The Good and the Bad

This is day 65 of quarantine for me. Isolation. Lockdown. Social distancing. Physical distancing. Sheltering in place. Stay at home orders. Whatever you want to call it, it’s been 65 days. I think. Time? Math? Who cares. It’s been AWHILE, is the point.

Since I’ve been in quarantine, I’ve been trying to write a blog post. At the beginning of this year when I “re-branded” my site, or whatever, I wanted to write one creativity based or creativity connected blog post per month. When we went into lockdown I figured, “Hey. At least this is one thing I can still keep up with in quarantine.”

Big ol’ NOPE.

I’ve been trying to write a post since the end of March and I keep hitting a wall. Cause, really, what am I gonna say?

Every good thing that’s coming out of this comes at an astronomical price. I haven’t lost anyone to the virus (knock on every wood surface in my home) but I know people who have. My friends with kids who are working from home and crisis schooling are stretched thin. I have other friends who feel the isolation deeper than others due to where they’re located. Everyone has a unique struggle. So, I’m not gonna sit here and type out a blog that suggests that the quarantine might be a good thing. Cause it’s not. I get good things can happen in the midst of tragedy. And those things are worth celebrating and acknowledging. But I’m just really tired of it being used as a bargaining tool.

Believe it or not, I’m actually in a good mood while writing this. I’ve been busy the past week and have had actual things to look forward to. Not that my interior design and plant projects are not fun but ya girl works well with projects, deadlines and scheduled meetings. I was a production manager/reader for a live reading of Three Sisters through TSqaured. My theatre friends and I perform and watch each other in play readings via Zoom on Monday nights and I’m reading in The Women next week. I’ve been taking weekly voice lessons and I am making good progress. I had a really good lesson this past Monday and I’m proud of myself, just saying. I’ve been writing more and I have some ideas on how to fix some my problems in the plays I’m writing (I think)(Well, I have time to find out). I’m doing some research on how to keep my career moving forward while the theatre industry is adjusting to the new normal. I’ve been feeling pretty positive this week. So, I know good can happen in the midst of trials cause I’ve been experiencing it. Plus, my time in quarantine hasn’t been as hard as it has been on others. I have a roommate, I don’t have kids, my job is waiting for me, I have an understanding landlord, I have a strong WiFi connection, a TV, a cozy home with amenities, a residential neighborhood so I can go on walks, and family and friends nearby that I can social distance visit. I’m OK, and I’m finding the good in this, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not hard. Literally a few days before my positivity streak hit I was crying in the kitchen because I can’t find my footing in my career path anymore and prior to the pandemic, I had found it. I have at least one stress dream per week. Some days I just wake up sad and if the only healthy thing I do that day is go for a walk, it’s a win. So even in positive stretches of time, there’s difficulty. Which is why I won’t write a “OMG, look at this great thing quarantine made it possible to do!” post cause it’s not that simple. Balancing the pain of this experience and celebrating the good that comes during it while knowing that one does not negate the other is tricky. But it comes with grief territory, and we’re all experiencing it in one way or another.

I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say here. Maybe that’s ok. I don’t have to know what to say. Plus it’s probably too early to try to jump to the “meaning” stage of grief. It’s been a rough few months. It doesn’t mean the good isn’t good but it also doesn’t mean that the bad isn’t bad. I know I’m not alone in feeling that way.

So I guess the point of this is…

You’re not alone either. This is weird and painful for everyone, even for the people who look like they’re thriving. The pandemic brings grief and it is going to be difficult to find that balance of acknowledging both the positivity and the pain in this time. It’s one of the hardest parts of grief, in my opinion. Don’t be hard on yourself if you tip too far into sadness or too much into the happy distractions at one time or another.

We’re gonna get through this.

There will be good.

But it’s still gonna suck.

And that’s ok.

Featured image: Heather McBride

Published by AHayes

Alicia C. Hayes is a theatre professional in northern NJ. She specializes in teaching, stage management, acting, and directing. For more questions or more information, fill out the contact form through her “Contact and Follow” page.

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