We are off to a new start! 2021 on deck! Heeeeyyyyy nowwwww! Rock with it! Do your dance with it! Snap your fingers to it! Tip your champagne glass and shake your shimmy Girl! Toast to a new year.
Look at me, all excited for nothing. SMH! Most of us are still on lockdown, Covid-19 is still an asshole of a force to be reckoned with, and I haven't had a mani, pedi, or haircut in months!!! Let me calm the hell down and chill.
But for real. It's hard to know what feeling to focus on right? I wanna be happy and hopeful. But in actuality I'm cranky and uncertain. I wanna put on cherry red lipstick and smile instead I'm in a mask and face shield and hoping people “feel” me smile. The virus has flipped life upside down for me! I am sick of this virus!
– Oh wait- let me be more specific – the NEW CORONAVIRUS (as opposed to the regular old HIV virus that flipped my life upside down 8 years ago. I mean that as dryly and sarcastically as I can) –
The Coronavirus has flipped life upside down for myself, and for most, if not all of us to some degree. We have been dealing with it for a year or so now. There is pre-Covid; let's call it 2019BC. 2019 Before Covid and then there is now. Take me back!! I, for one, can't wait for 2021AC. After COVID. Like in the Good Book. I know I'm making light of it, but sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. The effects of the change have seeped into my life almost without me knowing. I've been working through the pandemic. That hasn't changed. Nurses gonna nurse. I was never big on feeling like I had to go out and party or club. I don't miss that and that hasn't changed. I don't do planes. Which translates into I don't damn fly. I say I hate it, but the real truth is I'm scared of it. No change there. I DO miss going to dinner and enjoying time with friends. I definitely miss NOT BEING PISSED off because people refuse to wear masks or won't stand outside of my space bubble when I don't know them. I most definitely miss treating myself to a pedicure.
What HAS changed is my emotional response to things. And it's changed more than once, like an ebb and flow. For example I am a nurturer. I hug. I touch and I rub backs. I stroke fingers and hold hands. Well, I did before anyway. In 2019BC. This stupid elbow bump, air hug, 6 feet of space safety net is aggravating for someone like me. The thing that upsets me the most is that I'm getting accustomed to it. I only have to check my instinct to greet and comfort by touch a quarter of the time. That's hard for a nurse like me. Touch is healing. Touch communicates without words. Touch for me is a visceral response. I don't just miss it, I long for it. It's a new thing for me to add to my already long list of things to be depressed about. Some of my hobbies, the most important one has been taken from me. I haven't skated in months. That was a lot of things in one. My stress relief. My place of peace. My exercise in lieu of a gym. The place to zone out to the music and just float. My place to be in a social setting, but not have to actually be social. I'm one of those social introverts. I am perfectly happy to be a people person, but I also enjoy being around people, without having to “people” if that makes sense? It's gone. If COVID had a face I'd punch it right in the nose.
I'm more easily irritated these days. I'm stressed from trying to explain to non people of color why people of color (namely black folks) don't want to take the covid vaccine. I'm annoyed by having to straddle the fence on the side of defending science as a nurse, and be on the sidewalk marching as a black person who understands the fear and mistrust of research medicine. Every time someone white or otherwise non black wants to argue with me about why everyone SHOULD get the vaccine and tell me why everyone HAS to get the vaccine and automatically assume I agree, I want to cuss. If I could verbally cuss in caps, I would. I used to be able to calmly debate things and now I'm just mad in 2.5 seconds. I have the right to have mixed views on it, and the right to not lean my influence on someone to try to change their minds. I guess I could have just said simply, in these cases I just want to a be Bridgette, Regular Person. Not Nurse Bridgette, Leader.
That doesn't even touch the loneliness. Alone time in the physical sense. Stay at home orders. Quarantine orders. Sit your ass down somewhere and be still orders. Except I'm essential. One of those new normals. Working through Covid means new responsibility for everybody's safety. As in, like-- everybody. Mine. My family. My friends. My patients. If I am careless, I risk exposing a vulnerable patient or co-worker to the virus. It means when I see patients who are careless, or don't wear a mask, or aren't honest about their risk factors, I put myself and my family in danger. Self monitoring and self isolation takes on a whole new meaning. It's a weight to carry.
Plus, through it all, I'm supposed to be medication adherent too! My HIV medication still irritates my life! (If I'm gonna vent, I may as well vent it all.) My pill is supposed to be a blessing. I have meds when others may not. That is a blessing. I'm healthy. I get that. Intellectually, Nurse B gets it. Buuuuttttt: Nurse B also had surgery, moved to a new city, started a new job AND changed her damn HIV medication in the middle of a damn pandemic!! Whoosah! I'm tired. Ty-red. Tiiiired. It feels a little bit better to get it out though. I'm working through this stuff every day. Recharging my spirit as best I can. I'm deep breathing, shifting and sifting through the irritation and anger to remember who I was early 2019BC. Calmer. More settled. More balanced. I was freaking contented if not happy. I know I'm not alone in my feelings.
Still and all… 2021. It's here. There is an end in sight. The vaccine is a hopeful lifeline for many people all over the world. We're in it together. While some experts think it may be Fall before it is significantly shifted, the expectation is there. There is always hope. We have a new president. There is increased awareness of the value of black lives and why THEY MATTER. Minus some miserable outliers, mask nay-sayers and toilet paper thugs, folks united and came together. That's why people were so ready for 2021. Not because of a magic button, or some intergalactic reset. It's anticipation of more. Of there being BETTER this year and next. It's hope. For each other. Hope for 2021AC. So here, let's do this. I will if you will...
Rock with it! Snap your fingers to it! Do your dance with it! Tip your champagne glass and shake your shimmy Girl! Toast to a new year!