TGIF. Fri-yay. I rarely use these terms (unless sarcastically) but I especially can’t today. Without question, the past 22 months have been brutal for everyone and devastating for many. I’ve been very fortunate in many ways and I keep reminding myself of that. I don’t believe in toxic positivity but focusing on the good helps me a lot through challenging times and the Covid-19 pandemic has been no exception. Until now. In Ontario we moved into a “modified Stage 2” with gyms and most facilities closed and back to virtual school for “two weeks.” I had a lovely break between Christmas and New Year’s but this week I’m just not feelin’ it. So welcome to my pandemic pity party for one. I’d invite you but you can’t legally attend anyway.
It all started with my booster shot on Monday. I believe in science and that all the Covid vaccines are safe, but I wasn’t thrilled to receive a third vaccine brand as my third dose. Of course I joked on social that having three different vaccines will give me super powers. But that joke was masking real discomfort. Truly I don’t think they would administer them if they weren’t safe but, at the same time, I also don’t think they were manufactured with the idea of mixing them with other brands and formulations. My arm hurt, but not as much as with my first dose or even my second (which HURT) but I did endure side effects I hadn’t experienced before. I had to miss work and slept most of the next day. I NEVER nap. This definitely threw me off my game.
Next, gyms are closed. It goes against all that my fighter training instills regarding resilience and grit, but I am heartbroken that our gym is closed and one thing the pandemic has taught me is I HATE WORKING OUT AT HOME. I do. I hate it. We have a decent set up but our house is definitely not meant to be used as a gym and that’s usually not a problem… Except, of course, for the past 22 months. Getting up at 5am and doing an intense workout at 6 for five days a week works for me. While gyms were shut previously I somehow found the drive to get up early (not 5am, mind you) and participate in a Zoom class or at the very least go for a walk. My gym has published a number of at-home workouts on YouTube as well which are suitable for homes without much room. But for this week, at least, I haven’t been able to. I’ve promised myself to let this week go and dig deep once the weekend’s over. Part of my previous motivation came from trying to model the importance of fitness to my family, who have stepped up and been active when I haven’t. I’ve let them know how much they’ve inspired me in doing so. So much so that I’m determined to go for a walk this evening.
But I think what really kicked off my pandemic pity party are two new (for me, anyway) feelings that I’ve managed to keep at bay (until now)… Fear and anger. But not peripheral fear or anger that I think everyone has connected to throughout the pandemic. I mean real fear – fear that my family has been (mostly) spared thus far from any really negative effects healthwise or otherwise and that our time is coming. And anger… well, anger is a tricky one for me. I’ve been frustrated with the actions (and inaction) of our government and with people who haven’t been taking the protocols seriously. But when I carry around frustration that compounds and compounds, it turns into anger. And once that happens, it’s difficult for me to switch it off. So maybe that’s why I’m having this pity party? I need to process it. I know I should take the time to head downstairs and wail on the heavy bag as hard as I can for as long as I can. I’ll probably do that when I’m done writing this because I feel a tiny bit better already.
But now I realize that much of my anger is stemming towards the disparity in our world and how unfair it is. The pandemic has affected people VERY differently. Wealthy and connected people may be inconvenienced. Poor and isolated people may die. Wealthy and connected people can arrange for private assistance with virtual school, have the room for their children to do their extracurricular activities online, not to mention ease of access to technology and infrastructure to make all of that happen. Poor and isolated people simply (not-so-simply) do without. Their kids can’t or don’t fully participate in virtual school, if they had extra-curricular activities they certainly don’t now, and most of their lack of participation is directly related to their lack of access to technology and infrastructure. And it’s a vicious cycle with seemingly no end.
I definitely fall somewhere in the middle. And for that I am definitely grateful. But so much in the middle that I feel powerless to assist those in the lower end but envious of those in the upper end. I’m not proud of that but there it is. I feel guilty as hell for complaining when so many have it worse but it’s hard not to notice those who have it better.
Once we were made aware of just how serious this pandemic was, and is, we all knew getting through it would be a marathon and not a sprint. I get it. But it feels like we were in the home stretch and they keep moving the finish line further and further away. Or like how when you’re desperate to pee but two blocks from home and as you get closer and closer to your house you get closer and closer to bursting. Sometimes you don’t make it. We’ll make it, I have no doubt. But there’s a big difference in how you feel afterwards when you make it to the bathroom in time versus giving in to the trickle when you’re halfway up the stairs. I want to make it upstairs but right now it feels like I won’t.
Thank you for coming to my pandemic pity party. I will say I feel immensely better simply writing this all out. Part of me thinks I should just hit Select All and Delete now that I’m done and get on with the weekend. But part of me hopes you’ll relate and have a pandemic pity party of your own (if you need one). I’m happy to attend (double masked and social distanced, of course) if you’d like a little company. Or just take comfort in knowing we’re all struggling and that’s OK. And even if we don’t make it fully up the stairs, at least the shower and clean clothes are close at hand.