For a couple of months now, as the unlocking has staggered along, I’ve been unable to answer the question ‘How are you?’ – even though it’s not really a question. In fact, I’ve bristled. How dare they be so callous. How dare I be so confused. ‘I don’t know how to answer that question has been my go-to response and, let me tell you, that is one hell of a conversation stopper.
Until this morning. Some poor, unknowing soul asked, “How are you?” And I found that I had answered, ‘Really well!’ before stopping to think and wonder. And I felt astounded. And must have looked astounded. Because that was a conversation stopper too.
Let me ask you this: Is anyone else suddenly feeling a bit less weird? Obviously all the usual fuckery is occurring: insomnia, panic, a pervading sense of purposelessness. BUT, is anyone else feeling a little less… shut down? Because, if you are, let’s bank it. Let’s allow ourselves a moment to recognise a long-lost whiff of equilibrium; a forgotten sense of being grounded in our own lives.
A month ago me and my people were sitting around, terrified of going out to dinner because of the dread and the inability to present as anything other than a shaky shadow. ‘Is this just me now?’ we wondered. ‘Have I… gone?’
We needed time. We still need time. The thrum of anxiety had given way to a kind of flaccid amnesia where our heads couldn’t hold onto anything (are the car keys in the car? The fridge? The bin?) and our hearts were too bruised to try.
And, quite suddenly, we are sensing the light. The possibility of gentle, manageable change. So, before we get freaked out again – which we surely will in minutes or hours – let’s acknowledge our brief windows of okayness. Because okayness begets okayness. Which means we’re heading in a good direction. Which means life is not over. Which, for now, is all we need to know.