I don't write blog posts on a schedule but, with the world put on hold, my time perception is particularly poor. Early this year, with the first few whispers of Covid-19 on my radar, I did my best to ignore that in favor of keeping on schedule to release Sydney West this Summer. I had planned to take some time off particularly to wrap things up.
Early April, I took that time off early. I couldn't function in the capacity I needed to, and decided I would be much healthier if I went ahead and focused mainly on the novel.
Though it's telling that I've reached a point in my life where I'm able to take scheduled time off with reasonable certainty of returning to my outside-the-house work, there are things that I've made some effort to keep separated from my work displayed here. I don't think that's really necessary anymore. At least, reasons to talk about things now far outweigh my reasons for setting certain subjects aside when coming into my blog to put something down into words.
There are some things I've elected to change in Sydney West to reflect how life in America has changed. How things will hopefully stay changed, as well. There are things that are going to happen in the story, which I put down in initial notes almost ten years ago, that will also reflect some things that are happening.
Related, I've known for more than a decade that I have a pandemic phobia. Phobias are supposed to be irrational fears, right?
It's not about getting sick, and it's not even necessarily about hospitals (per se). It's about the patterns of community and support and lack thereof that I had been entrenched in for 25 years. My pandemic phobia is about something happening and no one helping me up.
Not deserving, in someone's eyes. That, even if I know my worth, it doesn't matter to anyone who can do anything about whatever's happened.
I was also raised Christian.
This is where I picked up that pesky lurking trauma that often tells me no one cares and something bad is about to happen at any moment. Where I learned about my gag reflex when I see "God works in mysterious ways." Where I learned that some people can appear very nice, but laugh at the concept of depression, downplay anxiety, yet turn around and claim that you're schizophrenic, therefore shouldn't be taken seriously, but you don't get help because all you do is lie to everyone about how you're treated.
This is where I learned that there's cultural religion, just as much as anything else. That, sometimes, when it comes right down to it, someone will defend their lifestyle and culture even if it hurts or kills others, and then blame others for being hurt or killed, because they should simply convert and their lives wouldn't be in the crossfire. The gossip and slander I found out about years after the fact, and that I was blacklisted while even still attending my family's church.
The absolute, unadulterated hatred perpetuated against me under the label of piety and concern. The years and material possessions that were stolen from me because my parents thought I was LGBT+ even before I came out to them, and then was outed to the Church leadership without my permission.
I am not a Christian. I don't mind if you are. We just won't get along if you define the world as Christians and Not-Christians.
I do have religion. It just doesn't come with a book, or pews, or a stage. It involves a lot more listening to what's actually going on, and working so I can share excess. Not so it can go to someone stationed above me to buy a big house they don't need, except that their culture says they do.
Bad things happen to good people, because of other people.
The people who refuse to fund vaccines unless they can make a profit.
The people who sell hand sanitizer at $60+ a bottle.
The people who protest stay-at-home orders because they're embarrassed about their undyed hair roots, and people assaulting nurses.
The celebrities filming "We're in this together" videos from atop their castle on the hill, hoping to keep the Masque of Red Death from the door.
I can't ask you how you're doing. And if you're someone I know personally, I apologize because this also applies to you. I need to focus on the balance I rarely achieve, but have been given time to practice during this living history. Once Sydney West is available, if you can get a copy, you may understand a little more.
I can't pay your rent. I can't get you groceries. Even after I get financial news I'm waiting for, I don't know what I can do with it. I can, however, offer you this.
The world is not black and white. There's less middle grey than some people believe. That is, until there's something that matters to them personally. And it goes both ways. This is, however, showing more clearly where both ends of the spectrum lie.
You are not required to keep your eyes open, because right now, things are blinding. But please, keep moving. Rest is an action, and learning is a form of self care.
If you pray, pray and keep moving. If you don't, find something just as good, and keep moving.
I can't say whether everything is going to be ok, but this is showing a lot of things that the world has been trying to hide. For some people, this won't stick, or they'll pretend it won't.
They're the ones who'll lose out when everything is said and done.
Things I've gone through, I don't wish never happened. That doesn't mean it was okay. If given the chance, I would tell all those involved how my life has changed for the better, in all the ways that would make them angry, and make more than a few of them cry - they don't want me to be happy if it's not their way. To some people, me existing is an insult. And I'll gladly insult.
What's happening right now is not okay.
What you've lost, or are afraid of losing, that's not okay.
Whatever you're able to do about things, and whatever you learn will not make up for any of what you may have to leave behind. It's not an even exchange.
It's just different.
Just keep moving, and you'll get somewhere.
Hope to see you there.