way I can think to help the gigantic mess we have on this planet.
So I don’t drink/smoke/work/screw/numb pain away in order to hop back onto the hamster wheel. I sit in the reek and I actively work with it. Pain is there for a reason — it tells you when something needs healing, and healing often requires stopping what you’re doing.
“Well, lucky for you. You don’t have kids.”
Yup. And I made that choice deliberately with very active measures, knowing I was unfit to be a parent. Mostly because I didn’t have a deep desire to be one.
And nope, I don’t. I just have brain damage, which is the equivalent of having a chronically overtired, colicky, teething infant you don’t ever get to put in daycare. EVER. You always have to bring her to work, to every social engagement, all around the house as you clean, and oh! Even into the bedroom. I always have to put her first, and she NEVER grows up or moves away.
~So how d’ya like having your kids on you 24–7 when you didn’t get to plan for summer break?
~How d’ya like being abruptly, traumatically unemployed and financially desperate?
~How d’ya like having to change your entire Modus Operandi in how you make money and deal with the rest of humanity?
~How d’ya like being lonely, isolated, stir-crazy, lost, touch-starved, affection starved, sex-starved, attention-starved?
~How d’ya like having to be responsible for the bulk of your own entertainment, self-esteem boosts, and companionship?
~How d’ya like sitting day after day in your own shit because you can’t workaholic it away and then go knock a few off at the bar, come home, pass out and do it all over again so you don’t have to remember…don’t have to deal with it…don’t have to feel it?
~How d’ya like having to make every single decision based — not on what you want to do, or even what you need to do — but with your number one concern being Health & Safety?
~How d’ya like not being able to go out and live because a crappy health condition might attack you or the people you love if you do?
~How d’ya like battling hyper vigilance whenever you’re not in the safety of your own home or whenever anybody enters into it?
~How d’ya like feeling as though your entire life has stopped and all you can do is sit there and wait, unable to do one darn thing to speed the process up so you can get back to solving your problems, pursuing your goals and dreams, taking care of yourself and your loved ones, and oh…affording food?
WELCOME TO OUR WORLD.
Now before panties get too terribly bunged, don’t misunderstand. I deeply, deeply feel for everybody stressed and struggling right now. I get it more than I have words, and so far I’ve puked out over 3500 of them.
How do I like it? I don’t! And I was once that clueless 20-something, wandering around as though I had all the time in the world until a freight train blasted my life off its trajectory.
The learning curve is strong with this one.
I could try to concoct a catch-all post of my tried-n-true, decades-honed techniques for curing the blues of the above mentioned issues. Honestly? I feel that’s a waste of my time, because there are better lists out there by people waving far more motivational and inspirational pompoms than mine. You probably already listen to their podcasts or read their books, and if you don’t, they’ll be easy to find. This is a different perspective, but it is actually the same conversation.
Plus, that’s exactly what this blog IS. So are all my arts and hobbies and rhythms and habits. The whole system is designed as my way of battling back from where I live half my life: in the Underworld.
And it’s designed so I can enjoy my time while I’m down there.
To pass on what I’ve learned is my deepest life’s purpose, but it won’t be delivered in 10 Easy Steps. So if I haven’t pissed you off to the point of throwing this blog across the room and blocking me, let’s get back to the adventures of how I learned all this stuff to begin with, shall we?
I just hope, when all this dust finally settles, some eyes have been opened by the world getting a taste of how some of us live all the time— that it won’t just slip back to business as usual. That maybe some lasting changes can start to be made in society as a whole, instead of smacking we mine-shaft canaries on the beak when we’re gasping and keeling over.
Who I go to when I am in need of inspiration & motivation — not at all a complete list — in alphabetical order (use the search function of your preferred method of content absorption):
— Brene Brown
— Deepak Chopra
— Eckhart Tolle
— Elizabeth Gilbert
— Emilie Wapnick
— Esther & Jerry Hicks (Abraham)
— Jason Silva
— Dr. Joe Dispenza
— Julia Cameron
— Simon Sinek
— AndSense8 on Netflix, my current (and eternal) we’re-all-connected inspirational woobie.
If you want to go back to the beginning of this adventure, here it is.