Hunker in the Bunker
Episode One: Liminality is the new black
First, cuz I gotta get this off my chest — if I hear “we are all in this together” one more time, I will rip off your mask and stomp on it.
No. We aren’t. We aren’t all in this together. There are different degrees of this and all of it is very very weird and hard.
It has been ten days since I have seen another human being in person and 31 days since I touched one. I live alone and am fortunate in that I have space and knowledge to hunker down. I do go out once a week to help some elderly neighbors get provisions, (tomorrow) and I get my own at the same I get theirs. I look forward to it, like a toddler who gets to go to the park. Seeing a stranger and exchanging pleasantries all I get to do right now in person. But I’ll take it. Because loneliness is hard.
My elderly neighbors are stuck. neither of them can move around very well and yet both were fairly active before the Shelter In Place. They are stuck in a house that might be too much for them any more, and the garden is hard to work for them now. So they are more limited than I am in ways. Because immobility is hard.
My friend is stuck at home in a big city with her husband (who is just someone she married, and not her heart) with her two college-aged kids who are all trying to learn online. She and I went to Baja in January (Thank God we did it then) All the glowy inner work that gets done on those trips is now gone for her (or at least dormant). She finds herself reverting to someone she doesn’t want to be because it is easier in a crisis. Did I mention her mother is quite ill and in a nursing home along with several cases of COVID? Because Family? Family. Is. Hard.
The Hard that we are facing here is grief. Not only grief for the ways in which we loved our loves, but grief because we don’t know yet what we have truly given up, but we suspect something has been lost. The problem is we are not quite sure what yet. What part of our lives do we get to keep when this is all over, and what part is gone forever? What are we supposed to grieve?
The world is in a liminal stage: we leave one threshold of normalcy and complacency and flail about, searching with our toes extended in the dark for the next threshold to safely cross. But, we cannot find it and we have one of three reactions: fear of never finding it, flight to the places and people who have always held us safe, and fighting to create a sense of calm and normalcy in a time that is not normal. We are grieving and we don’t know why or what, we just know that we are. Because Greif is hard. And hard is different for everyone.
So, no we are not all in this together. But we WILL get through it together if we just remember that hard is still hard.