Friday, March 27, 2020 - Living is hard

Dan and I continue to have tough conversations about what happens if one of us dies. Intellectually I know we all die.

I’m in my 50s and Dan in his 40s. At this time in history, we are not too young to die. Both Dan and I have experienced the death of my younger brother, who died suddenly at the age of 41 in 2016.

We’re not married and haven’t been together for 20+ years like some awesome couples I know. We both have baggage and that baggage has kept us from merging our resources and having an ‘us’ mentality instead of the individual ‘me’ mentality in relation to important security. We both have insurance etc. but I’m worried. My mom struggled when her partner died. They weren’t married and she got considerable resistance and a fight from her partner’s kids. I watched her struggle tremendously with it.

Yesterday morning, I heard a knocking in the basement. After awhile I went down to see what it was. It was a bird, pecking at the basement window. There's lots of explanations about what that could mean and one of them is death. Gulp. It freaked me out!

I’ve also been thinking about the ways I have hidden away from reality, when the feelings I have and my connection to the world feels painful; like now.

When I was a girl, when things were upsetting to me, I would write it down. For instance, if I was angry with my parents, I’d write it all out and slip it under their door, since talking about any feelings was purely forbidden. I was taught that really early on.

But I came up with what I consider now to be an ingenious coping mechanism as a kid. Remember the old 'View Master'? The child’s toy that you could put round slides of pictures (basically photo negatives) into a ‘View Master’ and you could pull the lever and switch to the next picture? Here’s a photo of it below. I linked it to an article on how to make your own slides

When I was a kid and a conversation was troubling or I was scared at night, I would pretend to take out the slide in my ‘View Master’ in my mind and replace it with something that made me feel calm and happy.

This was the beginning of pushing down any feelings or fears that would keep me up at night or hinder me from functioning as the happy obedient girl I was expected to be.

It worked for a while; until I got older.

My family had always used humour to mask anything serious or unsettling. So, it was an easy transition for me. When I discovered I could make people laugh and lighten the mood, I was in heaven and it was easy to get people to like me if I could make them chuckle.

Through the years, I’ve really tried to balance letting the humour mask slip, so people could see the real me, with having a sense of humour and laughing at myself. I am consistently a work in progress. I hope I never stop trying to be a better human.

But what’s happening right now is not funny to me, not in the least. Real people are dying. Real people are at risk. Real people cannot use money nor material things to save their own lives.

I think it’s interesting that a pandemic is the only thing that could bring humans to the same level. It doesn’t matter what you do, how much money you have, how many things you own or who you know; everyone is at risk.

Now that so many people are out of work, many people may have to make do with less, who previously had an abundance.

Many industries that made money on the backs of vulnerable people, have now themselves been brought to their knees.

I think about the way people deliver things to our homes. They have to treat everyone the same, because in a lot of cases, they don’t really even see you, nor interact with you. They don't know who is carrying the virus and who isn't.

Maybe just one of the many things we are supposed to learn in this moment in time is to suspend judgement of one another, to cease putting needless labels on people in order to help us understand.

Why can’t we just offer acceptance first, and learn to understand as we go along?

More tough conversations are on my horizon. This living stuff is hard.

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© 2019 Shauna M Rae