So we are all in this together, right? No one is immune to the Pandemic, and it doesn’t discriminate. We are all locked up in our house, with some occasional walks and trips to mailboxes and grocery stores. Mostly though, we are, as Paul McCarthy sang, “stuck inside these four walls, sent inside forever”, or so it seems like a forever by now. Most have people living with them inside those four walls, driving each crazy, doing jigsaw puzzles with, discussing the great season of Ozark, talking to each other about the newest information, or as a friend of mine has done, giving her husband a facial. And then there are us, the ones living alone, the ones stuck inside four walls where ‘inside forever’ seems too real.
There is a certain impatience with me regarding coupling, or famiying (made up word), in isolation. It borders on extreme jealousy and even anger. I’m not proud of myself. I consider myself a good person, and yet, when I have these thoughts, I think what a selfish, mean, unsympathetic person. Add to this feel shame. loneliness, boredom and what I carry with me is heavier, too heavy.
Yet, here are the facts, ma’ams and sirs. We, the people living alone, deal with everything the people living together deal with and more. We wake up alone, every day. We start our routines, alone. We eat every meal, binge-watch every TV show, take walks, feel angst about the pandemic, discuss a book, do chores put aside, clean the house, and talk, either alone or in our heads. Our silences are more deafening and our realities more lonely than if people were within our walls. And we are as scared as the people living in pairs or multiples, only there an extra layer of catastophzing added as we wonder ‘what do I do if X Y or Z happens and I’m all alone”.
When I hear people talk about how their spouses are driving them crazy in a ha-ha sort of way, I can’t laugh. In fact, what I want to do is cry. What I want to do is scream, I WISH I HAD MY HUSBAND HERE TO DRIVE ME CRAZY”. And yet I know, if he were, I would be sarcastically going on rants on my own mental state because of my husband in isolation. When I read social media pictures of delicious meals people are sharing with their partner or family, I want to comment on how lucky they are to have someone to share it with, only I know it would not only sound bitter and I don’t want to be bitter, but totally unfair. When I see ideas of what to do while isolating with your partner or family, my stomach flips and I wonder harshly where are the ideas for people living along. And here’s the thing, everyone should laugh about their spouse, or post a picture of a meal, or be given suggestions, and I know this. I want this. So I feel worse because of my own unhappiness which is no fault of anyone.
This blog is not meant to be a competition of who is experiencing this pandemic worse. We are all losers of this virus. There are no victors here. And to try to one-up one another is wrong and selfish and egotistical. This blog isn’t meant to shame either. How wonderful people have people to love, to go through this together, and I hope love grows from this. I hope, when we are all back out in the world again, we feel a closeness like no other to one another. I don’t even mean this blog for pity for I am already overflowing in self-pity; I don’t need more.
This blog is meant for people to be aware of those of us alone through this. Perhaps give us thoughts when you’re about to scream at your husband or your child. Know your audience when you complain. Don’t say, “I know how you feel because…” when you don’t. Not really. I mean, we all know the cabin-fever feel and we can talk about that, but do you really know the degree of drabness in the routine of those who live alone? And for God’s sake, and mine, please don’t lecture me on what I should or shouldn’t be doing because, unless you’re living my life, I won’t listen. It’s harder to get up and go when added loneliness keeps you from getting up, or boredom is so much more because there is a lack of human stimulation.
I guess I wanted to present the side of the people, like me, living alone through it. I hope you do give us some thought, especially during the times your spouse, your family, your roommates, drive you crazy. Sure, we think of the elderly living alone – their’s is a scarier and lonelier place to be. And we should also think about a single person or a young widow?
In the end, it all comes down to the need to be kind and considerate. Those of us alone should refrain from lecturing, yelling, and stopping those living with people from sharing just because we’re experiencing this pandemic differently. Respect and encouragement should be given to everyone’s own stories. Commiseration about our damn cabin fever should be shared. And we should all know our audiences, be compassionate about experiences that may be a little more isolating, and maybe, more check-ins made on those of us living alone every now and again. Although our experiences are different, we are all stuck inside these four walls for the same reason and that’s what makes us the same.