Self on a Shelf
This week is the fifty-second week of the second year of Covid. In other words: it's Covid New Years. The mask mandate in my county officially ends this week - two years to the day from the beginning of the original lockdown. The timing is incredible. Almost surreal. It's the same time of year this whole mess started, so all the community events starting back up in the coming weeks were the ones suddenly postponed back in 2020. It's like the song just skipped, but the beat picked up right where it left off. Almost like nothing happened...
But it did.
It's been an intense couple years and a lot of things have changed. A lot of people have changed. I have changed. One of my favorite actives in the Before Time was a community folk dance called Contra. It involved sweating and breathing heavily with hundreds of other people indoors. Basically the most covid-unsafe activity there could possibly be. So when lockdown went on for more than the originally projected couple weeks, the whole community knew Contra dancing was gonna be the last thing to come back.
And then Covid just kept going. It became unclear when or if we would ever be able to dance again like we used to. To stave-off recurring bouts of disappointment, I put that Contra dancing part of myself on a shelf, where it's been collecting dust ever since. It turns out two years worth of dust is a lot of dust. And now that I'm facing the prospect of dances beginning again it feels like I need to do more than just unshelve that part of me. It feels like I need to resurrect it.
My Taiji teacher once told me that healing the deepest wounds of living and being human is the hardest and most scary thing because it requires letting go of a part of yourself. Specifically the part that's been holding something for you that you weren't ready to face. To let that kind of thing go, you have to unpack that internal box and deal with what's inside it. You have to surrender to the process of your own metamorphosis. You have to be willing to let your old self die to make space for your new self to grow and thrive.
I thought I understood that when it came up during a workshop. Then I thought I understood it more completely when I experienced it first-hand. Now that I'm on the other side, contemplating resurrection, I have a whole new kind of understanding. And I realize there isn't any way to step back into my old dance shoes as my former self. I'm going to have to meet this activity for the first time as my current self.
And that's a very strange feeling.
There is one aspect of the societal fervor to return to post-covid "normal" I have been pushing-back against the hardest: the accompanying desire to leave the whole experience behind. To move on and forget it ever happened. I can't do that (and I don't want to). But more importantly: neither can anybody else. We have all individually and collectively just lived through two years of trauma. There is no catharsis in refusing to acknowledge what we've been through.
And nothing to be gained by refusing to acknowledge who we are today. I want to make sure that all the lessons learned over the past two years do not wither under the fiery euphoria of returning to previously non-covid-compatible activities. I want to make sure the important considerations that bubbled to the surface during the past two years continue to float around the pool of popular discourse. I don't want to live through this time and never speak of it again. That's how we keep passing our unresolved bullshit onto our children.
We had a collective awakening about racism in America, and now we're banning books because parents are uncomfortable acknowledging their own guilt so they project that discomfort onto their children. We had expanded unemployment and individual stimulus checks that gave many people a taste of thriving, and now the President wants to give more money to cops instead of funding social programs. Our country was politically and ideologically divided before, and now we live in completely separate (and mutually exclusive) realities.
I want society to actually repair and heal the inequities Covid shined a very bright spotlight onto. We cannot do that by turning off the light and pretending we didn't see what we have seen. We have to unpack all those boxes. We have to look at the ugly truths, acknowledge all their parts and pieces, and we have to feel the uncomfortable feelings. We have to surrender to the process of our own metamorphosis. We have to let our old society die so we can rebuild a new society in its place.
Information and Inspiration
3/11/2022 03:22:11 pm
"There is one aspect of the societal fervor to return to post-covid "normal" I have been pushing-back against the hardest: the accompanying desire to leave the whole experience behind." dude, this resonated so strongly i felt it in my chest. we're having a dance next week and... i'm not going. i know i'm braced so hard against this that if i go to the first dance in two years i'll be cranky and overwhelmed and sad, especially if everyone else is happy. and they should be happy! it's been two years! but i don't know how to go there and be happy with them yet.
3/31/2022 05:06:29 pm
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Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.