I woke up sandwiched between my seven-year-old and the cold wall of his bedroom. We’d slept cramped in his twin bed the night before. He couldn’t get close enough. He hasn’t been able to get close enough to me since we’ve found our way into this pandemic. At first I thought he was missing his grandparents and aunts and uncles. Only last night, when he refused to roll over onto the adjacent twin mattress, did I realize why he hadn’t been able to get as close as he wants to his mama; I’d been barricaded.
Later that morning a friend of mine asked, “What’s this day?”
I knew she was referring to the day of the week, but in realizing that days have lost all meaning, I also realized we can now attach any label we want to days of the week.
So, instead of Monday, it became ‘Day of Decision’.
I will agree that this virus and the blink-of-an eye transformation of society is unsettling, but it hasn’t been the major cause of my personal blockade. Or maybe it has. It’s hard to be certain anymore. COVID-19 has become the plot twist in which I’ve been forced to examine all of the places I still need to heal. My romantic partnership became the chapter in which I fought against all of my old demons.
My partner and I fell out of alignment in the ways we feel about our liberties being suspended, and perhaps forever altered. We weren’t on the same page about how to weather these social-distancing demands. While I was feeling trapped inside myself, he was feeling trapped within the walls of our apartment. Maybe he was feeling trapped in the relationship too. The cracks that existed began to spread. At some point we fell into one, and there wasn’t a hand to help us out. The point is, home was not a safe place for either of us to shelter, and right now, home is all we have.
I asked him to leave. It took all of my courage to listen to my gut. (Those are the moments your need to listen the most). In all my adult years, I’ve never consciously ended a relationship with so much still invested. I needed to move on with love and respect still very much a part of the equation. When it dissolves so far that neither of those things can be accessed anymore, that’s when love becomes a tragedy.
I prefer for love to be a noble epic of courageous questing, demon-slaying, unearthing lost treasure, transformation, and protagonists shedding monster enchantments to emerge as golden heroes. It’s a story I’ve never been able to read from cover to cover. I have given all I have to this particular epic, and the time has come for me to heal myself completely from an old wound that will seep and fester over and over again with each attempt I make at loving at my own expense.
Maybe it’s a bookmark on the page. Maybe I need to re-write the story; love is about comparing battle wounds and making sure you’ve both healed enough to combine forces against the demons.
Love is about wholly loving yourself and recognizing that the sticky-handed touch of a softly snoring little boy is worth more than a library of badly-written endings.
I am grateful for the beautiful light that I got to touch before the shadows settled in. For the sweet, tender earnestness that I was so drawn to.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not challenge our boundaries. Love does not tell half-truths, or facilitate omissions of truth. Love is not easily-angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love doesn’t demand to know where you’re going or who you’ve been around multiple times a day. Love is built, bolstered and healed only in total transparency and safety.
I’ve not been myself. I’ve been trapped in my fear. Not of this virus, or of death. Not of the government, or how I’ll manage without all of the normal daily things I took for granted. I’ve been trapped in being afraid of being wrong. Of not listening to my gut. Of knowing that it’s time to put the book on the shelf.
Let’s all just tend to our hearts. If we can’t weather the pandemic together, let’s get through it alone. Let’s just all be whole, and safe, and well. Answerable only to ourselves and those who truly depend on us for their safety and care. If there is one thing my life has taught me, it’s that I can take care of myself. I can give myself all the love I yearn for. I can make myself a priority in the way I deserve to be prioritized. The Universe has got my back.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.