These Covidian Days

That’s what my son calls these days of quarantine, the Covidian days. Life as we know it has changed dramatically, and we do not know if it will return to normalcy. The freedoms we took for granted are now foregone luxuries, and the shining days of spring pass us by while we look from our windows with longing.

I have decided once more to try my hand at keeping a blog. My blogging life has had several iterations, but now I feel more confident in my ability to engage with the public through writing. I am not, perhaps, the most elegant of writers, nor the most evocative. Self-doubt and fear are potent deterrents, and I realize, after many years of prevarication, that I am my worst self-critic.

I find myself seeking an outlet, a connection to the outside world. After many years of uncertainty and fear, I decided to take the plunge and start writing again. I hid behind the strictures of academia to avoid putting myself out there and write. I wanted a shield against the critics; I wanted people to listen to what I have to say; thus, I hid and made excuses for myself. I used any reason available to avoid writing. I would tell myself I was too busy or that I had other priorities. I realize now that, whether purposefully or not, I have shed all these obstacles, and nothing stands between me and the keyboard. I am in a stable job, I have an income, I have the degrees —not the Ph.D. yet, but I am working on it. Life has thrown on my lap the opportunity to face my demons and start pursuing what I want the most, to engage with others through the written word.

Hence, in the middle of the chaos and uncertainty that plagues our world today, I have found a respite. As I write, I can feel the dread that has plagued my mind these last few weeks start to melt away. The blank page is not my enemy; instead, it embraces me as a friend. I am not naïve. I know the critics have not gone away, but I refuse to let the idea of their opprobrium paralyze me into inaction.

I wonder what the future may bring, who will we lose, and who will persevere. My phone has become a source of anxiety. I dread hearing it ring, but I can’t bring myself to silence it. My heart speeds up every time it rings, and I wonder if it will be the call I dread. The call that informs me I lost someone dear to me. I have even limited my use of social media, as I can’t bring myself to read the notices that say, “here, notice my pain. I have lost someone dear to me.” Still, I force myself to bear witness to our collective failure. The failure of a society so mired in consumerism that human beings have become disposable. I joined my synagogue during service today, something I have avoided out of sheer cowardice. The hardest part of the service was reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish and thinking about those who have gone. As I prayed, I wondered if anyone would remember to say my name and pray for my soul after I am gone.

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