I was talking to my therapist about everything, because that’s what you talk to your therapist about; specifically, I was talking to her about the protests and the police brutality, about the riots and the curfews and the sense that things were, honestly, slipping further and further towards a dystopia that still feels almost fictional if you think about it too much — there’s still a pandemic out there as everything is happening, and I really can’t shake the question, what happens to the infection rate now that we’ve all started gathering in large numbers again? because that’s how my brain works — and I said, essentially, how are we supposed to not feel utterly overwhelmed by all of this?
The things is, as overwhelming as it feels, as debilitating as the totalitarian forces stepping on us slowly, the sight of the President pushing the country closer and closer to martial law because he’s a scared old racist who can’t even manage to hide how small he really is being both laughable and horrifying, as bad as this all feels right now, I don’t want it to stop feeling this hard. Yes, it’s a struggle to work right now, yes, my brain refuses to engage properly on normal tasks because I’m all too aware of everything else that’s happening, but… that’s got to be a good thing, right?
When the coronavirus started closing everything down, ending the world as we knew it, I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want quarantine to become normalized in my head, for the simple fact that it’s not normal. Months later, that’s harder to comprehend fully because… well, it’s been months; memory fades, and while I can objectively look at the Way Things Were, or think about the millions out of work as a result of all of this, the emotional costs for everyone unable to see loved ones, the hundreds of thousands dead, it somehow did become easier to accept everything. It became the new normal.
What’s happening now can’t go the same way. We can’t accept that nightly protests, the police and the National Guard (in DC, the military, too) at war with the citizens they’re supposed to be protecting, is just the way things are now. It’s too important to surrender and accept that as a new new normal. So, overwhelmed it is.