August. Already.

It’s weird how this pandemic makes me feel like I’m moving at a glacial pace, yet time is moving every bit as fast as it always does. I can’t remember a summer when  I’ve had as little to show for the life I’m living. No adventures. No live concerts. No epic road trips. And yet, there has been so much goodness to come out of this time, too. It’s all in how you look at it.

Uncertainty is unsettling. It’s surreal. And it’s real. Everyone is on edge. There is a mistrust between people now that is masked by, well, masks (and I am all for the masks). We are living in a time when we are actually afraid to get too close to anyone, anywhere. Or we’re not afraid enough, which is absolutely terrifying.

Either way, paranoia is the new normal. And provoking it all on the social media stage are keyboard cowboys only too happy to spark the flame to light it all up. Kaboom. It’s a sickness, the desire to start fires and watch others burn. It’s even more sickening when you know the arsonists. This is the world we live in.

I look forward to the day we burst out of our bubbles. Then people can speak face-to-face to remember what compassion feels like, what kindness looks like and what respect sounds like. Empathy is tactile. We’re missing it. I’m missing it.

As sometimes happens, I woke up one night, feeling overwhelmed. Head racing. Worst case scenarios playing out to dreadful conclusions. Anxiety is a worthy opponent. This time, I planned to win. I changed the script.

I went back in my mind to the summers of my childhood. Long, hot days. Cool blue waters of our backyard pool. I recalled the fluid movement of swimming to the edge of the deep end. My fingers curled over the lip of the pool where the vinyl liner disappeared beneath the white trim, finger tips gripping the rough concrete of the walkway, my palms pressed flat against the smooth pool liner.

I’d tuck my knees up to my chest, pushing the balls of my feet flat against the pool. Floating in place, the cool water slid on and off my shoulders. Hold on. Deep breath. Count down. One. Two. Three. Push.

There was nothing like the rush of the force of my hands and feet launching me backwards, thrusting me into the water, creating a wake behind my back. That incredible power and buoyancy, rising up before sinking down beneath the water, to that place where noise is muted, where breath holds still and eyes open to the dancing reflection of white light in the depths of blue. Surrendering to the moment. Suspended in time. Holding my breath, yet feeling alive. Looking up to see the sun, strands of light guiding me back to reality.  Resurface, refreshed and renewed.

This pandemic has levelled the playing field for all of us. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do for a living, where you live or what you believe. COVID-19 has lumped us all together while keeping us all apart. It’s humbled humanity and highlighted people’s true colours. It’s not all rainbow pretty, but it sure is colourful.

Overwhelmed happens to us all. Write your pandemic script.

Look for the light and swim in that direction.

WriteOut of Her Mind